This summer while I was on vacation from writing, I managed to get the “spring cleaning” done on my old books that I’ve been wanting to tackle for a couple of years.
Just this week, I finally updated the book covers for my fantasy series.
Here are the original covers:
Here are the new covers:
I was never all that crazy about the original covers, but at the time I made them, I was in the middle of moving and had so many other things going on that I could not devote my full attention to the project. I loved the stories. (Still do.) I originally wrote these in the 1998-2004 time frame. I rewrote them in 2015 because the stories wouldn’t leave me alone. This was a 100% passion project. This series was never published with the mindset of making money. It was just about having them published because I loved them and wanted to see them out in the world (and especially on my Kindle).
But I was never thrilled with the covers. When the books came out, I figured I’d go back and give them better covers at some point. But then I got so caught up in writing romances. Yes, this fantasy series was my passion project, but my first love is romance. So I kept putting this series on the back burner. I did go back and add some spicy content last year (I think) to Royal Hearts and The Royal Pursuit because no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, the storytelling part of my brain kept telling me the stories weren’t complete until I added them. As soon as I added them, the stories finally felt done.
Now, I had no such compulsion to do that to The Royal Heiress, so I left that one alone. If I don’t think a story needs sex to make it complete, I don’t write it. I know that surprises a lot of people since I have sex in 95% of the stories I write, but once in a while, a storyline will come up that doesn’t need one.
I go with what is best for the story. I also vary how much spice to add to a book depending on what makes the story strongest. I never put anything into a story that’s filler. I only put in what makes it work. This doesn’t just go for sex. This goes for everything that makes its way into my books. Humor, drama, violence, action, any historical facts I learned while researching a topic to put in the book, etc. I write whatever is needed for each and every scene. I hate sagging middles. I like to get to the point. So only what enhances the story to some degree will make it into my books. I’ve tossed out quite a few scenes along the way because when I finished the first draft, I realized they weren’t necessary.
Anyway, while I was searching pre-made covers on The Book Cover Designer, I realized that the “writing to market” voice started to rear its ugly head. (Old habits are hard to break.) Instead of looking at covers that appealed to me (the person who wrote the books), I was thinking, “What will so-and-so think?” “Am I branding these books correctly?” “What about consistency?” I had to stop myself in my tracks and remind myself of two very important facts. 1. This series doesn’t sell at all so it really doesn’t matter what others think of the covers. 2. Who cares what others think? These are my books. I can use whatever covers I want to.
As a side note: I have always used covers I wanted for my romances. This is why I don’t have scantly clad women or men on my covers, even though most of my romances have sex in them. I don’t like the covers that look as if the characters are ready to hop into bed. Sure, they might be ready to hop into bed during the course of the story, but that doesn’t mean that’s their goal. Their goal is to have a happy marriage. Their goal is the happily ever after ending. And I find that is best portrayed by the kinds of covers I do. I love the tenderness of an embrace or smile. I love pretty flowers and brides. Sure, marriage involves sexual activity, but it’s foundation is in the emotional connection between the characters. That’s why I choose the covers I do.
Anyway, now I’m 100% satisfied with this fantasy series and can move on to other things.