Cover Design Misstep: Time to Change?


So, I recently had my cover design created, and I thought I was happy with it, but something was still kind of tugging at me every time I looked at it . . . but I ignored my feeling, because I already had the designer revise the cover eight times.

My dilemma in the creation of the cover was trying to marry romance and suspense. I felt that the book has such heavy issues (and with a name liked Silenced Memories)—how could I have a happy couple running through the wind on it (like one of the designs proposed to me)? I wanted to make sure the elements of suspense, etc. were evident.

Apparently, suspense is TOO obvious, because the romance aspect of the book has been lost. I uploaded my cover to various book cover rating websites (with the categories of both romance and suspense), and the feedback was, for the most part, negative. Thank goodness I found this out now and not after I release the book!

The main problem(s):

  • color of my name
  • font type for the title/size of title
  • too suspense-driven
  • does not read romance


I feel like I am always seeking help/advice on this blog, but I guess I am just hoping to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s before release date. And I value everyone’s opinions a lot. So, I have to figure out what I will do now. I doubt my designer will do another cover for free, but the extra expense is worth it if it means I am not going to alienate my target audience (romance readers).

I read several articles about how to know what category/genre your book falls into (especially when it crosses genre). I knew before writing my book that I was writing a Romance Suspense novel. The question that was popping into my mind was how to tailor my cover to fit both categories. After reading several posts about this, I discovered the answer to my dilemma (if only I asked this question before commissioning the work on my cover). My book should gear toward the romance market, despite the mystery/suspense within it.

If you have a second and you don’t mind, could you take a glance at the cover? I really want honest feedback, because my friends/family (of course) liked it a lot–but anonymous people online (not afraid to hurt my feelings) mostly hated it . . . .



24 thoughts on “Cover Design Misstep: Time to Change?

  1. The cover does not indicate what lies inside. What does the bottom picture of the highway and town have to do with the story? Are the couple in a park or woods? And why are they in the background? Whoever designs the cover needs to know precisely what the story is and who the characters are. Perhaps she or he could look at some romance-suspense novel covers and use those designs as a sort of template-blending of course the uniqueness of your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I sent samples of covers I liked, but I think I need to send some new ones. The bottom image is of the city it takes place in (which is relevant to the story)- but not necessarily needed on the cover 🙂 And they are on a street – but I don’t think that is evident. I think I just need a whole new cover! Thank you for your input!


  2. I think it could have went without the city at the bottom of the page. That is what is throwing me off. Of course, how would I know that the city isn’t a huge part of your story? That’s something only you know. But, the city does make me think modern…However, without it, I grasp that it deals with a romantic couple and the smokiness to the picture tells me that their romance isn’t smooth sailing…which is what you are going for: Suspenseful Romance
    *So, in my humble opinion…maybe remove the city if not a major component to your story. Then, add some sort of teaser (a taste of what’s bothering them) in the shadows. Just a thought.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I definitely don’t get the feeling that it’s romance, just based on the cover. I’m not really sure what the cityscape at the bottom has to do with it? It’s a bit off putting.

    I also agree the color and font of your name could be changed. The yellow isn’t very appealing on top of the cover and doesn’t stand out much. Although I think the font size and color of the actual title looks okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Allison. The city has significance, but funny thing is- the designer didn’t know that 🙂 – But I agree with you- I don’t see the need for the cityscape- esp when reader’s don’t know why it is relevant.


  4. To me (and I’m no graphic designer, so do take all this with a pinch of salt) the difference in the font sizes of ‘Silenced’ and ‘Memories’ doesn’t look quite right. I like the mix of images, but they don’t really strongly suggest romance (definitely more suspense). The font is clear to read, but it also doesn’t really indicate much of a romance element. The name colour is a tricky one. With a dark background you have to have a light font or it won’t stand out. I don’t dislike the yellow, but, if more knowledgeable folks on cover rating websites are giving it the thumbs down, maybe it’s not a good idea keeping it. To summarise, I do like the cover in general, but it may not necessarily gear your book to the right market. I hope that’s of some help.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’ve received a lot of good suggestions, but whatever you decide to do, the important thing to know is that because this is Art, you’ll never get it to be “perfect.” Art is too subjective for that, so worrying about getting jots and tittles “right” is an exercise in futility. If the story is good, the cover won’t “alienate” anybody: this is proved by the poor covers found on best-selling traditionally-published novels.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. i do like the color, but would somehow minimize or eliminate the cityscape at the bottom and make both words in the title, the same size. just my observation, you know the luck you’re going for, but thought i’d give you my two cents worth) beth

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Beth. I am really struggling with using a traditional/fairy tale romance cover (or shirtless male) because I feel like that contradicts my story. But too dark and I might scare people off- ahh- what to do!! :/

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmmmm. Move them towards the background and put something in their way?
    I love how your name is at the top instead of the bottom of the cover! 😀 Unique!
    I do agree with the city. If the city is key, have them somewhere within or I like the sunset idea as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I would get rid of the city and centre the couple, and then use a more flowing romantic font for the title and your name a bit bigger and not so close to the title. It’s a lovely moody image though. Good luck with the launch! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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