People really do judge a book by its cover … which is why I’ve changed the covers for my Epic Fantasy Romance series.
It wasn’t an easy decision—although now I’ve done it, I wish I’d changed them earlier! As an indie-author I do get attached to my covers—but after taking a cold hard look at the original ones I have for the Light and Darkness series, I was forced to admit that they don’t look anything like the other novels in the genre.
If you’re not an author, you might think this isn’t an issue. However, over the past few years I’ve learned just how powerful a cover is. The pyschology behind cover design is fascinating. Readers will tell you they like something new, beautiful, and exciting—but instead they respond to covers that fit in with the genre. It’s the cliches and the stereotypes that win out in the end when you’re browsing looking for your next read.
Use the tropes
Most Epic Fantasy novels have hooded figures, swords and magic-wielding on the covers. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the Epic Fantasy bestsellers on Amazon, or read this blog post from Derek Murphy at Creativindie. It seems that book cover cliches exist for a reason.
Epic Fantasy Romance is a little different
In fantasy romance covers, the central figure is usually female—or though there are some covers with couples on them. You do have hooded figures, but you also have more witchy-looking women in gowns. The colours are also deeper in fantasy romance, with quite a bit of contrast, and the look is slightly more stylised. The female figure is usually got more of a ‘romance’ feel to her as well, and the cover art takes centre stage, with the title and author font firmly at the bottom and top so not to distract from it.
Here are three examples from the genre that represent it quite well:
So … taking all of the above I’ve had the covers for RULED BY SHADOWS and THE LOST SWALLOW redone. I listened to a podcast recently where a cover designer was giving out tips: he said your cover should create a narrative for your story, and give a mood and tone, rather than trying to depict a scene or the plot. That’s what I’ve tried to achieve with this new look. Here they are:
Compare these two my old covers. These used the large face superimposed against a background. This is a look that has been popular with romance in the past, but seems to get less engagement with viewers. They’re both eye-catching, but the problem I have with them is that neither of these covers shout ‘Epic Fantasy Romance’. The font is also dominant on both … possibly too much so.
Any hoo, we shall see if these new covers attract more readers. I will keep you posted!