Hey, guys! It feels like it's been forever since we last hung out. I mean, so much has changed since then. For starters, I am now a published author. (Squee!) STRENGTH came out on March 7th and has hovered on the "Hot New Releases in Paranormal Romance" list ever since. 

(Unless it's been knocked off. In which case, I just jinxed myself...)

Anyway, I'm very grateful, and I know it's due to some of you, so thank you. :) Second, I should mention that the STRENGTH Tour is still going strong. Don't forget to enter the Featured Book of the Month giveaway, right here on NA Alley, for a chance to win some serious swag. ;)

Phew! Okay, news aside, I want to talk to you guys a little about covers today. A few weeks ago, we discussed them during #NALitChat, and there wasn't enough time for me to type up a proper answer. Everyone was abuzz, wanting to know the latest in NA cover trends. They were straining, trying to figure out which categorical aspects make the most visually appealing covers. Do you want to know my advice?

Don't focus on the category.

Here's why: Did you see the most read books on Goodreads' "new adult" shelf last week?



You could look at these five, note their success, and then scrutinize them for a pattern—but do you know what you'd really be doing? Studying a genre you may or may not even write in.

Have an NA fantasy? Please, for the love of all that is right in this literary world, don't wrap it in contemporary romance packaging. It's not going to appeal to the same market. Instead, have a look at the popular titles in your own genre. Go through your favorites, determine what draws you to them, and take notes.

Covers are all about love at first sight. If I connect with a cover, I'm going to investigate regardless of its category (YA, NA, adult, etc.) Those delightful details come later. Right now, you only have a few seconds to give me, the reader, a first impression—and it better match your story. ;)

Have a great week! ♥

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  1. Replies
    1. You're very welcome! Thank you for stopping by. :)

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  2. Truer words were never spoken! Great advice, Carrie! :)

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  3. Loved this, CB. (We're doing an entire #NALitChat on covers in two weeks, btw. So bring your knowledge, thoughts, and preferences to share there, everyone!)

    One lesson I learned from a recent blog tour is this: Covers can be a highly subjective thing. Different things appeal to different readers. And as you say, genre is HUGE in deciding what to go for--and be prepared for people's expectations for what they think a cover should or should not be to play a significant part in their scrutiny.

    Meaning: If a reader thinks all NA is contemporary romance (or should be), they may balk at a giant, scary werewolf or a crashing spaceship on the cover. They just might not 'get' the cover until after they've read your story. Which unfortunately translates to some people NOT reading your story--which is probably okay. The biggest sin, as Carrie states, is probably misleading the reader.

    Surprising them rocks, though. :D

    Bookmarking this for chat-link-slinging purposes. :)

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    1. Now I'm excited about a #NALItChat on covers! Totally agree to study your genre. In fact, when someone writes a paranormal NA, I always point out yours, Carrie.

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    2. Thanks, EJ! That sounds great. I know several of us design covers, so there will be a nice assortment of insights.

      Oh, you bet. Cover preference is highly subjective. Fortunately, we can study how other covers are received in our genres, and then learn from their successes (or failures). :)

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    3. I knew there was a reason I love you, Magan! <3

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  4. Carrie, you're right. If you connect with a cover, your gut instinct is usually pointing you in the right direction.

    I tend to like a clean cover, with not too much going on. The emotion in the photo is enough to pull you in.

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    1. Thank you, Faith! :) I agree. Gut instincts are not to be underestimated!

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  5. A great cover is going to grab my attention, regardless of genre. I don't read MG usually, but I've been known to pick one up with intriguing cover art.

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    1. Same here! For example, I love Peggy's cover for SKY JUMPERS. I'm going to be all over that when it comes out. :D

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  6. Congrats, Carrie! I came to this site after a friend turned me on to Strength. It sucked me in from page 1 and I loved it. Now that I see all the books recommended by this site I am going to read more. I had no idea this whole world was out there, I always liked young adult with a little more romance so it's perfect.

    I have two questions maybe to answer:

    1. When is your next book coming? Pretty please?
    2. Seems from looking around, there are a few NA books that should be categorized that way but were before their time. one of my favorites is Carrie Pilby which came out from Harlequin a few years ago as Young Adult but she's 19, out of college and gets into some interesting affairs. I think it's maybe the original NA before NA existed? Possibly also the Bell Jar from Sylvia Plath? It's really old but fits everything about NA except the romance isn't very erotic but she is definitely an innocent trying new things and confused in college, maybe a bit too literary.
    Anyway I think maybe you should have an entry about "NA books that were NA before NA wuz cool," what do you think?

    Well, that's all my questions. As you can guess I like to write too, I may have a book up my own "alley"!

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    1. Thank you so much, landlubber7! I appreciate that. :)

      1. I'm afraid I don't know yet. There are still quite a few things to line up first. In a couple of months, after my manuscript has gone through critique partners and beta readers, I'll query/submit to my publisher. If they like it and offer me another contract, we'll have to tack a few more months onto that. That will allow time for cover design, content edits, copy edits, promotion, etc. I'm really hoping the sequel will be out this year, though!

      2. Oh, that's a great idea! We'll all have to make a "would-be" NA list together sometime. :) Thank you!

      I hope so!

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  7. I definitely pick something up, no matter the genre, if the cover catches my eye. There does seem to be some trends with NA, which are quite nice to look at :)

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    1. You're right. There's nothing quite like an eye-catching cover, regardless of genre or category. :)

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  8. I definitely agree with Landlubber's comment above about Carrie Pilby.

    Also, regarding that other Carrie (Butler) and the cover comments, I will pick up a book with a great cover regardless of genre, and I wonder if some authors fear being pigeonholed with certain covers - but on the other hand the provocative covers can only get more people intrigued and then surprised when they open the book!!

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    1. That other Carrie thanks you for stopping by. *grins* Seriously, though. I love people like you. You make designing easier!

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  9. Thats great advice :) I take so much notice of the cover of a book its ridiculous! Would also be interested in finding out where people go to have such amazing covers designed :) I should probably go and do some research, but its a topic I would love to be involved in !

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    1. Thank you, Lorelle! I can't speak for anyone else, but I design my own covers. (And the covers of others!) It's really fun. :)

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