Monday, June 15, 2015

Judging a Book by Its Cover: Circle of Dreams by Jane S. Morrissey

What’s in an image? Dare I say everything… There are far too many books in a book store and even more books than we could ever imagine available online. With a fraction of a second, we skim the book cover in our genre of choice. If the image is sufficiently compelling maybe we pause to read the book cover title, and then the back blurb, maybe a few reviews. 

Even to consider downloading a free book is a commitment of time. And we all have precious little of that these days.

So, why am I writing a blog about the book cover?

I have learned a valuable lesson about book cover art this week that I wanted to share. When I was working on the design for Circle of Dreams and the Quytel series I fear that my puritanical roots may have entered into my decision making and taste. By that I mean, I had wanted a book cover that was not too overtly sexy. Sitting back now, I wonder at my motivation, and realize this is most likely an artifact of my having read many romance novels as a young person and feeling embarrassed by the glossy, graphic book covers that showed the embrace of gorgeous, scantily clad couples. There are also gender stereotypes that these sexy book covers imply that were on some level disturbing to my non-conformist ideology. The truth is that my book cover does conform to some gender stereotypes and heterosexual norms, but with a heroine and hero who are equally matched.

What has come to my attention in the time since Circle of Dreams has been released, is that my book cover, however artful, is ambiguous. It is perhaps unclear to potential readers that this is a story features strong, sexy characters with exceptional abilities who face increasingly dangerous challenges as they explore their romantic and sexual need for each other.

As I revamped my book cover, I began to realize and embrace the idea that sexy images that tell a story gives us a kind of permission. From the moment we purchase or download the book, we know that erotic, exciting, hopefully titillating scenes will be touchstones as we read. Those moments allow us to be aroused, moved, and vulnerable along with our characters.

I am proud to unveil my revamped book cover!  I hope you like it!

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