“Why don’t you have people on your covers…?”

After all, don’t you write romance?

This was a HUGE discussion at work when I was trying to figure out what I wanted on the covers of my first books. Even some writer friends were under the impression that my book was a sweet romance because there wasn’t a hulking, oiled up, shirtless male or a woman with her head thrown back in passion. Yes, there is a love scene in all three book in the trilogy. I had more, but decided it didn’t really add to the story as it grew (pun not really intended, but I’m leaving it).

So why not put people on my covers? Well, there are several reasons. Romance still has a stigma. Some people are just not comfortable reading a book in front of others that show a couple in a loving or steamy embrace. Even some of the covers that show just women fully clothed exude a level of sexuality that can make readers feel a little naughty if they’re caught with book in hand.When Love Waits

I took that into account. Plus the fact that I don’t know how many books I’ve picked up, looked at the cover and then been totally disappointed because the person on the cover doesn’t even come CLOSE to resembling the character the author describes. It took a long time to learn that this is 99.9 percent not the authors fault because once upon a time, and even still in some cases, authors had no say over their cover models.

Another reason. And this one took a while for me to even realize it. These buildings I’ve put on the covers are a big part of the setting. Sometimes we don’t realize just how much a house, or a school or even our workplace factors in to how we react to things. And in Waits, Lingers and Prospers, the settings play a big role in bringing the characters together. In a way, I’m inviting the reader to walk through those doors of the buildings on the covers and immerse themselves in the story. If I could have found houses with open doors, that would have been even better.

Yet another reason? Well, how many books out there are plastered with people? A book that doesn’t have a person on it may actually have a better chance of standing out from the crowd. Not sure if that strategy is actually working but for now I’m sticking with it.

When Love Lingers
When Love Lingers

Not having people may hinder sales, but being a self-published author gives me a little more leeway to do what I want with my books. This is how I wanted the story conveyed. My cover designer put people on the cover just to see how it would look and I hated it. So away went the people. We designed these covers over six months ago. I let them sit over the holidays while I worked on editing. Once I got ready to bite the bullet and was working on the formatting, I pulled the files back up and found that I still loved my covers.

When Love Propers
When Love Prospers

And to me, that was more important than anything. If I hate my covers, how can I expect others to love them? I’ve got to be able to stand behind my work and these covers are the first thing people see. When I first started writing Emma’s story, I had an outline of a house that I’d taken from a house plan magazine taped to the inside of my notebook as I wrote. The house was that important to me.

Will I ever put people on my covers? Only time will tell. Considering the covers for the next book, a stand alone, and the novella series are worked up – with no people in sight – I don’t think it will happen any time soon. But it could. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if the story cries out to have a person represent it on the cover.

For now. I’m content with my choices. Because they were mine and because I think they help create the setting. So why don’t you walk through these doors too? Meet Emma and Jack, Cailyn and Kyle, and Helen and Trevor. Let them show you around a little.

Question – Take a look at your bookshelf or e-reader. What types of covers draw you to a book? Does it completely sell the book for you or does the description do that. Curious to hear your answers.



8 thoughts on ““Why don’t you have people on your covers…?”

  1. I’m not a huge cover buyer. Yes, the cover is a factor. The colors used will pull me in but it’s the blurb that decides me. Well, that and a random sampling, LOL. And having the covers of a series compliment each other is hugely important. I love what you did here 🙂

    1. Thanks Raelyn. I doubted myself, but at the end of the day I went with my gut. Part of the continuity lays with my cover designer. She had some good ideas and she made them look even better than the initial concept I had come up with.

  2. I didn’t know that was why you went with the houses. To be honest, I never thought of that. lol My cover does have people on it but neither of them are smiling–or undressed. =D

      1. The thing about having people is that you instantly think that is what the characters are going to look like. I don’t want to know what they look like, I want to form my own picture 🙂


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