Sunday, March 18, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words

Cover art is supposed to do the job, and we've talked about that on this blog.

But what happens when your cover art doesn't communicate what the author thinks it should communicate? Can you compensate? Should you?

Notice the caveat. I'm talking about what I think, and I concede that I may not be right. An aurora borealis and a naked couple rolling about in the sea does not communicate "alien romance" or even "survival romance" to me.

It probably says "Sex!" Maybe even "Fallible, unreliable, all-too-human sex!" given my title, which is actually a chess term for a "No-win situation" but not a lot of people realize that.

So, when I set off on a booksigning (drive-by) tour down I-75, I took my poster with me. If an author has a visual aid with her, I think she has a better shot at making an impression.

I felt a little self-conscious thrusting my custom poster under busy romance experts' noses, but even a picture of a naked man is more interesting than much else I can think of, and self-promotion is not a game for the shrinking violet.

On the left are scenes from my "novel trailer" (done by Edward Traxler) showing planets and spaceships (for space), a couple of aviation dogfights (action), parachutes and exploding stars (space and action), a naked man (ah, well, if you've got one, flaunt him), a conflagration.

On the right were jpgs given to me personally by Survivorman, who was my survival consultant to make sure I translated all my research into plausible action, and who also gave me some really cool survival tips... not to mention the cover quote. The slides show a conch, which is a handy container for boiling water on the campfire, a fishing technique using whittled sticks, a shelter.

In my opinion, if you are making a book trailer, you should consider what other uses you could make of custom artwork stills!

Signed copies of Insufficient Mating Material are at:


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
1932 Pavilion Way
Lexington, KY 40509


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
8029 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919


Barnes & Noble Booksellers
50 Barrett Pkwy Suite 1100
Marietta, GA 30066

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3625 Dallas Hwy SW
Marietta, GA 30064

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
2952 Cobb Pkwy
Atlanta, GA 30339


B.Dalton Booksellers
Regency Square Mall
9501 Arlington Expressway #250
Jacksonville, FL 32225

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
9282 Atlantic Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 3225

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
10280 Midtown Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32225

(Also, Barnes & Noble Booksellers

The Streets of Westchester
9455 Civic Centre Blvd
West Chester, OH 45069

see the Insufficient Mating Material video:

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL takes up where FORCED MATE ended, with Djetthro-Jason (Jethro-Jason) severely beaten, about to undergo surgery to change his face and identity before his shotgun wedding to the frivolous Princess Martia-Djulia (Marsha-Julia).

No one gives a thought to what Martia-Djulia might do when she realizes that it’s not her unsuitable lover, Commander Jason, but a stranger being frog-marched up the aisle to become her Mate.

Her surprising reaction sets off a firestorm of rumor… and rattles a murderer who thought he’d gotten away with an ancient crime.


A Tricky Experiment

“Maybe, sweetheart, we should have sex to prove to you that you can and will enjoy it.”
“I enjoyed it once. I am very happy with my memories. I don’t need you or your experiment to prove anything,” she said stiffly.
“Once?” He raised an eyebrow. His lips twitched. Too late, Martia-Djulia realized that she had just contradicted one of her earlier statements.
“The Aim of the Experiment is to discover whether or not we are sexually compatible,” Djetth said loftily. She suspected that he was amusing himself by parodying a formal checklist. “Method: to have mind-blowing recreational sex using positions and techniques that mitigate or avoid unfortunate consequences. Expected result--”
“What unfortunate consequences?”
“Insects in your hair?” he teased. “Sand in your baby box. A baby. Infection. Injury. Legal consummation of a Mating we might not want.”
His gaze flickered. Martia-Djulia had the impression that his list was deliberately ordered.
“Injury to whom?” she asked, ignoring the glossed over “baby.”
“I’ve wondered why you haven’t blasted me backward onto my butt since our Mating Day. I’ve certainly deserved it.”
“Yes you have!” she agreed heatedly.

ISBN 0-505-52711-1

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry


  1. I wonder if publishers simply aren't sure if Science Fiction Romance has been fully embraced by readers. Perhaps, they worry if it looks too sci-fi, women won't buy. If you authors consistantly turn out quality stories and your readership grows, I think cover art will evolve to accomadate. Linnea Sinclair had tremendous luck with the cover of GAMES OF COMMAND.

  2. Hi, Kimber An.

    You're definitely right about the cover for Games of Command, and I think Sue Grant had some great covers from Dorchester for her 2147 books.

    Best wishes,


  3. I enjoyed the book, Rowena, but from the cover alone I certainly wouldn't have guessed it was alien (or any kind of SF) romance. Same with ISLAND HEAT, which I read the same week. (On a plane trip, actually, a major reading opportunity.)