Thursday, 5 April 2012

Thrusty Thursday – Judge A Book By Its Cover

Hello Readers. Yesterday I did a little experiment on Facebook. Well, it wasn’t very scientific and probably didn’t cover a broad spectrum of my readership but it produced an interesting result.
I asked people to vote for their preferred cover out of these two.

A total of 52 people voted. 40 voted for A. 12 voted for B. Overwhelming, right? You’d think I’d go ‘Yeah, my job here is done’ and put my feet up. After all, I have a cover most people liked. Nope. Read the comments below and I’ll explain why I still have my work cut out.

Some of the comments left for A included:
  • ·        It’s sweet and romantic
  • ·        Matches with the first cover in series/A Valentine Challenge
  • ·        Focal point is the kiss
  • ·        2 people/couple
  • ·        Yellow satin is eye-catching
  • ·        Traditional romance
  • ·        Subtle
  • ·        Sensual romance with some sex in it
  • ·        Looks good but clichéd

Great. Then, I read these comments for B:
  • ·        Dark and sexy
  • ·        It’s intriguing
  • ·        Enigmatic, inspires curiosity
  • ·        Uncommon
  • ·        Sucker for a handsome man
  • ·        The tie got me (when you read the story you’ll understand the reference to the tie J)
  • ·        Man looks like a person with a challenge
  • ·        More interesting than a couple kissing
  • ·        Voted for A but B is intriguing
  • ·        Darker, edgier, sexier, more dangerous
  • ·        Emotional danger

And this got me even more confused.

Image A had a lot going for it especially the fact that it’s eye-catching and matches the first book in the series. It maintains that continuity, which is great.

Image B describes the story. The words—dark, sexy, enigmatic and handsome—describe the main character, Paul, to a T. The storyline is dark, sexy and intriguing. The tie is a prop that has deep meanings for both the hero Paul and heroine Ijay. And of course, the story is about a challenge. Oh, and the story is NOT a sweet romance. The heat rating is spicy/hot. J

So you see why I wasn’t quite ready to discard Image B so quickly. I wondered if I could take some of the elements that made Image A great and incorporate them into B without losing its edge.

Personally, I love the satin sheet effect and love the way it worked in A Valentine Challenge. When I created Image A, I hadn’t finished writing the story, so not all elements of the story played a role in the cover. I was simply trying to match the first book in the series.

But all other panster writers will bear me witness here; all my good intentions for this story went out of the window once I got into the flow of it. The characters took over and told their own story. They were not happy to sit on the sweet/sensual fence. Paul, in particular, is a very strong character who is emotionally darker and harder than Michael (the hero in AVC). Also his favourite colour is blue (and Ijay quickly adopts it).

As the weeks went by, I realised that the bright eye-catching Image A really doesn’t represent the story any more. Hence, the play at a second cover.
So taking the feedback, I’ve gone away and played around with Image B a little and this is what I came up with.

And here's a cropped head version (later addition)

Here's the revised blurb:

Title: An Engagement Challenge
Series: Challenge, #2
Category: Inter-racial, contemporary, romantic suspense
Heat rating: Spicy/Hot
Out in eBook: 27 April, 2012 (Paperback release date TBC)

When savvy PR consultant Ijay Amadi meets successful Industrialist Paul Arinze in London, the only things on her mind are to forget the pain of a failed relationship and enjoy the delights his branding touch and soul-searing kiss promise. It's a one-night only event. Perfect.

However, Paul is annoyed to wake up and find her gone the next morning. He's not ready to forget the dark-haired beauty or their scorching night together. So he plans to have Ijay right where he wants her--in Abuja, working on his latest business project by day and enjoying the pleasures of his bed by night.

Except when Ijay arrives, she's wearing another man's engagement ring. With the explosive desire between them threatening their priorities and loyalties, the stakes get higher by the minute. Who'll be left standing at the altar when Ijay walks down the aisle.

Knowing all this, what’s your verdict? Should I stick to Image A, go with the revised Image B or amend Image B again. All comments welcome. 

Please note that I don't mind revising the cover art for A Valentine Challenge to match this one. So disregard that in making your choice. Thank you.

Happy Easter!


  1. I voted for A, but after reading your description, I can understand why B is the better choice. However, I'm still not that big of a fan of B. It's something about the expression on his face. He looks slightly frustrated, like he just sighed and rolled his eyes upward. Putting it into the context of the story, he doesn't look like he's up for the challenge. Body-wise, he definitely brings the heat, though in a male exotic dancer sort of way. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just takes more than a hot guy to make me pick up a book.

    1. Hiya, thank you for your detailed analysis. I do agree about the model's expression on B. I thought about cropping part of his face off but wasn't sure.

  2. I have to admit that from a quick glance at the smaller version, the guy on the cover looks like Lil Wayne to me, LOL. Perhaps you could crop the picture so that we only see him from the lips down?

    1. LOL. Thank you, Evangeline. I certainly don't want Lil Wayne on my cover. I'll try cropping his face and see what it looks like.

  3. Kiru, I know people like the satin, but I prefer the first option B to the second one. And, yes, I'd have voted B in the first place. I like the see-through band in the middle. If you really want the satin then you could try using that there. You may have to make it transparent, though.

    1. Hi Empi, one of the complaints about the first Image B is that it lacked a focal point and that the see through band in the middle was obscuring the model's chest which could have been the focal point.
      That's why I moved the band lower and replace it with the satin so there's now more of a focal point.

  4. At first I'd probably say A - it does fit in with your first release in the series. But looking again, the revised B has a certain something about it that has me looking again. I think it's the colours that make it just a little bit more sensual...

    I agree to a certain extent with Evangeline though. I think it could be better if you didn't see the full face of the hero on the front cover (won't comment on who he looks like, lol). I love being able to give a hero their features myself and fill in the gaps, so to speak ;)

    1. I certainly agree about filling the gaps. A cropped head is becoming even more appealing now. LOL

      Thanks, Xandra. :)

  5. Picture A which i am not a big fan of rather indicates of perfect conclusion to the story line. Picture B would have been a better choice but the expression on his face does not sort of match the brief description of the character of the storyline you have written( or maybe the picture in my head is not right); cropping his head off puts too much emphasis on the torso which maybe the ladies who are to the story is more targeted at might prefer, but for me( as a man) there is too much focus on the muscles ;).....(maybe i'm just jealous).

  6. Oh my, a tough decision. I think I like the first version of cover B. I'm not too crazy about the one with cropped head. Reminds me of how bad photos I take, cutting heads off and squeezing subjects into corner, pfffff...
    Anyhow, if you can revise the cover for AVC than use B for this one. See if you can add her somewhere on the cover, otherwise it tells the readers the story is primarily about him.
    Good luck and I'll be getting a copy when it's out. Sounds great.

  7. I love B but the cropped version, far more mysterious and seductive.

  8. I was going to tell you to get rid of the cropped mouth and focus on the chest. The picture of the dude is great but he is looking up as if his eyes are rolling in the back of his head instead of looking ahead straight and determined. Thats my only reason for not going with it. Yet I still like photo A although now I understand the main character is a guy. I dunno. Maybe crop it to show the beginning of the chest - that signifies lust determination vanity power...anyway hope this doesnt confuse you even more!

  9. Ahhh...I think you found the sweet spot. For me the cropped B is it. The guy is not too fine for face to be honest. :)

  10. I didn't get a chance to vote the first time and when I saw the two covers there was something about image B that grabbed my attention and I wasn't exactly sure what it was.

    I kind of like the image where the model's face is showing but that's probably just me, I wouldn't mind the cropped face version so much if the model was facing in a different direction but with the way you have him turned I think it's a little better that you show all of his face.

    When I think of his eyes the way they look I'm imagining that he's looking up at the heroine, like she's in her room and staring down at him or something like that.

    Oddly enough though with the color scheme you've got going you might be able to make the cropped image B work pretty well.

    Good luck!

  11. No he do NOT look like lil Wayne, that's not right commenter to say..... but i do like the crop look better. love it.

  12. Though A looks more romantic, I'll go for B. It's uncommon, and it depicts a man who is in a kind of turmoil.


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