Hot diggity! I got my book cover!!!
Of course, you may already know that because I posted it on Facebook a few dozen times, and I put the various versions of it up here under the Give the Lady a Ride tab, but this one here is the one. I’ve even seen the back cover! And the bar code. Yeah! A bar code!!!! How cool is that?
Port Yonder Press’s Anna O’Brien is the cover designer, and you won’t find a nicer lady to work with. I loved everything she showed me just for the artistic value alone. Of course, having my name on the cover added to the appeal. I’d always wanted to see my name on a book cover!
Soon it dawned on me that the cover ought to better reflect the book, so we changed things. (Bless her heart, Anna was so patient with me!) Instead of having a girl with a horse, we gave the girl a bull rope. Anna even found a bell with a cross on it when she was doing her research; of course we used it. I found the background on Flickr and was excited about it. The hills and trees look just like my family’s ranch near Stephenville, Texas, the setting for Ride. (Bull riding champion Ty Murray and his wife, Jewel, have a ranch near Stephenville. My family’s ranch was closer to Hico, but the scenery is the same).
I decided not to have faces because I have it in my mind that readers like to supply their own details. When I read, I develop a mental image based on the author’s description of their characters. Then the book becomes a movie and I think, that actor is all wrong for the part! (which is one of the reasons I can’t watch the movie of a book I’ve read. The reason I can’t read the book of a movie I’ve watched is entirely different).
We had a discussion on ChristianWriters.com a long time ago about just how detailed character description should be. My preference is to have the bare minimum, unless there’s something truly unusual about the character, like a limp or a wart on the nose. That way, I can picture the character based on this personality traits and qualities. I discovered I’m in the minority on this. Most of my friends like more description to fill in the blanks.
Some writers go through the actor photos and “cast their characters” to help readers picture their characters’ physical traits. I think that would be fun, and may yet do it. My problem is that I’m old–I’m not that familiar with the hot young actors today. Although I’m younger than the Bogey and Bacall crowd, I’m at the age where I picture Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid to play the parts of Patricia and Talon. (BTW: Can you believe Sleepless in Seattle is eighteen years old?!)
So, the question for this week’s giveaway is three-fold:
- Do you like to see character faces on the book cover?
- Do you like detailed character descriptions?
- Do you like to see which actor would play the characters’ parts?
For this three-for-one drawing, I have a seriously cool mouse pad:
Great cover, Pepper. I understand your reasons for not wanting to show faces. Just the girl watching the bronco rider is enough to convey the idea of your story. I’m considering buying your book because of it. 😀
To answer your questions, I also like minimal description, though that often include generalities about face and hair color, even occasionally what they’re wearing. I don’t put any people at all on my book covers, but choose something that conveys the general theme of the book.
I usually base my characters on friends, family, and actors I like on TV and in the movies, frequently combining characteristics. Even if I don’t combine, there’s always something a little different about them in the transition.
I love to see the actors who play book parts I know in the movies. Though I find it disturbing if come characteristics directly contradict the book’s descriptions–couldn’t they find someone with blonde hair to play her, or dye her hair? I think–I do enjoy seeing how the actors interpret the person they’re playing.
Again, congratulations on the great book cover, and God’s blessings on your career.
I know what you mean about the actors contradicting the book’s descriptions. But I feel the same way when they contradict the image I have. The first time I saw PBS’s version of All Creatures Great and Small, and saw who they chose to play James Herriott, I knew my mental images didn’t remotely match the characters. I was so disappointed, I wasn’t able to finish watching the series!
No, no, and no. Although having said that, book covers usually have no impact on how I “see” the characters. I develop my own image–no matter who or what is on the cover. I’m with you on the minimal description. There should be some to give us a sense of what the characters look like but not too much. I don’t like a lot of description of anything. Asking writers is not the same as asking readers. Writers tend to like descriptive passages. Your average reader, I believe, does not have the attention span of your average writer. Writers love reading, love words, love description as a group. Readers “like” to read. A big difference. Just my opinion!
Your cover looks great!
It’s true, Sheila. Readers want the action with the description filtered in here and there. Our challenge as writers is to put the reader in the setting without taking him out of the action. That means Longfellow’s long descriptive passages won’t sell in today’s market!
Great post Linda. Ha! I had to go back and check my recent work to be sure I hadn’t written it! Movies of a good book are always a disappointment. And deliver me from the flawless faces (and bodies) of the men and woman on book covers. My heroine in “A Handful of Demons” has “cinnamon and sugar” hair and amber eyes. I see her with a tiny nose, but if my readers want to put a roman nose on her . . . that’s their privilege. My hero has salt and pepper hair, piercing blue eyes and curls at the corner of his mouth “even when he’s not smiling”. An actor to play him? I saw one fleetingly in a commercial once. LOL
Oh, yes–those “flawless faces and bodies”! Mine wasn’t flawless even when I was that age! Your character descriptions sound terrific. I look forward to reading your book, too!
I’d better clarify that last post. I thought I’d written it because of our similar tastes . . . not because it was GREAT!
Your cover is beautiful. I’m so looking forward to that phase of production with Demons.
BTW, I don’t have a “western” bone in my body, but I can’t wait to read your book.
The final cover turned out fabulous! I love seeing your name on there too. 😀 Casting characters is one my guilty pleasures. Not only is fun, but I’ve found that it goes a long way toward bringing an extra set of nuances to character. It’s cheating in a way, I suppose – but the end result is worth it. For me, casting is more about capturing a personality that is similar to my character, rather than finding an actor whose appearance I can describe, in detail, on the page. I like a *little* character descriptions in books, enough to help me form a mental image, but nothing too overboard.
BTW, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid sound perfect to me!
One of my writing partners likes to do the same. He’s younger than I am, so I don’t always know the folks he picks out, but I can definitely see the appeal.
The original pic I had of Patricia under the GTLAR tab fit exactly how I pictured her, so I had her in mind first and found the pic later. Same with Talon. He turned out to be a catalog model for men’s work clothes!
Love the book cover. I like to see the characters faces on the book cover. I don’t need detailed character descriptions. I’d rather have my own picture in my mind. I don’t usually think about which actor would play the characters’ parts.
Joanne, you would’ve liked my first-draft cover. Anna found the sweetest-faced young lady for Patricia! She was automatically a sympathetic character. But one group in my “test market” thought she was too young for the part.
Thanks for your comment!
Oh, what a beautiful mouse pad. Who wouldn’t want such a pad? The cover is beautiful and a book that I would pick up to look at in the book store
Your mention of Meg Ryan makes me remember her as a younger girl playing the part of Betsy on As the World Turns. She would make the girl on the cover an exciting character.
Yes, I like to see faces on the cover; yes to detailed character descriptions; yes, that is fun to imagine actors playing the characters part. My problem is….that I don’t know who the actors are and what they look like nowadays. LOL
Thank you for this fun giveaway and for the chance to win it. This is my first visit to 777 Peppermint Place. I hope I win this one.
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com
Barb, thanks for coming by! I’m beginning to think we writers need to listen more to our readers. I definitely worked under a misconception. Fortunately, the characters are described in the book–the reader won’t be totally left to her own devises!
Good luck in the drawing!
Love the blog! Thank you for stopping by and your thoughful comment.
You have a great blog, Debra. All the best to you!
Yes. Yes, kind of. And yes.
For me, being a visual person, the cover is very important. For whatever reason, I want desperately to have the hero on the cover. Even if he isn’t like I imagined him, I still want to see him. Even if it’s his profile or from a distance. Anything is better than nothing. As for the heroine, that’s not as important, though I do enjoy seeing what she looks like. For her, I’d actually prefer a profile or from her back. Sometime if she isn’t what I envision or what I thought to be attractive, that can hinder things.
I do like a description of the hero, though I don’t need great details. The color of hair and length, color of his eyes, and his height is all I really need.
Would l like to see a picture and or know who the author used to imagine their characters? Yes, I think its fun to see who the author had in mind. Yes if a picture of the characters are on the cover, it’s not as important, just fun to know.
Ah, Kym, I wish you’d written this before I wrote today’s post! Your response would’ve influenced what I wrote.
Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. I appreciate your dropping by!