Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Covers with the right person/ time period...

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Post by EC2 » Wed July 24th, 2013, 2:31 pm

[quote=""MLE""]I guess that's a market test of sorts. But one further question: were there other factors in play at the time? such as new publisher, different advertising, being selected by a bookclub, or maybe one of your books liek The Greatest Knight serving as a springboard to market other books that had fallen below the radar?

I appreciate your sharing this kind of info, EC, because it's really hard to come by and decisions have to be made. :o [/quote]

No, other than TOBG had become a massive bestseller, and prior to that PG had been a strong midlist author or perhaps on the bottom rung of bestsellerdom, nothing like now. With my publishers it was coming to crunch time. Sales were slowly increasing but not to the extent they'd like. Offer a new contract or drop the author? What to do? Shadows and Strongholds had come out in UK hardcover (different traditional cover) and hadn't exactly set the world alight. At the London Bookfair, people were passing it by. So they went for a last ditch attempt and changed the cover style for the paperback and brought in the head turned away, top of head missing paperback cover with the beautiful red-gold dress. Suddenly everyone wanted it. Tesco's supermarket took a huge order, sold out and ordered more. All the book chains wanted it. All the foreign publishers who had passed by the hard cover jacket, now wanted a piece of the action. And it sold steadily and strongly after that first surge. The Greatest Knight followed and walloped the ball out of the field. Now, I know I had been gradually improving my craft as a writer, but not to the extent of the sudden whoosh in sales. It was the covers that were appealing to the booksellers and the book buyers in the mainstream.
I do think that there are good headless covers and bad ones - some really bad ones, and I've been a victim of both. Also they've become a lot more old hat since those days, but they're still recognised as a brand form.
I find book covers and what appeals very fascinating!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Post by EC2 » Wed July 24th, 2013, 2:38 pm

Onto the original question about who gets it right - I think quite a few of the boys' own slash and bash novels do with their Romans and what have you's - or at least a lot less wrong than the nice frock brigade!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed July 24th, 2013, 4:40 pm

Thanks, EC! Heads are about to roll! :p

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Wed July 24th, 2013, 5:01 pm

As much as I preach (usually to the choir) about not judging a book by its cover, they are so important if you want to attract a reader's attention. A lot of these older romances from the 80s and 90s are coming out on kindle, and an author needs to attract reader attention from the best selling Kindle lists to clicking on the book to see if it's of interest. See this list from Patricia McAllister. I wouldn't have even gone to look at the book detail based on those covers, but a GR member spotted them as older romances (read one of them, it was a dog :eek :) .
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed July 24th, 2013, 5:30 pm

The reason the cover is so important is that, if you haven't read anything by that author yet, what else do you have to judge it by?

I'm going indie (or re-issuing indie, I should say, as I have already dabbled a toe in and learned much) and the new rules are still all over the place. Back to my cover artist, to make sure that the covers look like a series; that the colors don't moosh together when viewed in grayscale on B&W readers; that the fonts and picture elements are visible in thumbnail format; and on and on.

At the last HNS quarterly meeting, I was sitting with Ciji Ware and she was showing me the covers she had designed for her new indie novels, comparing them to the ones for her re-issued romances to make sure they reflected a similar 'brand'. Apparently that 'medallion' thingy on the cover is on copyright, she had to come up with something sorta like, but not the same -- but the font is hers to re-use. From a thumbnail/graphics standpoint, I thought her indie cover was much superior. I'll have to go see if I can dig up the two samples we were comparing.

User avatar
princess garnet
Bibliophile
Posts: 1569
Joined: August 2008
Location: Maryland

Post by princess garnet » Wed July 24th, 2013, 8:34 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Oh, good catch. That dress gets around almost as much as this one (I know we've discussed the dress below somewhere on this board).

Image[/quote]

It was featured on the cover (US ed.) of The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason; the dress was a dark magenta.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Wed July 24th, 2013, 10:24 pm

There's another one that's set during Elizabeth's reign, Virgin Queen something or other (name and author escapes me), with the dress. If I find it, I'll post it.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed July 24th, 2013, 10:58 pm

On the topic of period accurate dress -- that one, no. Where is the chemise? And those sleeves don't even reach her wrists. Waist profile, wrong. Skirt -- not enough of it. A little stitched-on bling does not a Tudor gown make. And whatever she's got around her neck looks like it came from a 20th-century costume-jewelry catalog.

User avatar
Nefret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2976
Joined: February 2009
Favourite HF book: Welsh Princes trilogy
Preferred HF: The Middle Ages (England), New Kingdom Egypt, Medieval France
Location: Temple of Isis

Post by Nefret » Wed July 24th, 2013, 11:44 pm

Maybe she went to a costume party, and got sent back in time?
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Thu July 25th, 2013, 12:14 am

[quote=""Nefret""]Maybe she went to a costume party, and got sent back in time?[/quote]

Perhaps. I found the other one:

Image
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”