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Saving Foxwood

The author says:

“Saving Foxwood” is a Regency romance, so the target audience is primarily women, especially those who like Georgette Heyer. It’s about a woman who marries beneath herself to save her home.

Nathan says:

I’m definitely not the target audience, but my perusal of the genre strongly suggests that most successful covers feature definite romantic imagery — the couple in question, or at very least one of the two romantic participants.  If your novel is actually a Regency romance (as opposed to, say, a historical novel which contains a romance), you probably want to use your cover image to brand yourself as being solidly in the genre.

There are definitely other problems here — the lack of contrast between “Foxwood” and the background, the blank space at the top that gives it an unbalanced feel, the unnecessary “by” in the byline — but I think you need to step back and revise the initial concept first.

Other thoughts?


  1. Not a total disaster, but not quite a winner, either.

    Unless the book is specifically labeled “a regency romance,” there is no way a prospective reader would know what genre this book belonged to.

    I suspect that the image is supposed to be the Foxwood that is being saved (at least going by your description)…but that is really something only someone who has already read the book would know. They may be informed by the blurb, but again, they will have to have been encouraged by the cover to get even that far.

    In short, there is nothing to suggest that the book is about “a woman who marries beneath herself to save her home.”

    Judging solely by the cover image and title, the book could be a plea to preserve some historic manor house.

    Before you worry about typography or any such details, you should rethink the cover image entirely.

  2. It doesn’t have a very “book cover” feel to me, more like a pretty picture with text on it. There is a bit too much space in between the title’s two words (personally I end up reading it as “Saving…………… Foxwood”). The title font could have a mild drop-shadow or glow – nothing too intense but just something to give it more of a title feel, more importance and weight. Pure white might not be ideal either, but it will depend on the picture that ends up being used. The font itself is fancy enough but might be too thin, which makes it hard to read at thumbnail size.

    Tracy’s examples are very pretty and add to a similar backdrop as the current image a much needed human element so that people can relate to it more and generate an emotion. The colors also have a more “romance” feel by using brighter, less saturated blues and greens. Hints of pink or purple could also be neat.

    So I think a similar photo with the main heroine on it and a more pastel look could work pretty nicely, making sure the title is readable and contrasting.

  3. I’ll point out that your best inspiration for covers should probably come from Georgette Heyer’s books themselves. Specifically, her most recent covers, which show up if you simply Google her name. They display the central character or characters front and center, with their face in at least partial view. I’d say go with that, especially since whoever manages Heyer’s estate still knows how to pull an audience.

  4. Thank you, everyone! I’m just now dabbling into making my own covers, and although I like this one, I had specific doubts it. Your suggestions prove me right about those doubts.

    Also, thanks for the point to Trevillion. I’ve never heard of them, and they have some gorgeous images – including women standing before mansions!

    1. My one comment, above and beyond those that commented, is to say I’d also avoid such an obvious P&P reference. That strongly channels Lyme Park, the filming location for “Pemberley” in the much-loved 1995 P&P miniseries, so…unless you’re doing it deliberately, I’d look for a less-overt homage to it. Nothing like some P&P homaging, mind you, but…less obvious.


  5. Basically, it’s not a bad background for the picture on a romance novel cover, but this lovely estate (which also looks something like a college campus when viewed in thumbnail) is not sufficient to carry the cover by itself. As others have mentioned, for a cover for just about any kind of romance, you have to have people on your cover, and preferably somewhere down front. Imagine if you were a youngster just being introduced to Gone With The Wind for the first time, and all you saw on the cover was a picture of Scarlett’s much-beloved family plantation estate Tara (which she goes to some extreme lengths to save from the carpetbaggers, not unlike your story’s protagonist); from a picture and title like that, you might think Gone With The Wind was some kind of nostalgic lamentation about a house that got destroyed in a hurricane rather than a romance novel.

    So yes, you might actually do well to keep this picture for your cover; but whether you do or not, you’ll need to get a picture of the high-class lady and the rough-hewn fellow beneath her station that she’s marrying convincingly layered into the foreground somehow before this will be in any way recognizable as a romance novel. If you decide to keep this image for your background, I would also recommend zooming in on the mansion before adding the characters in order to keep your prospective readers from wondering whether the couple in question are standing in the middle of the lake for some reason. Sure, romance novel covers can get away with being cliched and a little goofy, but that’s no reason for newer book covers such as yours not to be just as obvious from the start about their genre, setting, and participants.

  6. Maybe it’s been said enough already but just to repeat the message: Regency Romances Have People On Them! It’s the law.

    Well, really ALL romantic novels, whether Mills and Boon or classy historical epic, have at least one person on the front. Usually if it’s a single figure it’s the heroine (in a nice dress, naturally), but if I’m remembering my Heyer covers correctly they often feature both of the couple. Possibly because the Regency costume for men is so attractive… ahem.

    Your cover, coupled with your title, don’t at all communicate the story or genre currently. Regency romance fans won’t stop to read the blurb. If I had to guess at the content without a blurb I would assume this is a non-fiction book about the campaign to preserve a stately home from demolition. In fact, I looked at the cover and before reading on thought, “is this about the Arthur Conan Doyle house there was a campaign to save? Oh no, that was Undershaw, not Foxwood”.

    If you really want to keep the above photo within the cover, photoshopping a couple into the scene is going to be nigh-on impossible. You’d have to find stock with the right lighting state and be REALLY skilled at digital work. But one possible composition that manages to use both the house and an image of humans is to have the two-pictures-divided-by-the-title composition. It’s more common of movie tie in books (and not a composition I’m that fond of personally) but it seems popular. And I can see the value in including an image of setting as it’s such a big draw for the audience of historical romance.

    Or you could use the layout’s close neighbour – floating heads over contextualising setting image (which is more for an epic look than light-and-fun Georgette Heyer type stuff but still):–new-property-darwin-australia.jpg–serena–jennifer-lawrence-photos.jpg

    Still going to require good photoshop skills to make it look good, but it’s more achievable and possibly better.

  7. On another note, lack of people aside, this is a great photo for a calendar or something but not so good for a book cover (except maybe an actual travel guide). There’s a ton of variation of color, but not much variation of value–no large areas of light or dark–so there’s no place to put text where it won’t get obscured by the details of the picture. And the mansion itself is small enough (and again, not distinct enough in value) that prominent text will compete with it and it won’t be a very strong focal point.

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