Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Norah Wilson

MY COVER MAKEOVER



The beauty of ebooks is that they are not cast in stone. If the author discovers that at the 86% mark, what should have been “her” appears as “he”, it can be fixed. The book can be republished, better and cleaner than before. If the author discovers the same error on p. 272 of a mass market print book, too bad. She’s stuck with it.  Ebook format gives us the flexibility to fix things, or even to change the cover if we find the current one is not working.

I did that recently (changed covers) with my Serve and Protect romantic suspense series, and it was a tough decision. In my case, my covers were working for me. That series has been selling steadily, if modestly, all along. Part of me cautioned that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The old covers were all close-ups of intimate but serious-faced couples. (There is no smiling in romantic suspense. Well, at least not on the covers!) I liked that tight focus on the couple because my brand of romantic suspense is definitely heavier on the romance, and I thought the existing covers did a good job of communicating that. They also had a police tape flash on them, identifying them as part of the Serve and Protect series. On the other hand, the covers were pretty simplistic, and I thought the branding could be better.

So, taking my courage in my hands, I contacted a cover artist (Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs) and told her what I needed. It turns out the hardest part was finding cover models who could pass as my hero and heroine for each story. I was less concerned about details like eye color or the hair being short/long/curly/straight enough. Rather, I tried to focus on what the couples made me feel and whether that was congruent with the feeling I wanted readers to take away from the story. After a marathon of browsing cover models, I think I accomplished what I set out to do. As I had hoped, the branding is much stronger in the new covers, and I think they still suggest that strong focus on the romance which I didn’t want to lose.

Here’s a before and after of the three novels (and one free novella) in the series:

BEFORE    
                                                                           
AFTER

What do you think, RS fans? Would you be more likely or less likely to click Buy Now for one of these puppies?

BIO: Norah Wilson lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and two adult children, a Rotti-Lab mix and numerous rats (the pet kind). She has been writing romance a long while, and has finalled multiple times in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest. She also won Dorchester Publishing's New Voice in Romance contest in 2003. Norah also writes paranormal YA stories with writing partner Heather Doherty, under the name Wilson Doherty. She and Heather also write the hilarious Dix Dodd mysteries under the name N.L. Wilson.

23 comments:

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    1. Thank you, LS! I thought I'd replied to your message this morning, but it's not showing up. Doh!

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  2. A brave and dedicated move, Norah. Your original versions and the new ones have the same vibe, but the newer ones just have a more total-package look to them.

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    1. Thank you, Julia! It was a little nerve-wracking, but Kim was confident we could preserve the intimate feel in a more polished product.

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  3. I like both the before and after, however I think the new covers have more of a 'romantic' feel to them. The original covers are sexy with an edge and remind me more of an 'erotic' novel cover than a romantic cover. The new ones have more of an emotionally-connected feel between the people on the covers, rather than just a sexual connection. I buy my novels based on the description AND the cover. I might select the new covers before the old ones when reading the details. Really like the Needing Nita cover!

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    1. Thank you! You don't know how reassuring that is! The stories are sensual, for sure, but the emotional connectedness is exactly what I was aiming for. And yeah, Needing Nita was probably my favorite, too. ,-)

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  4. Love the new covers. I like the consistency in the placement of title and authors name. I also like the distance that the couples are shot at, and the colors. The new covers definitely look like a series, and something I would buy. I liked the original cover for Guarding Suzannah, but the second cover manages to capture the same essence.

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    1. Thank you, Gayle! You're my new best friend! LOL. You know, I am a huge fan of the guy only RS cover (like the many of the ones you see on the sidebar), but that approach just didn't fit for these books, and not just because every cover has the heroine's name in the title! My stories are ... I don't want to say smaller, but they are very relationship heavy.

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  5. I like them both, but I do agree that the new ones have more of a series feel to them. Great job.

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    1. Thanks, Autumn! BTW, I love your cover for In The Presence of Evil. TWRP does a great job with covers.

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  6. You brave woman! Your original covers were wonderful, but the new ones have a cohesiveness to them that brand them as a series, I think. I particularly like the colour band for the titles. Very distinctive.

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    1. Thank you, Kate! Those were my exact words to Kim. "I think we can brand these better." So glad you think we accomplished the mission!

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  7. I do like the new covers better. And I always liked the old covers, so I was worried! :) I love the new consistency of title and author name. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! BTW, I love your new cover for Dead Weight. And can I say, most awesomely creepy/scary tag line ever! (She just wanted to lose a few pounds....)

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  8. Love them! The first ones were good, but the second ones are even more vibrant. I'd definitely be likely to hit the "buy" buttons for these books. I would anyway, because I'm a HUGE Norah Wilson fan!

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  9. Aw, thank you, Lina! You just made my day. :)

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  10. Hi Norah, I've just caught this blog, I've looked at the both covers many times and I have to agree with all here, the new ones have a ''power'' to them that stands out. You have what it takes for sure and I'm happy for you. Keep us informed. Doris

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  11. Thanks, Doris! What a lovely compliment!

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  12. Very nice Norah. amazing what a book cover can do :)

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  13. The new covers are lovely, Norah! You've accomplished so much with these stories. I am on a reading vacation right now, and I plan to finish the rest of your SERVE AND PROTECT series before I start my next book.

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    1. Oh, wow, Pamela! Now I'm really nervous. (NOTE: Pamela's I-Team books are the freakin' pinnacle of RS, in my opinion. And just when you think they couldn't possibly get any better, they somehow do.) But I'm glad you're out of your deadline cave and ready to play a little bit before you have to knuckle down again. :D

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