Covers for New Editions

The other day, I had an email from a reader who wasn’t happy that the Dragonfire covers would be changed for the new editions of the books. I’m not changing the covers to create confusion: I have to change the covers because the original publisher holds the rights to the original covers. When the rights to the book revert to the author, it’s only the book itself (the inside bit) that reverts because that’s the part the author created.

The interesting thing is that sometimes the publisher contracts with an illustrator or photographer for the image for the outside cover. (Other times, people working at the house create the cover art.) When an outside artist is commissioned, the rights to the illustration or photograph can revert to the artist, just the way the book can revert to the author. When this happens, it’s possible that the artist might license the rights to the image to the author for a new edition of the work. The cover won’t be exactly the same, but it can be similar.

The first time I did this was for Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance originally published under my pseudonym Claire Cross. I loved Judy York’s cover art, because it was actually a scene from the book, and was very excited when she agreed to license it to me. Here are the two covers, my edition on the left and the original Berkley edition on the right:
Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance and romantic comedy by Claire Delacroix  Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance and romantic comedy by Claire Delacroix (writing as Claire Cross), out of print mass market edition

The next time I was able to do this was with the Prometheus Project covers. I licensed the original art for the first three books from the artist Larry Rostant. I love these illustrations, so was pretty excited about that. Here’s Fallen, first book in the series, my edition on the left and Tor’s edition on the right:
Fallen, #1 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Deborah Cooke  Fallen, book #1 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition

That’s what’s happened with Dragonfire, too. Tony Mauro, the artist who created the illustrations for the first eight books, has licensed those images to me to be used on the new editions. I don’t think you’ll be very confused about which book is which, as a result.

For example, here’s the new cover for Kiss of Fire on the left, and the original mass market cover on the right. We have a new little dragon logo for the series, too.

Kiss of Fire, book #1 of the Dragonfire Novels series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke  Kiss of Fire, first of the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke

Results from the Historical Romance Poll

About a week and a half ago, I posted a poll, to solicit your opinions about historical romance covers. It felt to me as if there was change in the wind, and your answers seem to support my suspicion.

About 500 people took the time to answer the questions, which is pretty awesome. Thank you, all!

I deliberately set this up so you’d have to choose a single best answer. I see from the comments that this bothered some respondents, but it makes it easier to draw % conclusions. Let’s have a look at those now.

The first question was:
Do you like to see people on historical romance covers?

The alternative, of course, is the “candy box” cover, which has tartan, flowers, ribbons, rings – pretty much anything except people. Only 6% of respondents preferred covers with no people on them.

Results from Claire Delacroix's reader poll on historical romance covers, question #1

Almost 94% prefer people on the covers. An equal percentage (44%) like covers with the couple together, and covers that echo the structure of the story with the illustration. I was surprised by how few liked the heroine alone, given all those beautiful Regency-era covers with the heroine in a flowing dress, and also by how few liked the hero alone, given the high percentage of man-chest out there in cover-land.

Question #2 was:
What poses do you like to see best on historical romance covers?

Results from Claire Delacroix's reader poll on historical romance covers, question #2

I was glad to see that such a high percentage (42% again, our magic number!) preferred the pose on the cover to echo the content of the book. The other percentages in order are 15%, 14%, 13%, 7%, 5%, and 4%. I was surprised by how few people voted for the “almost-kiss”, an extremely popular pose for historical romance covers. Looks like those of us designing covers or having them designed need to rethink that choice.

Question #3 was:
How much skin do you like to see on historical romance covers?

Results from Claire Delacroix's reader poll on historical romance covers, question #3

Again, a very interesting response – 60% of the readers responding to this survey expect the amount of exposed skin on the cover to be an indicator of the book’s contents. More skin for hotter reads. More modesty for sweeter reads.

That’s 24% preferring the people on the cover to be fully dressed.

Question #4 was a toughie, because only one answer could be selected.
The biggest influence on my decision to buy an historical romance is:
Results from Claire Delacroix's reader poll on historical romance covers, question #449% of those who replied to the survey say that the description is the main influence in their decision to buy or read a book. 16% shop by author, 13% buy authors they’ve read before, and the other results in order are 6%, 5%, 5%, 4%, 3%.

I’m astonished by this, and it’s a good example of why it’s wise to ask readers for their opinions. Most of us think that our own behavior is typical, and extrapolate from our own buying habits, assuming everyone shops as we do. I shop by cover. Always have and probably always will. I am completely seduced (and separated from my money) by beautiful covers, and seldom read cover copy before I buy a book. I read the copy before I start reading the book itself, and don’t always read it even then.

So, there we go! It seems that my sense that man-chest might be over as a trend, at least in historical romance, is confirmed by these results. If you’re interested in seeing a bit more, please hop back to the survey post and read the comments. There are some excellent and thoughtful points raised there, as well.

A Poll on Historical Romance Covers

Since I’ve been commissioning new packages for my historical romances, I thought it was time to ask your opinion about covers and images. Here we go!

 

 

 

 

I’m curious to see your answers. Please feel free to share the poll link with friends who read historical romance. 🙂

 

New Cover for Love Potion #9

Love Potion #9 – which is a paranormal romance and romantic comedy – is a personal favorite of my own books. (Although it has paranormal elements, they aren’t as vehement as those what we call paranormal romance now. I think of it as a contemporary romance and romantic comedy with a bit of magic.) When it was originally published by Berkley, they commissioned the cover art from Judy York. This was the first time that I had a cover illustration that was actually a scene from the book. I was pretty happy about that, and thought the image perfectly captured the tone of the story.

Here’s the original cover:

Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance and romantic comedy by Claire Delacroix (writing as Claire Cross), out of print mass market editionWhen the rights to this book reverted to me, I licensed that image from Judy for the new edition of the book, just because I liked it so well. This was the cover on my first digital edition of the book:

Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance by Claire DelacroixI was never as happy with the type as I wanted to be. Since then, Kim Killion and I have established a look for the type on my books, and particularly for Claire’s name, so recently I asked her to update the type on the cover. Here’s the new cover:Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance and romantic comedy by Claire Delacroix

New editions have been uploaded to the online portals, and the covers on the print edition have been updated, too.

Why do I love this book so much? Well, there is the story itself, which features Lilith and Mitch both having a second chance at love. I like that a lot. I like that it’s set in Toronto, where I used to live. But my favourite element of this story is that the chapters are named after the twenty-two cards in the higher arcana of the tarot deck, in order, and that what happens in each chapter is under the influence of the specified card. The higher arcana from 0 – The Fool to 21 – The World describes a journey, and I structured Lilith and Mitch’s story to follow the path of that journey. I’m ridiculously proud of how well it worked out. (Here’s the Wiki about the Major Arcana.)

If you’re curious, Love Potion #9 will be on sale for 99 cents this weekend at Amazon US and 99p at Amazon UK. 🙂

Don’t Be Fooled

Last week, I was checking the distribution of a book, and discovered that Harlequin had published a new edition of one of my backlist books in German. This is their right, but what is striking is the cover art that they chose.

Here’s my July 28 release, The Crusader’s Bride:
The Crusader's Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixAnd here’s the August 1 Cora release:

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.39.20 AMI doubt that the similarities between the covers are accidental, given that they were published within days of each other.

Don’t be fooled. This is a German translation of The Sorceress, a book originally published in English in 1994. It is NOT a new work. This is just a new edition.

Cover Variations

I’ve had the covers updated for two of the Champions of Saint Euphemia books. As much as I liked them initially, in thumbnail versions they weren’t as snappy as I’d like. I had the designer make a couple of changes.

First off, The Crusader’s Heart. In the old version, her dress was white. In the new one (which will be on the book) it’s gold:
ClaireDelacroix_TheCrusadersHeart200And then, The Crusader’s Vow. In the old version, her dress was brown and the cover overall looked a bit dull when it became small. In the new version, her dress is purple and the background has changed to a winter scene:
ClaireDelacroix_TheCrusadersVow200What do you think?

Covers of Champions

The covers are done for my upcoming medieval romance series, The Champions of St. Euphemia. These are medieval romances with no paranormal or fantasy elements.

The Crusader's Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixThe series launches in May with The Crusader’s Bride, which is currently available for pre-order at iBooks and Kobo. I’ll put the other ones up for pre-order as soon as I have a better idea of how long they’re going to be (and how long they’ll take to write.) I’d like to publish them close together: the question is how close together they can be!

Check out all the covers right here. I love seeing a whole series together like this!

There is a postcard in the works that will show all four covers, so if you’d like one (or some!), please let me know.

Cover for The Frost Maiden’s Kiss

The Frost Maiden's Kiss, a medieval romance and third book in the True Love Brides series by Claire DelacroixShe enchanted him with a kiss—but winning her love would demand all he possessed.

Disheartened by the challenge of rebuilding his legacy of Ravensmuir, Malcolm left Scotland to earn his fortune as a mercenary. Four years later, scarred by the realities of war and haunted by his own deeds, he secretly returns with his fortune. Upon entered the familiar ruins, Malcolm hears music so beautiful that it pierces his heart. He has no choice but to follow its summons deep into the caverns beneath his inheritance, where he finds a damsel in distress, a maiden whose kiss rekindles all the nobility of purpose he believed he had lost forever.

Trapped in the realm of the Fae, Catriona knows that her freedom can only be gained by the love of a mortal man. Desperate to return to her family and the mortal realm, she welcomes Malcolm with a bold kiss—never guessing the Fae’s trick to exchange her freedom for his own. But Catriona sees too much of merit in this wounded warrior to abandon him to the Fae—no matter what the cost.

Read an excerpt from The Frost Maiden’s Kiss.