Genre Talk

Genre talk: what makes good paranormal cover art?

demon_promo_290Yeah, I know today’s supposed to be interview day. But I have more pressing issues on my mind, folks! Emergency. Bleep bleep. Help.

See, I’m doing the self-publishing cover art thing. Anyone who knows me {hint: Erica = world’s WORST ARTIST} is guffawing right now. Guffaw. Go on. You won’t be alone.

But for me, this is one of the bad sides of self-publishing: no one to tell me what the cover should look like!

A secret: I don’t have the first clue. I’m a writer. I write. If I wanted to do visual art, I’d learn to paint, and we all know how *that* would end.

So, y’know, I try things for my covers, and if they don’t work, I can try something else. That’s the *good* side of self-pub. Right now I have an awesome cover which I LOVE on one of my books, and it just isn’t working. Sales aren’t good, so I’m changing it to see if that will help. Sure, there could be other problems, but the cover is one thing I can control. (And before you ask, no, I’m not rewriting the book. I’m happy for people not to buy it because they don’t like it. I’m a big girl, I can take it 🙂 I just don’t want my package design putting potential readers off.)

That’s my current cover up there, btw. I think it’s fabulous. Everyone says so. The artist (no, I didn’t make this cover myself) is fabulous too. I would totally hire her again. But it’s just not selling the book. Sad face. It’s too fantasy. It’s too detailed. It’s too something, anyway.

Thing is, I know what *I* like, and it didn’t work. So I’m torn.

Do I go for the generic hot shirtless dude, and risk it looking like a contemporary and not standing out?

On the other hand, it’s kind of a dark, horror-themed book – do I go for bloodstains and scratches and general gore, and risk putting off readers who are looking for a romance?

And what about the people on the cover? Do I put a couple (eww, too New Adult, why don’t we have them kissing in the rain while we’re at it {spew}), or just the hero (cliche), or just the heroine (people might think it’s urban fantasy)?

So let me open the floor to you guys: what do you like to see on a paranormal romance cover? What colours and images say ‘dark paranormal’ to you?


10 thoughts on “Genre talk: what makes good paranormal cover art?

    • See, I quite like that cover concept, because it communicates a certain tone very well. This is the hard part for me – to communicate the mood of the book without getting bogged down in too much detail.

  1. Generally speaking, I don’t like people on covers, unless they’re fully-dressed. (States of undress feel like objectification.) For urban fantasy, I’m okay with people (fully-dressed) on the covers, if they’re DOING something – like staking out a joint, checking around a corner. If they’re not in unnatural contortions, all the better 😉

    It’s been a long time since I read DEMON CHAINED, so my memory fails. For a non-people cover, maybe some kind of bloodied alley/laneway?

    • I actually don’t mind undressed covers, so long as it’s still got something to say. Just a shirtless dude with no context or mood or anything other than beefcake is boring 🙂

  2. I like that cover, Erica, but I’m thinking maybe it’s a bit too romancy for your books with the couple there. I’d go for just one of them. If the demon of the title is a bloke, then I’d use a bloke. I don’t have a problem with him being shirtless, but if it’s a bit more horror than romance, I’d play up that aspect a bit. Blue and purple on covers always make me think more fantasy and magic, so if it’s not like that, then go more red and orange and yellow. But those are just my thoughts – could be completely wrong in regards to what everyone else thinks.

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