Hi there, my guest today is Suzette Cauler who is continuing our "Writing; The Alphabet" series with 'C' is for covers.
In this series, we will be discussing the importance of covers in the industry of our books.
Book Covers 101: One Author’s Two Cents by Suzette Cauler
I’ll start by saying I don’t consider myself an expert. I don’t know everything there is to know about book covers, but I do have my experience, both as an author and as a reader, to share. Who knows? Maybe it will help someone.
From a Reader’s Point of View
As a reader, it’s the cover that makes me pick up a book or click on one online. I don’t read the blurb first and then decide whether I’m interested enough to check out the book. Instead, if the book cover is eye-catching and compelling, I’ll read the blurb and then decide if I want to buy the book. When a cover doesn’t grab me? Well, unless I already like the author, I’m definitely going to pass it by.
Interestingly, one of the best novels I’ve ever read had a cover I would have totally ignored. It was just very plain, with nothing about the characters or the book’s setting to make me take notice. I only read the book because a good friend shoved a copy into my hands and insisted I read it. I’ve since read that book at least 10 times, loaned it to a friend who never returned it, bought another copy, and read it about 5 more times. I LOVE this book, and I’ve gone on to read EVERYTHING the author wrote. It’s a shame to think I would have missed out on a lot of great reading because the cover didn’t appeal to me.
A book cover should catch the reader’s eye and provoke emotion. It should give the reader a little glimpse of what to expect from the book. For example, I like a book cover that gives me some feeling about the characters. It doesn’t have to show me exactly what the characters look like. My imagination will change and mold the characters in my head anyway. But it should give my imagination a springboard from which to work. I also like a cover that makes me anticipate what I’ll find inside, whether that’s romance, sex, danger, mystery, etc., I’m more likely to buy a book with a cover that gives me a little jolt of it before I start reading.
From an Author’s Point of View
As an author, I’ve learned that I have some control over the cover I end up with. That control depends entirely on how well I communicate my vision to the cover artist. The more information I share with the cover artist, the closer to my vision the end result will come. Sharing pictures of models that look like my characters helps too. The cover artist’s imagination will enter the equation as well, and that’s okay. The details I give him or her provide a foundation on which the artist’s imagination can build to create a compelling cover. In turn, the cover the artist creates will help spark the reader’s imagination.
While providing details is important, it’s also crucial to keep an open mind. It’s unlikely that a cover artist will create characters that match your vision perfectly. And if you insist on an intricate or overly detailed design, it will be harder for your cover artist to meet your expectations. So, do provide details in your description, but don’t go overboard or become rigid with your ideas.
That’s my two cents about book covers. I still have much to learn, so I’m always open to advice from readers and other authors. Have a tip? Share it! Have a question? I’ll try to answer. Go ahead and chat me up in the comments section.
Suzette's Latest Release
The Secret-Keeper’s Choice
[Ménage Amour: Erotic Paranormal Ménage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, vampires, spanking, HEA]
Immortal Daria Vacanti guards secrets dating back to the beginning of vampire history but remembers nothing of her own past. On top of that, Daria is torn between Joshua and Holden Parker, the vampires she loves but can't have. When she leaves town to escape an impossible choice, she meets a witch who promises to restore her memories. It’s just the distraction she needs to get over the Parker brothers, but is the price for the witch’s help too great?
Joshua and Holden have tried to forget Daria, but when the clan elders sentence her to serve under them, the brothers discover that love dies hard. With the trio forced to live under the same roof, sparks fly, tempers flare, and desire threatens to consume them all. Can Daria choose between the brothers this time around? Will her quest for insight into her past destroy everything she holds dear?
The Stonehill mansion was so grand and brightly lit it could have been welcoming her to an upscale party rather than what Daria was expecting—a serious scolding from Christoph. She was surprised, though, that Joshua had brought her here. At this late hour, Christoph was typically at home. He usually hunted closer to and then headed home to enjoy other pursuits.
“Christoph is meeting us here?” she asked as Joshua drove slowly up the driveway. Obviously that was the plan, but her surprise led her to ask the question anyway.
“No, as far as I know, he’s not here.” Something in his voice made Daria uneasy.
“Well, then, why are we?” She’d been chastised by a few of the other elders as a teen, but it seemed unlikely that Christoph would let them tongue lash her alone. Not after she’d been away for so long.
Joshua didn’t take his eyes off the road ahead as he answered so quietly she wasn’t sure she’d heard him correctly. “We’re here for the dungeons, Daria. We’ve been looking for you for two long years. Christoph’s last orders were to find you, bring you home, and have you imprisoned.”
“You can’t be serious!” Daria couldn’t quite believe her life had come to this. She’d spent years as one of the clan’s most trusted, cherished members, and now she was to become its prisoner? “He can’t just lock me up like some common criminal!”
Joshua pulled his car over at the top of the hill and cut the engine, turning in his seat to look at her, his sad eyes meeting her confused glare. “For the first few months that we searched for you, Christoph seemed to feel your actions were simply rebellious. He even questioned whether you’d been forced to leave. Over time, though, the elders began to insist that you’d left willfully and pressed their opinion that you cared little for your duty. They argued that you deserved a more serious punishment. At first Christoph disagreed, but eventually he gave in—or maybe he just gave up. You could face The Cage, Daria.”
Her mouth dropped open in shock. She knew Christoph would be angry. She’d known the elders would demand some sort of punishment, but she’d never imagined he’d allow her to spend time in the dungeon. And The Cage? It seemed unthinkable that the vampire who considered himself her father would allow that.
“We don’t have to go right in, if you need some time...”
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” She wasn’t sure she would have gone with him so easily if she’d known such a stiff punishment awaited her.
“The shackles didn’t tip you off?”
Daria could only shake her head. She didn’t know what she’d been thinking. The shackles should definitely have raised an eyebrow. She’d thought Christoph wanted her dragged home like a prisoner and brought to him for punishment. Maybe, she’d thought, the shackles were his way of shaking her up a bit. But the dungeons and a real trial? No, she hadn’t expected that, especially since she didn’t think the elders knew what she’d really been up to in Philadelphia—not the whole story anyway.
“If you tell me what this is all about, maybe I can do something to help. I hate the idea of you spending even a second in the Baldassare dungeons.”
Looking into his eyes, she could plainly see Joshua’s concern. It would be so easy to spill everything and ask him to find some way of fixing it for her. But Daria couldn’t do that. Her crime, at least the one she’d been planning, was serious enough to earn her time in The Cage, and if she asked him to help her cover it up, she’d be risking his neck as well. Besides, she couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t hear about Maharet’s proposal and decide The Cage was exactly where she belonged.
She reached up to touch his face, caressing the prickly beginnings of stubble there. Joshua had always preferred to be clean-shaven, but the hair always grew back faster than a mortal man’s. She liked the feel of his shadow. “Thank you,” she said, touched that he still cared for her so much, “but it’s better if you don’t know.” She wanted to kiss him—to have something good to remember for whatever time she’d have to spend in the darkness of the Baldassare dungeons, but that didn’t seem fair either. Nothing had changed. They couldn’t be together, so why open that door all over again?
Joshua leaned closer, apparently having the same thoughts about kissing her, but Daria turned to face forward in her seat. “I think it’s best if we just get on with it.”
It seemed he would argue at first, but then he shrugged and got out of the car, closing the door a little too hard on his way around to the passenger side.
The bed sagged under their weight as they each took a place next to her. Joshua, resting on one elbow, kissed her, using his tongue to explore her mouth. He ran a hand under her shirt to stroke the smooth skin of her belly before directing his attention back to her breasts. Holden lay on her other side, kissing her earlobe, gently taking it in his teeth before loving her neck. He alternated between gentle nibbles and soft kisses that drove her insane.
Getting to his knees, Holden caressed from her belly down to her thighs and then back upward, pushing downward with ever-increasing pressure each time he got to her cunt. The heel of his hand pressed right over her clit with perfect precision, and she lifted her hips to grind against his hand, moaning into Joshua’s mouth and threading her fingers through his hair. Daria couldn’t get enough of this. She craved more.
Feeling Holden’s hands on the waistband of her pants, she lifted her pelvis so he could easily tug them past her hips and slide them off her bare legs. He moved between her legs then, sliding downward to kiss her upper thighs and nuzzle her pussy trough the thin, silky material of her panties. Daria knew why he didn’t just remove them right away. He’d told her how much he looked forward to seeing her in lingerie on a daily basis now that they were a threesome. She’d chosen the white silk thong just for him. There wasn’t much to the material, but she’d known he would appreciate it. He proved her right by licking her pussy through the silk, the heat of his mouth torturing her while the wetness of his stroking tongue provided just enough insight into what was to come. She bucked against him, unable to control herself. Her body felt on fire with the need for his touch, and the ache between her legs grew more insistent. Daria wanted to feel them both everywhere, on every part of her body.
Joshua coaxed her shirt up and over her head, tossing it and the already unfastened white silk bra out of the way. He gazed heatedly down at her breasts, and when she raised her arms to him, he covered her without delay. He kissed her briefly, then trailed his lips down her neck, over her collarbone and to the tingling breasts he’d already feasted on with his eyes. Circling her left nipple with his tongue, he gently flicked it once, twice before taking it into his mouth. Daria immediately arched her back, trying to get closer to him and the incredible sensations his lips and tongue provoked.
Daria opened her mouth to say something. She wasn’t even sure what, but the words evaporated when she felt Holden’s tongue work its way under the silk of her panties and lick her pussy full on.
“I can’t get enough of you,” Holden murmured between lapping at the cream sliding out of her pussy and running his tongue over her nether lips. She bucked and moaned under his ministrations, trying to hold still but unable to do so. Gently squeezing her thighs, he pushed her legs further apart. Opening her to him, he blew warm air on her pussy.
“Please, Holden.” Daria craved the pressure of his tongue, his hand, anything. Holden stiffened his tongue in response, using it to part the lips partially shielding her clit. He treated the needy bud to a long, wet lick that had Daria crushing her pussy hard against his face. Holden backed off for only a second to remove her panties and then dove back in to lick and suck her until she was pumping and grinding under him.
“Joshua,” Daria managed between gasps and moans, “I want to taste you.”
The rasp of Joshua’s zipper as he shed his pants was murder on Daria’s senses, and the movement of her hips grew more frantic. She was right on the brink, but she wanted, no needed, to taste him before she let go. “Mmmm…Hurry, Joshua.” She wanted his cock in her mouth when she came.
Joshua kneeled next to her, his cock looming larger than life over her, and she reached for him, guiding him to straddle her face. She angled her head so she could lick from his heavy balls up to the tip of his cock and then back again, grasping his ass to move him back and forth over her tongue. When he moved backward a third time, she opened wider, and as he pushed forward again, she took all of him, inch by swollen inch, in her mouth.
Thank you so much Suzette for being a great guest today. I look forward to having you on again sometime!
Join me on Friday when my guest will be Skye Michaels, we will be learning more about her and her latest release.
Until then, have a great week and enjoy whatever you are reading and/or writing