Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Yes, Virginia, you can have too many options

Most Americans live in a world with so many options, that it's hard to look through all the possibilities. Many are small choices, like what to buy in the produce section of the grocery store; whether to head for the Farmer's Market or go for a drive; check out a new show on TV or stick with an old favorite; save money or spend it,. There are, of course, bigger choices-- get more education; try for a new job; move to a different city; have the surgery the doctor recommends or put that off again; and on it goes
For a writer, if they have decide to be an indie, which means all decisions fall on their backs-- one of the big ones is getting a cover for their book. It is claimed that some readers buy books based on covers. Writers can pay someone to create a cover, let Amazon or Createspace do it for them, or do their own. I like having the control and do my own.
After my initial foray into Dreamscope, to change covers into something new, I decided to experiment with other filters and paid for their Plus version to give the filters a fair chance (Plus makes the image larger and more detailed). Although I haven't finished the third Hemstreet Witch book, I went ahead with the upgrade to decide if it could really get me innovative covers. Besides, I'd been playing with it a lot and believe in paying for what I use-- and if I can't afford it My original goal was to use it only on the paranormal covers.
While I liked the Oil Pastel Portrait filter, the orange got to seeming a bit much. Between writing the WIP, I turned to other filters. Some worked out and some not so much, like turning handsome man into ghoul. That is not cover material (could be good in a horror house though for Halloween). There were a few times that I wondered if AI was having fun with its customers-- like a bored computer.
A Monet filter was interesting but did not say paranormal-- actually not sure what it did say..

My problem is I am drawn to abstract and impressionistic art and not sure readers are-- especially not on romance covers. 

Along with many filters (I used Cave Paint; Galactica; The Fall; Curse; Rugged; Winter Solstice; Monet; etc.), the Plus version occasionally created some even weirder things, like the Jackson Pollack type at the top and that with supposedly Winter Solstice).  My first efforts had me thinking the upgrade had been a  mistake. I began to get a feel for why something worked or didn't.

As I experimented, between writing scenes for the third Hemstreet Witch book, I considered another issue-- is interesting what I need for a cover?  

Whatever filter I use, I need it to be consistent. Whether the series is historical, contemporary or paranormal, the cover should indicate the unity-- that they go together. Often, with a series, I do a promotional banner, another reason to be sure they look unified.

Many romance covers are sweet, because the books are. I don't consider my books sweet and would not like to mislead readers that they were.

When I first got into this, I changed four of the paranormals to the Oil Pastel Portrait filter, but will not stay with it. I though won't change until I have something I feel that works for the various series.  

And as I tried this or that, I thought-- yes, at a certain point, there can be too many options, where a person stops being able to evaluate any of them. I think this happens to us a lot in life... (None of these will find their way onto a cover, come back Wednesday to see what might).


Tabor said...

I first look at the title, then study (briefly) the cover as it gives a clue to the mood of the book. But it is usually the description of the book or review by one of the normal reviewers that lets me know whether I am going to buy it or not. I do understand that too many choices for filters. I think you have to know where you are going before you can have progress.

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks for sharing that, Tabor as it's interesting to see what draws others to a book. I am leery of Amazon reviewers as they often have a very different view of what they want-- actually ditto with the NYTimes or New Yorker ones. I do read blurbs and a sample if it's going to be expensive. Less expensive books i am more willing to take a chance. I don't think covers ever persuade me.

To the filter I did find that I liked a lot, I am going to change all my paranormal first and probably the other contemporaries. It's very modern and wouldn't work for the historicals. Being impressionistic, it may not help the books for sales but sometimes you just gotta please yourself in this game. I am hoping that I might draw different readers to those contemporaries by giving them edgier covers. We shall see. I'll leave the historicals where they are as a more modern cover seems wrong for them.

Brig said...

Interesting, I usually decide on whether to purchase a book by reviews or recommendations from friends that have similar tastes. Reading the blurb on a book and reading the negative reviews, helps me decide as well. On some more expensive books I have learned to pay attention to well written negative reviews, as they tend to keep me from wasting my limited funds.
Love the first couple filter, and would prefer that on the historicals, as well. But then I'm not into the paranormals, so I can't say for them.

Rain Trueax said...

I haven't decided whether to redo the historicals. I think the one I'm using for the paranormals would work for the contemporaries, but am still considering. My feeling the models will dislike it is one of my factors-- even though when I buy the license, mostly I can add things or use them different ways short of taking off heads (on one of them) or using them in porn, which is most of them.