Risky Book Talk

Cara’s Cover!

Here’s my cover! Hmm…does anyone want to talk about covers? Good covers? Bad covers? How you can have a cover that all your author friends tell you is really good, and you should be really grateful, but somehow you still whine about it? (Aw, come on, don’t say I’m the only one!) 🙂

Cara
Cara King, www.caraking.com
MY LADY GAMESTER — Signet Regency, 11/05

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Megan Frampton
17 years ago

Cara–your cover is really nice, the couple looks as if they’re thinking about more than just getting into Almack’s. My favorite covers are the headless ladies. There’s less intrusion on your own imagination there. I don’t mind the clinch covers, but they tend to all look the same, so they lose their impact after awhile. I’ll post my cover soon, too. And Cara, does this scene actually happen in the book, and do the figures look like your characters? that’s the biggest problem I see with covers.

Cara King
17 years ago

Oh, I like the headless ones too, Megan! (I thought I was the only one who did!) I don’t have a good reason to like them, the way you do — I just like them. 🙂

As for your question — yes, this scene does happen in my book! (With just a tiny detail or two changed.)

For any of you who are curious about how much input authors have into covers, I’ll give a little info here. I was asked to submit three suggestions for what the cover would show (with, of course, no guarantee that any of my suggestions would be used). 🙂 I came up with two ideas that I liked:

(1) hero and heroine at a gaming table (either both sitting, or heroine sitting while hero stands either across the table or behind her); or

(2) hero and heroine on balcony outside luxurious drawing room where much gaming is going on. (You’ll notice this is the scene they chose! And though the gaming is not really visible through the window, it could be gaming in there.) 🙂

For the third possible cover scene that I was supposed to suggest, I couldn’t come up with another gaming-type idea. The only thing that I could think of was a riding-horses-in-Hyde-Park scene. I thought about it for a bit, and thought that was a very bad idea. My book is a very indoors book. A late-night, wine-drinking, jewels-wearing, fortunes won-or-lost on-the-turn-of-a-card sort of book. A picture of people riding horses past pretty green growing things would convey exactly the wrong impression. 🙂

So, I took a RISK. Yes, I was shockingly RISKY. I submitted only TWO cover suggestions. (I hear you gasp. “What, only two? Will Cara’s daring behavior never end???“)

I don’t know if this was actually a risk, of course — was I ever in danger of them giving me a cover showing puppies and children cavorting happily in the Lake District? I’ll never know. But it worked for me! 😉

And one reason I did it, was because I know an author who has always had her third (and least favorite) suggestion chosen. I really didn’t want happy horses in Hyde Park! 🙂

Well, this comment is getting a little long, so I think I’ll continue it later! 🙂

Cara
Cara King, http://www.caraking.com
MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency 11/05

Cara King
17 years ago

I would now like to comment on my last comment. Wow, I use a lot of smilies, don’t I? 🙂 That’s probably so people reading this think I’m nice. “Gosh, I like that Cara person” I can hear everyone saying. “She uses lots of smilies. She must be such a nice person.) 🙂

I bet Megan doesn’t use a lot of smilies. Megan is from New York City, and I think she is awfully sophisticated. I wish I were sophisticated, but I think I will have to settle for screwed up. Hey wait, I was supposed to be talking about covers! What’s wrong with me? Am I screwed up or something? 🙂 Hey, that was another smilie, wasn’t it? Help — smilie attack! (Or is it smiley? Am I just too too French or something? Wait, no, that would mean I’m sophisticated, wouldn’t it, and Megan’s the sophisticated one, right? I’m so confused . . .)

Cara

Megan Frampton
17 years ago

Cara:

You’re right, I never use smilies. Never. For me, it’s a slippery slope: first smilies, then my husband and I would wear matching sweatshirts, and then I’d have be cutting my hair into those weird poofed-out bangs I see when I visit my husband’s family in South Jersey. Not sophisticated, though–and very, very screwed up. Is that what Risky Regencies authors have in common? Hm. Only time will tell.

Laurie Bishop
17 years ago

ROFL! You guys are too funny!!!

Cara, I really like the background scene in your cover. You can gaze off into the cityscape and get a feeling of being there.

I like covers that are a little different, something that makes me take a second look. Maybe the characters appear a little different (as in individual, not bizarre!), or the setting is unique, or there is something different of interest in the cover. And I like good artwork. I do think the Signet covers have been very good lately.

I’m a country girl (upstate New York.) So, Cara, where exactly are you from? 🙂

Cara King
17 years ago

Yes, some of the Signet covers have been very nice lately, Laurie! (Though I admit I drooled over the recent Zebra covers.) I like my colors a lot, and I adore the heroine on the cover, and overall I think it’s quite effective. (I will refrain from commenting on my hero’s hair. My hero is manly man ex-army-officer guy, and would not have hair like that.) 🙂 (Okay, I guess I didn’t refrain from commenting on it!)

As for where I’m from . . . originally I’m from California. To be more precise, Southern California. Well, the L.A. area. Yeah, okay, I admit it, I’m a Valley Girl!!! If you get me together with another Valley Girl, I will actually speak Valspeak. 🙂

I have many accents, though, and have lived in many places. (That’s me trying to sound sophisticated. I’m not. Some of us may be, though they deny it, but I’m not.) I have lived in wonderful but unsophisticated places like Pittsburgh, and New Jersey, and the East End of London. I can do a real cockney accent, too, none of this “My Fair Lady” stuff! 🙂

Cara
Cara King, http://www.caraking.com
MY LADY GAMESTER — Signet Regency 11/05

Amanda McCabe
17 years ago

I like your cover very much, Cara! 🙂 (Note the use of smileys–I’m very, very bad about that, too. Does this mean I’m not sophisticated??? I don’t have poofy bangs, or at least I haven’t since the 7th grade!). It actually indicates what your book is about, even if the heroine does look a bit too jolly for being in her dilemma. I once had a cover (which I’ll post once I figure out how!) where the hero, a scholarly professor type who pays not much attention to his clothes, is wearing a purple velvet coat and has highlighted, moussed hair. When I complained that he looked like he belonged in a road company of “Grease”, I was told it was pretty and I should not complain. 🙂 It IS pretty, I guess, but I hate that purple coat and the heroine’s weird pink chiffon negligee dress. I guess we’re just ultra-picky about our own covers, as we want them to resemble the people who live in our heads!

Cara King
17 years ago

Oh yes, I knew there had to be someone else who was picky about her covers! 🙂 (And no, Amanda, smileys don’t mean you’re unsophisticated, they means you’re nice. Which, having met you, I can attest to. Which means you probably hear it far too much, and do not like being told you are nice. Just as certain people deny being sophisticated, which probably means they are.)

By the way, I think anyone who drinks chocolatinis probably is sophisticated. I don’t even know what they are. 🙂 (See? A smiley! I’m nice.)

As for the heroine on my cover being jolly….I think she’s being sly. She’s got a card up her sleeve — okay, not really, just a metaphor, and not a good one — she knows a secret which gives her that little secretive smile. Anyway, that’s what I think. (She doesn’t really look like my heroine, but I think she’s awfully cute! And her hair is so much better than the hair my cover guy has!) 🙂 (See? A smiley! I’m still nice.)

So, Amanda, when you mentioned your scholarly hero who became Lord Mousse, I had to grab my books and check! You’re referring to A LOVING SPIRIT, aren’t you? You know, I think that may be the same cover model I have??? Now those are HIGHLIGHTS. And he’s holding the heroine’s hand and obviously saying, in a very sultry voice, “If you let me stare down at your cleavage, I’ll tell you who my hair stylist is.” 🙂

Okay, actually, I think it’s quite a decent cover as covers go . . . but I can see you have the same reaction I do when I see my cover man: “Who’s he?? And what has he done with my hero?” 🙂

(See? Still nice.)

Though I must say, I love all the BOOKS on your cover. I like books. Way too much. 🙂

Cara (a.k.a. smiley girl)
Cara King, http://www.caraking.com
MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency 11/05

Cara King
17 years ago

Okay, Amanda, in talking about your hero cover guy for A LOVING SPIRIT, I showed the book to my husband. He took a look at the cover, and his only comment was, “But nice cleavage, though.”

Men!!! 🙂

Cara
(now we know what audience the cover artists are aiming for! But wait — that doesn’t explain the hair mousse…if my husband ever got mousse in his hair it would probably be the chocolate kind…)

Todd
17 years ago

On behalf of the male gender, I must protest! I never stare down the cleavage of any non-wife person. Never! Honest. Really. Not even on a book cover. Ahem.

And I only read Jennifer Crusie novels for the articles.

Todd-who-must-not-be-named

Elena Greene
17 years ago

Well, I showed the cover for SAVING LORD VERWOOD to my husband and gloated about the handsome hero (who actually happened to look like Lord Verwood), my husband said “Huh? There’s a hero on the cover?” When I lamented the fact that the heroine’s hair looked blonde–and she’d been a redhead for the previous two books of the trilogy, he said “Huh? She has hair?” Apparently cleavage is a great distraction. 🙂 Yes, I use smilies too, to hide the fact that I’m really an evil person. 🙂 See?

Cara King
17 years ago

And you know, Elena, Lord Verwood clearly positioned himself just right to stare down poor Pen’s cleavage! No, wait, she’s blonde — that must be Juliana! And now that I look at it, the heroine on the cover of Juliana’s book has reddish hair! Juliana and Pen are having affairs with each other’s husbands!!!! (Does Catherine know about this???)

But I guess I do understand your husband’s reaction — the female in the yellow gown (whether she is Juliana or Pen) certainly has a LOT of cleavage to show off. I think her dress is too small. 🙂

Of course, in spite of my silliness, I still admit it is a very nice cover. Very pretty background. (And the men all like the cover too, obviously.) 🙂

Cara

Amanda McCabe
17 years ago

Okay, first of all, I guess I AM nice–too nice sometimes. I would never make a butt-kicking Bombshell heroine, though I do like to think I could take someone down a peg or two at Almack’s, if needed. 🙂 (Oooh, someone disable my smiley keys!). Cara is nice AND sophisticated, ditto Megan. And Megan is certainly veddy sophisticated, you only have to take a look at her pic on her blog (and also a laugh and a half!)

As for cleavage covers–the cover of mine that best embodies that is The Golden Feather, where my wispy, Gwyneth Paltrow-ish heroine somehow gained quite a rack. My male friends like it very much. And I also love the books on Loving Spirit, despite Highlights Man and Lingerie Woman; the library on Rules of Love is better, and the heroine actually has her dress on. The hero has a pink cravat, but then, he IS a poet. 🙂

I would love to see more of those great Zebra covers! Ones that actually reflect what is going on in the story itself. And more headless people. Fewer cute picnics in meadows.

Amanda McCabe
17 years ago

And if you have never had a chocolatini, go hither and get one at once! It’s like heaven in a glass. 🙂 Anything can be made better with Godiva Liquor…

Elena Greene
17 years ago

Teehee about Juliana and Pen! Cara, you’re not the first to notice that they seem to be switched. But in all fairness, Juliana was in disguise so having her depicted as a redhead made sense for that scene. As for Pen, well, she’s just not the type to dye her hair. As to wearing a tiny bodice she spills out of, well, marriage to a rake has to have some corrupting effects!

Back to your cover, I honestly don’t think the inaccuracies matter too much. I like that your heroine looks clever and mischievous rather than insipid and simpering.

Amanda, I definitely must try a chocolatini!

Charlie Horse
17 years ago

Hello. Great Blog. Regency seems to have the best covers. Is there a way to get prints of covers?

Cara King
17 years ago

I don’t know of any way to get prints of covers, sorry! The authors are given a handful of “cover flats” (which are basically the entire cover, flat) a few months before publication date for promotional purposes (sending them to bookstores or newspapers along with press kits, that sort of thing), but that’s the only thing that occurs to me…

Cara

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