Do You Judge Lesbian Fiction by Its Cover? by Catherine Lane (Plus a FREE ebook!)

Congrats to Teresa D! She won an e-book copy of Heartwood!

Check it out! My friend Catherine Lane stopped by to tell us about her newest release from Ylva Publishing, Heartwood. Woo!

She’s also giving away a free e-book copy. Drop a comment into the space below to enter the drawing!

Good Luck!


Do You Judge Lesbian Fiction by Its Cover
by Catherine Lane

So everyone’s heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover, and before I started publishing, I believed that too. Or at least you certainly shouldn’t. But now that I’m three covers into my writing career, I can tell you it’s not true at all.

A good cover can change the story or at least the way readers see the story before they begin to read it—and I need to think about it more, but I am pretty much convinced that’s the same thing. Ylva Publishing is great for so many reasons. One of them is how they encourage author input for the covers. And because of that, there were a bunch of covers and different reader experiences for my latest lesbian romance, Heartwood.

The first draft cover was terrible. I’m so glad that only my editor and I saw it. In theory I had a great idea. A pivotal scene from the book where two lovers, Beth and Dawn, find themselves on the bank of the Tall Tree River just moments away from the kind of kiss that changes lives. In reality this cover, when it was done, looked hokey and almost comical. And so, thankfully, Ylva let us start again.

Here’s what we eventually came up with.

cover_Heartwood-by-Catherine-Lane_500x800

Pretty good, huh?

Okay, full disclosure. This was draft four or five. Before there was a clunky table right in the foreground that weighed everything down. There was grass growing high under the bench. Probably much more realistic, but for some reason, it bothered me horribly. The woman on the right was in a yellow sweater, and both the women faded into the background. Then Sandra Gerth, my amazing editor, suggested red for the sweater and the title, and we were there!

I know I’m biased, but I love this cover. I love the way that the doors open up and invite the reader into the relationship. The way the curtains blow in the wind suggesting that the moment is real and alive. I love the sunshine beaming through the trees hinting at the HEA (happily ever after). And for me, at least, this cover evokes the feelings I had when I was writing Heartwood.

All I can say now is that I hope you can judge a book by its cover!

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66 thoughts on “Do You Judge Lesbian Fiction by Its Cover? by Catherine Lane (Plus a FREE ebook!)

  1. As an indie, I really struggle with covers so I know what you went through first hand. Most of mine go through several iterations before they’re ‘finalized’ and recently I had 5 of my 10 reworked at least slightly to be more professional (they were all done by a family member trying to break into a graphic arts career). I love how the cover for ‘Heartwood’ turned out and I appreciate you telling the story behind it. Thank you!

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  2. The cover looks great. I always look at the cover and also the back of the book to see if the characters are interesting based on how the author describes them.

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  3. Nice Cover.

    Being a graphic artist, I always give a critical eye to book covers. Fonts, letter kerning, colors, graphics, and overall composition are things I always look at. However, the cover, even if it is horrible, will not be a deciding factor in whether I read a book or not. I don’t think the author’s writing and the story line have anything to do with the quality of the cover. The synopsis is all that matters to me.

    Now, my wife, she’s one who will not even consider reading a book if she hates the cover. I just think that’s silly.

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  4. I have to agree that a book’s cover is the first impression to a consumer. I have seen book covers where a person is drawn as a cartoon, such as in the Ylva publication Good Enough To Eat which I think is very cute, but when an artist attempts to draw a real person and their depiction is so completely “off” I often think to myself that a photo would have been much better.

    And speaking of photos, one thing that I have noticed on a few book covers is that the photo doesn’t accurately depict a character’s appearance in the story. I read one story where the two women had short hair but one was depicted on the book’s cover as having long hair. This in my opinion is not “a big deal” but it’s one of those things that is noticed.

    An example of great book covers is author Jae from Ylva Publishing. Her covers really depict what the story is about, especially in her Oregon series.
    Catherine Lane’s cover for Heartwood is also appealing to the eye with the flowing curtain and the lush green of the outdoors which results in a very attractive book cover and peaks my interest in reading the story.

    Good luck with your new book Catherine.

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes. Jae does have wonderful covers, and it’s no coincidence that mine is pretty good too, since Jae was my editor on Heartwood. She also suggested making the two women smaller and pushing them into the center of the window. Great call.

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  5. A cover sometimes influences me when buying a book, so it is interesting to see the process you went through for Heartwood. I already have put your book on my to buy list as I saw the cover a couple of weeks and liked it. 😊

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  6. I have to admit I do judge a book by its cover, even ebooks. A good cover will grab my attention and pique my interest. The cover to your novel is beautiful and definitely makes me want to read the book!

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  7. Beautiful and eye catching cover; congratulations on the publication of your new book. The cover alone has me curious about the story within.

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  8. Love this cover. Whilst I would still be looking forward to reading your book, having an absolutely beautiful cover to look at is an extra bonus.

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  9. I really like the cover. I love the doors opening. It speaks to me of possibilities. Covers do have a visceral impact and can make or break a book (I think). Looking forward to reading yours!!

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  10. I love this cover! I have long been drawn to the covers of books. And most definitely they play a part on whether to read the book or not. And this book is definitely a book I would be drawn to read.

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  11. I like this cover, it would make me definitely stop and look at it if I were scrolling through titles at Amazon! I do get caught sometimes as I pause on a cover I like and then check out the book.

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  12. Great cover. I think that a good cover adds to the book. Most people are ‘visual’ people. The cover will catch the eye of a browsing customer. However, a book’s author often is whatdraws my attention.

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  13. I am a definite visual person so the first important aspect of a book is the cover. I love looking at them, even eBook ones and imagine that most cause their authors some angst. To hear about your trials and tribulations is a real treat and so thank you for the insight into the cover for Heartwood, I enjoy looking at it and knowing some of the story behind it makes the book more appealing.
    With so many books being released now, authors and publishers need some thing to grab and maintain a reader’s attention long enough for them to buy and read a certain book. This process in my opinion starts with the cover. For me, I like colourful, eye-catching pictures.

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  14. Some covers are just horrendous, yours isn’t one of them BTW. I’m glad that I read on an iPad.
    Lucky I buy some authors books by name or I wouldn’t have otherwise.

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  15. For the most part, I don’t look at covers. Probably because I buy mainly E-books. Having said that, I do appreciate a kick ass cover. And, it can make a difference. I have seen some really horrible covers, and I am more hesitant to give the author a chance if I’m not familiar with their work. Thumbs up on your cover!

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  16. A book cover can draw me in. We do after all eat with our eyes, don’t you agree? When browsing in a physical bookstore I have often spotted a cover that made me pick the book up and read the blurb. I have often found the best books that way and if at times, the writing did not move me, at least I gave the book a try. Now if I find the cover unappealing then I will ignore it and read the blurb, read the first few lines and then decide of this is a book I want.

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  17. I like the cover! I am definitely a judge of books by the cover. I do eventually take the reviews into the equation and read books with covers I am not drawn to

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      1. The blurb is more important, but I do take the reviews into account! Of course the cover gets me to look at the blurb.

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  18. Hmmm, asked and thought about book covers before … and the answer is yes/no, I guess. I look for authors I know, read the blurbs, reviews …. covers? … well, I appreciate good ones (Jove Belle’s are good examples), I like them to have something to do with the story but I know they are often just “attention” grabbers …. If I don’t know the author, then it’s title, cover, blurb … what the story is about takes priority to covers. I’m sure I couldn’t tell you what was on the covers of all of my Favorite books or author’s without some serious thought. So, like me, no simple answer or direct line for “judging a book” by it’s cover … somewhat? Maybe? Your blurb and cover, to a lesser degree, have me interested … 🙂

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  19. I love your cover. It is an important part of the book. I know I always look at the label on the wine before I buy it. Same basic concept!

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  20. I love the book cover. I look at covers til i see one I like. Then I read the synopsis. If I like the sound of the story and characters then I’ll read the book.

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  21. I do appreciate an attractive cover. Like this one :). Allthough less important in the eBook age a good cover still catches my eye. If I truly like a book I’ve been known to be patient enough to wait for the print version to arrive from Germany or the US. (O.a. The Alsea Chronicles by Fletcher deLancey, several books by JD Glass). Yours definitely is on my to-buy-list now :))

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