You've probably heard the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Well, I do it and you might do it too. In the end, the cover of a book ultimately matters. Yes, yes, the writing and the story are important. However, for readers to judge the merit of your book, you need to first convince them to put in the time to read it. And this is where covers come into play.
For me, this is a place that I struggle with. I like super sexy covers that let you know you are going to be reading the steamy things. At the same time I don't want someone to be holding a book with a half naked man on the cover. So back and forth I go.
In today's world, readers are slammed with images, all vying for their attention. Physical bookstores and online ones alike display dozens of titles in any one genre or style, all of which will seem interchangeable to the customer they target. How do you increase the odds the book they pick is yours?
This is a good question and I have not found the answer.
As it is, right now I just choose what feels like the pictures and designs that capture what this book is about. Its the best I can do without a huge marketing team behind me.
Honestly, I think the blurb is what gets the reader to take a book home, but I could be wrong. I have never chosen a book purely on the cover art alone. I have to read the back.
Do people just choose a book by the cover? If they do, I have not met them.
One of the most read tropes in writing is enemies to lovers. I'm sure that you have read a romance novel like that before. Most of the time you know that a lot of them start with the two protagonists fighting or at odds with each other only for them to fall in love by the end.
But sadly, as much as this sounds like a fun thing to write... I am so bad at it.
I know why these stories appeal to readers to much. There are two clear points of appeal. One... There is this great tension around the two characters that bicker and fight. Even boring scenes about making a sandwich become interesting when the characters hate each other. Two... their love seems impossible and that adds intrigue and adds to the overall story. You find yourself asking how will they get together?
But here's the thing, I cant do it. I love when my characters love each other. I am not much of a fighter myself so I think that comes out in my writing. I want them to get along just like I want to get along with the people in my life. So here I am missing out on such a great trope because I can't get my people to fight. Alas.
I guess I should simply thank my luck stars that there are so many different readers out there in the world. I may not be able to write many love to hate novels, but there is a lot of other writing I do very well!
(If you aren't sure, it's the steamy bits.)
As some of you might know, I have a child that has reached that special age where I must teach them to drive. My kid, Sam, has already crashed our car and flipped it over. I say that takes talent. Every time I get into the car with her I think "I might die." This is a new experience for me.
When I was teaching my eldest to drive, we were still in Minnesota. When we would slip off the road, it was just into the ditch. There was large shoulders in Minnesota as well. It is not like that here in the mountains of Georgia. Here, if you fall off a road, you go down a mountain and you can die. Really. I find myself saying goodbye to my love ones before every driving lesson. At the same time, I feel brave for doing this. I know a lot of parents who don't have the courage to face their death over and over again and get into a car with someone who is dumber than rocks.
But I do it. And I keep doing it. I teach her because I don't want her to have to ask for rides for the rest of her life. I teach her so she can jet a job that is an hour away from home. She might not have a bus or a friend or a cab, and I want her to have her freedom.
So wish me luck. Another lesson is upon me and I must gather my wits and face my mortality.
People often talk about the "sub-genres" of Romance books. Fantasy Romance, Contemporary Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Historical Romance... and as you know I write Dystopian Romance.
But here's the thing. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller - these are all genres in their own right. When I first started writing I had to get this all figured out. I had a hard time defining "Romance."
In the end I learned that there is no list of qualifications or characteristics that define a genre. Rather, the term is used to describe any body of literature that can be grouped by shared traits. Some of the traits are like setting, plot points, character tropes, structure, etc. And in a way it appears to me to be completely arbitrary.
Now Romance as a genre is defined by its narrative structure. Romance novels focus on the developing romantic relationship between two (or more) people, and the central tension of the story is whether they will get together and stay together. However, other genres are defined by things like aspects of the setting, such as time period (Historical, Contemporary) and speculative elements (Fantasy, Sci-Fi). Here would be where Dystopian would come in.
So, a novel can be Romance and also Historical Fiction or Contemporary Fiction because the time period and the plot structure are separate things. But a Historical Fiction book can't simultaneously be Contemporary Fiction because these settings contradict each other.
And then it gets a little more complicated. Mystery/Thriller, like Romance, is defined by a plot type - solving a puzzle or escaping a web of intrigue. Shouldn't it be incompatible with Romance, then?
Well, unlike Contemporary and Historical settings, romance plots and mystery plots don't directly contradict one another. A story can have multiple plots going at once, including a budding romance and a mystery. Integrating two different narrative structures does pose different writing challenges, however. Romantic Thriller authors typically have to be clear on which plot is the primary one. That ends up being the source of the central tension - in order for the novel to be effective.
I always stick to Romance as being the main theme. I might have some things for the characters to solve, or do, or chase, but in the end, love is what I write.
If you like that, you are in the correct place.
So this book is done but I just re-read some of the chapters so that I would have a firm idea of where I am for 4:05 a.m. I wanted to know where I left off with The Originals because I know that soon they will be making a move to take out the H.S.P.C.
Anyway, here is a small part of the story that I just reviewed. Cheers.
The kiss ended faster than she would’ve liked. As soon as Rourke lifted his head, she glanced around. No one appeared to be paying them any attention. The men and women simply kept dancing and singing. People did a lot more than she and Rourke. Another pair was in another net. She shoved Rourke’s arm out from under her shirt and then grabbed his bicep. She needed to be alone with her match. People might not be watching them right now, but she planned to get naked. Sex on the floor they would notice.
“Okay, baby, I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
“No, you should have. Correction, you should do even more.” Yanking Rourke behind her, Andi spotted a door to her left. She had no idea what was on the other side, but she didn’t care. Right this second, she needed her Conpar, and she would find a spot. When they made it to the door, Andi turned around and kissed Rourke again. Kissing him would never get dull. Her tongue speared into his mouth. As they kissed, she groped for the handle. With her mouth still latched to her match, she tossed the door open, and they tumbled into the other room.
“Andi,” Rourke growled as she shut the door with the heel of her boot. The room was pitch-black. The sounds of the party became muted.
As her hands tugged on Rourke’s coat, her back struck the light switch. The room was illuminated as she got Rourke’s jacket off his shoulders. She lifted her head from Rourke’s mouth long enough to look around. They were alone in a storage closet. To her left was a wall of folded towels. To the right, shelves of cleaning supplies and tall cabinets took up half the room.
No bed, but what the hey? She tossed Rourke’s coat over a low work table at the back of the walk-in closet and spun around. After she hiked up her skirt, she sat on the bench.
“Andi.” Rourke turned away from her and reached for the door. “I can’t do this.” He turned the handle and then stood there. “I know I keep hitting on you. I don’t know why I’m doing it. Really, we have to stop, all of this.” He yanked on the knob. “I can’t have a match right now.” He tugged again. The wood didn’t budge. Rourke dropped his head to the wall, and she stared at his back. His hand glided and then slapped against the wood. “It’s locked.”
Andi grinned. “I can unlock it when we’re done.”
“We have a train to catch.” Rourke turned around, and his eyes pleaded. He rubbed his palms on his pants. “What about that?”
“There is another train in the morning. Weber can wait.” Andi’s hands went to the buttons of her shirt. She slipped them out one by one. “Everyone can wait.”
Our Ice Era Chronicles in Order:
All future dates are subject to change.