Hello everyone! Today I have the pleasure of taking part in author Sarka Miller’s Between Boyfriends blog tour. Sarka stopped by Books, Biscuits, and Tea with a special guest post and giveaway. I hope you’ll enjoy them!
Chick Lit Cover Trends: What’s Wrong With Pink?
When I originally envisioned a cover for my chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends, I saw a detailed picture of my protagonist Jan and the two men in her life. On one side would be a small picture of San Diego State University’s Love Library where Jan’s ex-boyfriend Mike breaks her heart. On the other side was a picture of the fictional massage therapy school I invented. The background was sky blue. Yet when I went to design the cover for the ebook version, everything changed. Suddenly I wanted simple. I always admired Emily Giffin’s minimalist covers. Each cover has primarily one element and no background. I also decided I wanted pink. Cliché or no, I love pink and I really love pink and black together. I was still a bit nervous though until a friend criticize the cover as too pink. That’s when I knew I had struck gold.
Writers of women’s fiction often complain when their publishers choose a pink cover. Some of these writers have valid complaints. A few years ago, before chick lit was a “bad word,” publishers were assigning chick lit style covers to books written by women, whether they fit the genre or not. This is a disservice to everyone. But why would a chick lit writer complain about a pink cover? The colour certainly attracts attention and lets readers know that a light, fun story lies below the pink exterior. I decided to adopt the opposite attitude to these anti-pink crusaders. After all, resistance is futile. If pink works, then by George I was going to have the pinkest cover possible!
Creating a cover that matches your brand is extremely important. People do judge books by their cover, but not only do they form an opinion about the book, but readers learn to recognize the style of their favourite author’s books. You want something special and identifiable. This may be as simple as a unique font or a repetitive image. A great example is Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. Each cover (for the US version) has a picture of a shopping bag, though the last book added figures holding the bags to let readers know there was a mini-shopaholic joining the series. All of the covers also have Shopaholic written in large font with the same unique script. It is nearly impossible to miss these books. Yet compare the covers to Sophie’s books written under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, and you see a whole different design style.
Don’t think having something unique is important? Think again. People are watching. Stick a cupcake or a shoe on your cover and your book will be indistinguishable from that pack. The latest overused image for chick lit covers is the teacup, and not the fun ride at Disneyland. Just to name a few books that recently featured teacups, Melanie La’Brooy’s Bittersweet, Christine Darcas’ Spinning Out, Sarah Rayner ‘s One Moment, One Morning, and Nancy Jenson’s The Sisters, and these are just the women’s fiction titles. There are also quite a few books with dainty coffee cups on them that might as well be teacups. I have nothing against tea, though I do prefer mine iced, but unless your book is actually about tea it might be better to avoid this trend when picking your new cover.
Of course that calls into question, what do you do if your subject matter matches a cover trend? For example, When Girlfriends Break Hearts by Savannah Page has an adorable cover that features a cupcake with a yellow background. Although “cupcake” is not in the title, a picture of a heart or a girl would be even less unique. The book’s protagonist is a baker and she makes cupcakes throughout the novel. Her goal is to open her own bakery and she is always trying out new recipes. Frankly, the cupcake makes sense. But there is a difference between a character who makes cupcakes, and putting a cupcake on the cover because a character likes to eat cupcakes. Who doesn’t like cupcakes? The question you need to ask yourself is does the cover convey an element of the story that is unique and important? If that element is also a trend, use it anyway and be prepared to defend your position. It also would be a good idea to mention in the book description information about why that element is on the cover, such as mentioning the baker career path your character is on if you are going to put a cupcake on your cover. Otherwise, you may inspire someone to go eat a cupcake but not to read your book.
Jan Weston is boy crazy, emphasis on crazy, but when “the one” breaks her heart she vows to change. Jan quits dating and takes a hard look at herself, discovering that she does not like the flawed, spoiled individual she sees in the mirror.
Her progress toward positive change is derailed when her mother discovers she dropped out of San Diego State University to attend massage therapy school. Furious at being lied to, Mrs. Weston cuts Jan off. Now Jan is without a guy, her American Express card, and a way to pay for school. She has to do something so despicable, so vile, so cruel, she almost cannot imagine it: Jan has to get a job.
But maybe that is exactly what she needs? Jan is forced to change how she treats people and to reconsider her values. Through a “comedy of errors” and with the support of her real friends (plus the hottie from massage school) Jan is able to survive, barely. But can she really change or is she just between boyfriends?
Make sure to download a free copy of Between Boyfriends on November 2 on either Amazon US or Amazon UK. Sarka is also giving away an iPod Shuffle to one lucky reader who reviews the book before November 15 (click here for the details) and you also have a chance to win a signed copy of Janet Evanovich’s novel Motor Mouth or an autographed picture of country music singer Lauren Alaina. All you have to do is leave comments on each post of the tour. Details and rules are on Sarka’s blog. Best of luck guys!