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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all... thanks in advance for all your help and advice.

I would like to redo the cover for my romantic erotica series (currently only two in it).

Some background on the story: a high school star football player is having an affair and is in love with one of his female teachers.

The question is, should I work on the current cover to make it better or choose a different picture?

Here's the current cover of the first story:



Here are some alternate pictures:

 

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Out of the ones you've posted, I like your original image the best. However, the fonts leave a lot to be desired, especially the block outlining. It more or less comes off as "made in paint in five minutes" which isn't as big of a deal in erotica, but can still turn a lot of people off from thinking the book itself is quality.

I'm wondering how your sales are? (If you don't mind me asking.) I ask because if they're not so hot, you might try picking an image that either focuses on the sexy football player or the sexy teacher (or both, if you can find it.) The image you have says sexy fun times, but nothing about the angle. I would never guess, even from the title, that it was a sports player or a teacher, and you may lose readers skimming through covers looking for something along those lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My sales have been really slow. My cover for the second story in the series is very inconsistent with the first. I'll add it here for reference. I'm hoping that a better cover will bring more sales. I had originally tried to find a pic with a older teen football player and wasn't able to find anything I liked, so I gave up on that angle.

Here's the cover of the 2nd. I know it needs a redo. I'll make it consistent with whatever is done with the 1st.

 

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From what I know a nice steamy image of a guy and a girl tends to be pretty standard for a heterosexual eRom. I wouldn't recommend the last two solo guy pictures so much, as hunky torsos are more often associated with gay erotica (since it's hard to find sexy M/M stock photos).

For the text I'd recommend keeping it simple if you're still working on those fancy photoshopping skills. One or two colours would probably work better than the mix of shades you've got at the moment. I think your second cover works a lot better in that regard, it's straightforward and to the point. :)

The photo you have now is fine - in fact it's great! Two sexy people showing lots of skin in an intimate position ticks all the right boxes for eRom.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah! :)

That the image is working is nice to hear.

I've got to say I like the clean look of the white text you're using on most of your covers. I might try that.

I use GIMP and yes, I am still very much a noob. There's a huge learning curve but I'm starting to get some of the very basic concepts of using it down.
 

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I agree that the second cover is a lot better. I think if you bold the white text instead of outlining it, it will be a lot easier to read. I'd also take out the "by" and just bold your name as well.

Lawd, I totally forgot about the bare chested men = M/M haha. Shows you how much attention I pay to rippling torsos.  :p
 

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Actually, based on the title and what little you've said about the story, I would not use the image you are currently, I'd go with the first alternate, the one with the young man on his knees pressed up against the woman's body.  It still very clearly advertises it as a hetero e-rom, the male figure could easily be considered a hunky young football player, but most importantly, the tone of that image fits your title and subject much better - both of which advertise an unbalanced power dynamic between an older woman and younger man.  The pose of that image puts the younger man at a lower level, which elevates the woman as the more experienced figure in the pair, and conveys the dynamic a little better.  With the original image there's nothing to suggest which is the student and which is the teacher, without the subtitle which can't be read at smaller sizes.  I don't have stats of course, but at a guess, I'd say erotica with a female student and a male teacher is actually more prevalent, so you're potentially losing out on readers who would like the dynamic you present, but see that first cover and just assume the male is the teacher, and thus the story isn't what they're after.  
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Kalen ODonnell said:
Actually, based on the title and what little you've said about the story, I would not use the image you are currently, I'd go with the first alternate, the one with the young man on his knees pressed up against the woman's body. It still very clearly advertises it as a hetero e-rom, the male figure could easily be considered a hunky young football player, but most importantly, the tone of that image fits your title and subject much better - both of which advertise an unbalanced power dynamic between an older woman and younger man. The pose of that image puts the younger man at a lower level, which elevates the woman as the more experienced figure in the pair, and conveys the dynamic a little better. With the original image there's nothing to suggest which is the student and which is the teacher, without the subtitle which can't be read at smaller sizes. I don't have stats of course, but at a guess, I'd say erotica with a female student and a male teacher is actually more prevalent, so you're potentially losing out on readers who would like the dynamic you present, but see that first cover and just assume the male is the teacher, and thus the story isn't what they're after.
Hmmm... that's a really interesting point about the viewer of the cover not knowing if the guy or the woman is the student from just the cover. I had not considered that.

As to the power play, they are actually pretty equal but in different ways. The guy is a bit of an alpha but the woman does a good job of pushing his buttons and pulling his strings. And, the guy has been sleeping his way through the high school student population - including some of the student aids. So, there's a pretty good chance he's had more partners than she has.

Any suggestions for how to letting the viewer know that the guy is the student? I'm thinking that the guy on his knees would convey that and even though they don't have a full I'm the teacher and I'm teaching you vibe going, he is the one who is more connected to his feelings for her. I think that image would convey his emotions for her better than just sex. Or am I projecting?
 

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No, I think even with that all (or even especially) the image with the guy on his knees fits the story better.  From what you're describing the affair wasn't initially intended to be more than superficial, so by virtue of the guy being the one who has the deeper feelings or who's going out on a limb more for her, having him kneeling against her like that kinda puts him in the position of the supplicant, like he's entreating her.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Kalen ODonnell said:
No, I think even with that all (or even especially) the image with the guy on his knees fits the story better. From what you're describing the affair wasn't initially intended to be more than superficial, so by virtue of the guy being the one who has the deeper feelings or who's going out on a limb more for her, having him kneeling against her like that kinda puts him in the position of the supplicant, like he's entreating her.
She threatens to end the relationship at the end of the first story and he has to do some back pedaling in terms of what he was pressuring her about. So, by the end of the story, it is very much her who is in control.

You are definitely swaying me toward the pic with the guy kneeling!
 

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Quick and dirty:



The woman tugging him toward her suggests a subtle hint of control in their relationship. The chalkboard background and collegiate text are also simple, easy ways you can add context to an image; they instantly bring to mind a university/scholastic setting.

On the other hand, if your story takes place more at the stadium than in the classroom, you might use a locker room background with the woman embracing a jock... or a half-naked couple wearing towels...

You get the idea. Hope this helps in some small way! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What do you use as a photo editor?  I use GIMP and haven't figured out how to do backgrounds yet.

I like your cover in that it yells "Fun!"  My story goes a bit more toward the emotional side versus naughty, light hearted fun, though.  But, I am super impressed at how you were able to capture all of the story elements in your cover!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay... so this is what I'm thinking. I'll use this pic (below) with the first story having a close up of the guy's head against the woman's stomach. With each of the stories in the series, I'll pull the image back a little to show more and more of the picture, sort of as a slow reveal. I'm thinking that will help to create a visual disparity between the covers as well as maintaining a continuity in the cover (and holding down costs).



Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Rayna Corday said:
Quick and dirty:



The woman tugging him toward her suggests a subtle hint of control in their relationship. The chalkboard background and collegiate text are also simple, easy ways you can add context to an image; they instantly bring to mind a university/scholastic setting.

On the other hand, if your story takes place more at the stadium than in the classroom, you might use a locker room background with the woman embracing a jock... or a half-naked couple wearing towels...

You get the idea. Hope this helps in some small way! :)
Rayna -- I love the font you used for Bad Grade. Do you remember what it was?
 

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Ada O'Flaherty said:
Rayna -- I love the font you used for Bad Grade. Do you remember what it was?
It's called SF Collegiate. Got it at font squirrel.

I use GIMP as well. I'm nowhere near an expert at it yet, but the software gets much easier with every cover completed.

Backgrounds are super easy to do. I learned from watching GIMP Tricks on YT.

This is her channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/GIMPtricks?feature=watch

Erotica author Aubrey Watt also does Gimp tutorials, and she's quite good as well:
http://www.youtube.com/user/AubreyWatt
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks!

I've seen Aubrey Watt's YT video on making a book cover and have used it as a step by step guide every time.

I will definitely check out the other video.    ;D

  ----

Oh Sweet!  I just checked out the YT channel.  Very nice!
 

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Rayna Corday said:
Quick and dirty:



The woman tugging him toward her suggests a subtle hint of control in their relationship. The chalkboard background and collegiate text are also simple, easy ways you can add context to an image; they instantly bring to mind a university/scholastic setting.

On the other hand, if your story takes place more at the stadium than in the classroom, you might use a locker room background with the woman embracing a jock... or a half-naked couple wearing towels...

You get the idea. Hope this helps in some small way! :)
My god, that's a GREAT cover, Rayna. If Ada doesn't want it call me! ;D ;D

All kidding aside, I'm looking at putting out some erotica under a pseudonym this year as a sort of an experiment. What sort of limits does Amazon/Kindle have with titles, cover design and the like. How far can you go??
 

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Steve Vernon said:
My god, that's a GREAT cover, Rayna. If Ada doesn't want it call me! ;D ;D

All kidding aside, I'm looking at putting out some erotica under a pseudonym this year as a sort of an experiment. What sort of limits does Amazon/Kindle have with titles, cover design and the like. How far can you go??
The best way to find out what's accepted is to browse titles similar to what you intent to publish.

Despite what they claim in the Content Guidlines, Amazon is surprisingly liberal when it comes to approved content. I have 22 books out now, and I've only been Blocked once (over a scene of "dubious consent" involving a concrete slab and some chains...) A quick rewrite of the scene and re-submission sorted it out, and it's up for sale.

Your covers are gonna be basic common sense stuff like: no, exposed nipples -though you might slip by with a hint of areola- No visible genitalia, no imagery of overt sadism, and no underage-looking models.

As for titles themselves, well... it's the Wild West. There are hundreds of books with the F-word right in the title. You needn't resort to lurid titles to make sales. But they don't hurt :b
 

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Rayna Corday said:
As for titles themselves, well... it's the Wild West. There are hundreds of books with the F-word right in the title. You needn't resort to lurid titles to make sales. But they don't hurt :b
That's the biggest bit of info I was looking for.

I wasn't planning on dropping the "F" bomb in the title - but I had a couple of titles in mind that I considered somewhat borderline.

I'll do my research - but thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Okay...  I did a revamp of my original cover using the original picture.  But, I then remembered I wouldn't be able to post it here because I don't have a way to get it online. I started taking a look at web hosting sites so that I could get it online but the options are feeling a bit overwhelming.

Would anyone be willing to put my new cover online and post it in this thread?  I could email it to you.

And, does anyone want to way in on web hosting options?  I want to have a dedicated web domain name without all the extra stuff attached.  In other words, I want it to read like www.namehere.com.  I want the page owner (me) to remain private.  And, I want the site to be user friendly since I'm not ubber techy savvy.  Oh ya.. and affordable.  Needs to be that, too.

 
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