I have to confess that I forgot I was supposed to blog. (Spent the weekend at a Huna workshop — Hawaian spirituality, though not, alas, in Hawaii, plus so many things coming together for our upcoming move to England.) So I've dug a post of mine from the very early days of Word Wenches. Covers are always worth revisiting.
Here's what I asked the last time. Do you pick up books because of covers, or avoid them because of covers? Do covers affect how you read a book?
I'm ashamed to admit I have to say yes to all three. I know covers often have little to do with the book. I know the author often has zero say. But some covers, especially where the man looks brutal — or dead, but not in an interesting vampiric way — make it really hard for me to pick the book off the shelf.
It's nothing to do with what others might think. It's simply that I don't want to meet that man inside the covers. I don't want to spend time with him.
It's not just the men. I don't want to travel awhile with that angular-jawed woman who's wearing too much make-up for the past — or the wrong sort.
This original cover of Dark Champion is one of my least favorite covers, perhaps especially so as its one of my favorite books. Fitzroger is a lean, hard-trained warrior, not a beefed-up gym boy, and Imogen is very young. Instead, there's the angular jaw, too much make-up look. They did try to show her magnificent hair, but it's enough to make a rug! Then there's her huge endowments — or perhaps they're inflated because he's doing a one-arm push up on her ribs! Add pepto pink text, and it's all pretty revolting. The reissue was much better. You can see it through the link above.
If I get the wrong cover images in my head and they won't go away. Need I mention that I'm a very visual reader? I'm just very visual. Very literal about my visuals. At the workshop I had to keep asking for adjustments to visualizations because the ones offered didn't work for me.
So I'm actually okay with the covers that chop off the characters' heads, even though I think they're a bit weird, because it's much better than having an unfortunate image imposed.
Then there's the "look of the day" which for cover heroes at the moment seems to be stubble. What is it with stubble? I don't find that attractive. I like this cover of the new edition of Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed, which will be out later this year, but I wish David wasn't stubbly.
Do you think historical covers have changed much in the past three years? If so, how? I think there are fewer of the rampant clinches, or the lantern-jawed half naked men, but perhaps I've just blocked them out.
My covers haven't changed much. 2006 saw the publication of The Rogue's Return, with what I think is a lovely cover. The heroine — what we can see of her — looks young, and though we have the common strange lack of underwear, the costumes are pretty good. This year, of course, saw The Secret Wedding, which you've seen plenty of times.
Okay, am I the only one bothered by the number of 18th and 19th century heroines who appear to wear their gowns over nothing? And not mind being peeled out of their one layer when outside, possibly in view of many? I think underwear can be very sexy!
Below is what I've seen of the cover for a British edition of My Lady Notorious that will come out next year. It's lovely, isn't it? And there's probably a reason she's naked beneath that wrap. With my permission, they've dropped the "my" which they didn't feel worked as well as Lady Notorious. I don't think that's enough of a change to confuse anyone.
It's time it had a good cover. The first one was odd, and the reissue bland. You can see that here.
(I'm still working on the prizes for the kitten posts. Thanks for your patience.)