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Question regarding covers and characters

Dharma Kelleher
 

Hi everyone,

I need your thoughts. 

I have a cover designer working on a redesign for one of my books. My designer has come up with a beautiful cover, but the woman in the photo has longer hair than the main character. In the story, she is a butch lesbian motorcycle builder who has short spiky hair. Needless to say, representation of butch women in stock photo galleries is rather lacking. 

I really like the cover my designer has create, even with the longer hair. Do you think readers will have a problem with the fact that the woman on the cover doesn’t match the description in the book? 

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Peace out,
Dharma Kelleher
Gritty Crime Fiction with a Feminist Kick

https://dharmakelleher.com


Tim Jungr
 

It irks me if the cover art doesn't match the description. In fact, that just happened to me this afternoon in the book I am currently reading. The first physical description of the hero mentioned his "sandy brown hair," but the guy on the cover had very dark hair. To be fair, I was only annoyed for about four seconds, then I got over it.

Mismatches are pretty common. I remember lots of traditional romances where the hero was described as having hair on his chest, but absolutely no cover models back then had hair.

Also, I am more likely to notice with an actual, paper book than with an e-book. Once I open an e-book I never look at the cover again, whereas I see the cover of a print book every time I pick it up. (And my kindle is black-and-white, so color differences wouldn't be as obvious.)

Tim

On Friday, September 13, 2019, 03:38:22 PM EDT, Dharma Kelleher <dharma.kelleher@...> wrote:


Hi everyone,

I need your thoughts. 

I have a cover designer working on a redesign for one of my books. My designer has come up with a beautiful cover, but the woman in the photo has longer hair than the main character. In the story, she is a butch lesbian motorcycle builder who has short spiky hair. Needless to say, representation of butch women in stock photo galleries is rather lacking. 

I really like the cover my designer has create, even with the longer hair. Do you think readers will have a problem with the fact that the woman on the cover doesn’t match the description in the book? 

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Peace out,
Dharma Kelleher
Gritty Crime Fiction with a Feminist Kick

https://dharmakelleher.com


Tammy Bird
 

I'm with Tim on this one, except I have a hard time not dwelling on the differences once I find them. I will probably still finish the book, but I may not buy another by the same author. 

Can you find a picture in stock art by searching for lesbian protagonist or female mechanic (or something else that may lend itself to a person more like what you describe)?

Tammy

On Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 3:49 PM Tim Jungr via Groups.Io <timjungr=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
It irks me if the cover art doesn't match the description. In fact, that just happened to me this afternoon in the book I am currently reading. The first physical description of the hero mentioned his "sandy brown hair," but the guy on the cover had very dark hair. To be fair, I was only annoyed for about four seconds, then I got over it.

Mismatches are pretty common. I remember lots of traditional romances where the hero was described as having hair on his chest, but absolutely no cover models back then had hair.

Also, I am more likely to notice with an actual, paper book than with an e-book. Once I open an e-book I never look at the cover again, whereas I see the cover of a print book every time I pick it up. (And my kindle is black-and-white, so color differences wouldn't be as obvious.)

Tim

On Friday, September 13, 2019, 03:38:22 PM EDT, Dharma Kelleher <dharma.kelleher@...> wrote:


Hi everyone,

I need your thoughts. 

I have a cover designer working on a redesign for one of my books. My designer has come up with a beautiful cover, but the woman in the photo has longer hair than the main character. In the story, she is a butch lesbian motorcycle builder who has short spiky hair. Needless to say, representation of butch women in stock photo galleries is rather lacking. 

I really like the cover my designer has create, even with the longer hair. Do you think readers will have a problem with the fact that the woman on the cover doesn’t match the description in the book? 

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Peace out,
Dharma Kelleher
Gritty Crime Fiction with a Feminist Kick

https://dharmakelleher.com


 

My designer and those from my previous publisher didn't like to have a character face or recognizable characteristic on covers because of this type of issue for a reader. My mystery series uses a silhouette of a man (could be Derek or could be the killer) as a unifying theme for the covers. I guess the convention of showing a character with a photograph depends on the genre.

If you feel you will be explaining the cover at every book signing or speaking engagement, I would suggest asking for it to be changed. The cover should not be a distraction to the story.

--
Greg Lilly
 
Author of:

- Stray 

- The Wolf Crystal 

- Sunset & Semicolons – a Frank & Revealing Field Guide to the Writing Life

- Scalping the Red Rocks – A Derek Mason Mystery

- Under a Copper Moon
Devil's Bridge
- Fingering the Family Jewels– A Derek Mason Mystery

 

www.GregLilly.com

 
 

Loretta
 

HI Dharma - in addition to the comments already made here, which relate to people who've already invested in the book and might be turned off by the discrepency - you might want to think about people who will pass on the book and never open it because the cover doesn't match what they're looking for. If I'm a butch short-haired lesbian looking for a book I can see myself in...I'll likely move on by if i'm scanning through kobo or kindle web pages (the cover image isn't a HUGE element in my book selecting...but it is part of it, and the fact that the image is small makes it even more important, to a certain extent.) 

Just my two cents, never having attempted to put a cover to a book! (and to be honest, for own novel, I'd prefer a landscape picture to a character picture - it's a very "place-specific" book, set in the Canadian sub-arctic.) 

Dharma Kelleher
 

Thanks for everyone’s input. :-)

Peace out,
Dharma Kelleher

Gritty Crime Fiction with a Feminist Kick


On Sep 17, 2019, at 5:51 PM, Loretta <lorettamuses@...> wrote:

HI Dharma - in addition to the comments already made here, which relate to people who've already invested in the book and might be turned off by the discrepency - you might want to think about people who will pass on the book and never open it because the cover doesn't match what they're looking for. If I'm a butch short-haired lesbian looking for a book I can see myself in...I'll likely move on by if i'm scanning through kobo or kindle web pages (the cover image isn't a HUGE element in my book selecting...but it is part of it, and the fact that the image is small makes it even more important, to a certain extent.) 

Just my two cents, never having attempted to put a cover to a book! (and to be honest, for own novel, I'd prefer a landscape picture to a character picture - it's a very "place-specific" book, set in the Canadian sub-arctic.)