What does a book’s cover tell you?
From a marketing point of view, probably the very most important aspect of a book is its cover. Especially if this is an unknown author, the cover should signal the content’s genre. A picture of a crinoline clad lady in the arms of a muscular man may lead to an assumption of regency romance. An image of a bunch of space ships in a battle might lead you to imagine space opera. The recent discussions about genre have caused me to re-evaluate what it is I write. I had imagined that because there are relationship issues in my books that I could badge them as science fiction romance. But after much soul-searching (described here) I think my original instinct was right. I write science fiction with a dollop of romance. The closest fit is space opera, or science fiction action/adventure. Or, if it floats your boat, ‘planetary romance‘. In that last one, romance is used in its old definition, not boy meets girl, hearts aflutter.
Okay, so I write space opera. If I persist with covers sporting well-ripped blokes, I’m probably unlikely to attract many of the traditional purchasers of SF and I may well put off some of the people who do read SFR and may be disappointed in the fact my books are not ‘romances’ in that the romance is not the driver of the plot. So I have changed my covers.
The new cover for Starheart portrays the space opera nature of the plot, along with a few plot elements such as asteroid mining and a ringed planet. I’ve also changed the blurb to better reflect the book.
Freighter Captain Jess Sondijk thought she had her life under control until Admiral Hudson Confederacy battle cruiser stops her ship to search for contraband. His questions reopen matters she had thought resolved. What if her husband’s death during an official boarding wasn’t accidental?
Hudson has his own questions. Who in the Confederacy is trading with the Ptorix? And what price is high enough to pay for starhearts, the prized jewels the aliens call the windows of the soul?
Jess and Hudson’s interests collide in more ways than one as they follow a shadowy trail of deceit and corruption in search of the truth. But while Jess is more than willing to put her life on the line to protect what’s hers, Hudson must balance the risk of inter-species war at worst and the end of his career at best, in a deadly game of political intrigue, murder and greed.
Yes, love and sex are part of my plots. Love is a real and very powerful emotion and I believe that delving into that part of human nature reveals a side of people that is ignored or glossed over in many action-adventure stories.
For those of you you have read my books already, I hope the covers don’t disappoint. For everybody else, I hope the covers work for you. Please let me know what you think.