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Amongst Other Things

The author says:

A young servant spends her time tending house chores and garden maintenances. Amongst Other Things she’s done this her entire life. The big time business man who owns the house takes a sudden interest in the young woman and a new life begins there for them both.

Amongst Other Things

Amongst Other Things

Nathan says:

So… it’s a romance?  Household servant meets businessman?

I can understand that you’re trying to go classier here than the average “Pursued By the Billionaire” romance cover, but you may have gone overboard.  There’s absolutely nothing on this cover to let potential readers of your novel that this is the kind of book they would enjoy reading.  If I were to guess by looking at the cover, I would assume that it’s a volume of poetry, or a collection of literary stories that someone published via a small press in order to impress the tenure committee.

Your book cover is the movie poster for your book. Treat it as such.

 

Comments

  1. Assuming you want to stick with this type of cover instead of a more typical romance cover, I’d revisit your palette and fonts. Those will be your two main ways to communicate your genre and right now neither definitively points to romance.

    I’d definitely go with a nice script font. Courier-style fonts suggest contemporary or literary, and handwriting fonts like the byline suggest YA (plus the all caps makes it look like your name is Ms. Reegan). For palette, maybe demanding pink/more prominent flowers/etc is cliche, but in addition to not looking very romancey, the autumnal palette suggests a more somber tone than might fit your story.

    Other stuff: I’m not digging the posterize effect (nothing to do with genre, it just doesn’t look very good) and the vectorized leaves on the overlay are jarring compared to the more realistic main image.

  2. Jesus, I fat fingered the crap out of that post. Here it is again corrected. Please delete the other one, Nathan. Thanks.

    As usual, Nathan has taken the words from my mouth. I think this an a case where fitting ii is important. The people who are going to want to read this book have expectations of what the story will be like and what the cover should look like. Look at other covers in the genre and make a cover that fits in yet stands out in some way, if you know what I mean.

    Imitation is a favorite tactic in marketing and when you are marketing to an audience that reads a formulaic genre it’s important that your cover be a familiar image yet containing your own style and message.

    Sometimes the artist in us overwhelms the purpose of a book’s cover, which first and foremost is to sell your book, unless profit is not your motive. Look at what people are reading in the genre, moreover, look at the covers and imitate the shit out of them, but add your own twist to make it yours.

    Try this and resubmit. I’d love to see what you come up with.

  3. Indeed, my first impression on seeing the thumbnail of the cover and then the cover at a fuller size was that this was going to be some kind of highbrow artistic or literary compilation with an autumnal theme. The content of the synopsis came as rather a surprise. I couldn’t help wondering whether the author might have mixed up this book’s cover with another.

    Assuming this isn’t a mix-up, about the only part of the cover worth keeping is the title, and though it’s a serviceable title, it doesn’t mean much by itself. To indicate what’s in the book, it needs context. Stories of romantic relations, be they comedies or dramas, are character stories. That’s why they need people on the cover, or at least one of the lovebirds in question. (The latter is especially common if the story focuses on only one character’s point of view.)

    While the general plot of the story (boss falls for hired help) isn’t entirely common, it’s certainly not unprecedented. The original Shop Around The Corner was about such a relationship, albeit a bit indirectly. The Iron Man comics had the corporate C.E.O. Tony Stark’s long-time secretary Pepper Potts in love with him, and the manga of Hana Yori Dango featured an arc with protagonist Tsukushi working as a maid in the mansion of her wealthy (and belligerent) love interest Domyouji.

    While each of these stories has its merits for demonstrating how to market such a romance, the poster for The Shop Around The Corner is probably your best model for what to put on this cover. Note that while the movie has a fairly complicated story and a lot of supporting cast, its poster focuses exclusively on the couple, to the exclusion of all the other characters and even any background imagery. While the fashions aren’t very recognizable to us here in the USA these days (this story being set in Hungary sometime around the beginning of the Great Depression), the clothes they’re wearing also point to their difference in status; he being the comfortably wealthy store manager in that expensive business suit, and she being the lowly newly-hired saleslady in her barely adequate discount dress.

    The cover for this book, likewise, should give us a look at the prospective couple, or at least the woman. Optionally, this couple could be a whole scene showing her busy with her chores and him looking her way as she catches his attention, but none of this is strictly necessary. As long as she and he are both wearing something appropriate to their respective statuses, people will get the gist about this story being about an upper-class/lower-class relationship.

    As mentioned, the title is a bit generic and therefore needs some context; literary as well as visual. While I usually don’t like to recommend taglines, a simple one incorporating the title could help clarify matters for prospective readers just that little bit extra above and beyond the picture without being redundant in this case. Something along the lines of “She helped clean his house… Amongst Other Things” or “She helped tend his garden… Amongst Other Things” would probably suffice.

    In short, regardless of whether this story is a comedy or drama, highbrow or lowbrow, epic or tragic, this book’s cover needs some personality, and the best way to show personality is to show persons. A natural montage, however pretty and symbolic and subtextual and all that good stuff, lacks personality if it doesn’t have any humans (or at least anthropomorphic beings) in it. Give it some personality.

  4. FWIW except for the horizontal and vertical bars, I like the artwork and the subdued palette, but I agree that overall it evokes an impression of literature and/or poetry rather than any kind of genre romance. Also, although I like the title and its modest, low key placement, the location of the byline is an issue; it took me quite some time even to realize it *was* a byline. Lastly, I’m pretty sure that ‘amongst’ is the wrong word. Unless the action takes place in the midst of a bunch of actual, physical things, I think it ought to be ‘among’.

    1. Howdy:

      My issue with it, mostly, is that (being old enough to know this) it has the feel of being released 50 years ago. That’s what it is. It took me a while to figure out what it was, about this, that was bugging me.

      The subdued feel, the flowers–it feels like a book cover that would have hit the literature shelves in the late 50’s-early 60’s. A “beat” cover, if you know what I mean. Something I would have seen, “back in the day,” at the coffee houses in the Village, in NYC. It’s a nice cover, but it’s very, very dated. If the story is set during the Beat age, (just before the “Hippies,” for those of you not old enough to know this stuff), it’s evocative, but unfortunately, as a selling point, I think it’s hurting you.

      You might consider using this as a title or bastard title page, with some very slight modification. But as a cover, you’ll miss opportunities to sell the book. As the others have said, it screams literature or poetry, not genre. I personally like the look and artwork, as artwork, but not as a cover.

      At this point, I’m simply echoing what others have said. I hope you’ll try again, and let us see what your next version looks like. The Romance genre can be tough, if you have higher literary aspirations, for your work, but as one of the other Critics mentioned, they have a certain set of standards that you need to match, in order to sell well.

      Good luck!

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