Why Do American Novels have Different Covers in the UK?

Elizabeth Camden The Book World 2 Comments

Good question! Although sometimes books will have the same cover overseas, the foreign publisher will often believe their audience will not be as receptive to the American branding. American covers tend to have a slightly more commercial feel, while British covers will be a little more understated. The graphic designer of a book cover is trying to convey the essence of the book, and people in different parts of the world will perceive that message in diverse ways.

British novels are slightly less likely to feature a character on the cover. Darren Nash, a British editor at Orbit Books, says that the UK audience is not as open to having preconceived images of what a character should look like. They are far more likely to convey the tone of the book by portraying landscapes or architecture.

Most of the covers look very different, but do a good job of capturing the mood and genre of the book.  Being able to identify a book at a glance as a romance or sci-fi or mystery is a Big Deal.  Sometimes I like the British version better, sometimes the American.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at a few covers:

I lean toward the UK version for Redeeming Love.  This is one of my favorite novels of all time, and I’ve always thought the American cover as terribly frumpy for such a dazzling, turbulent novel.

This one is a draw for me.  Both classy, both nice.

Leaning toward the US version on this one, even though I think the UK version captures the spirit of the book better (the is a maninstream romance in which the heroine is terribly shy and overwhelmed by a darkly dangerous hero.)

Leaning toward the US version again…..maybe because the artist is appealing to my American sensibility?

Oh my…..beauty and the beast.  Best not to comment on this one!


The Big Scenes in a Novel

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance 1 Comment

One of the first things I do in dreaming up a novel is think about how to write Big Scenes… those dramatic, sprawling scenes that put the lead characters through the wringer. I want the characters to be plunged into terrible situations when their backs are against the wall, and they must claw, shout, and scrape their way out of it. Making my characters suffer through such scenes makes the inevitable happy resolution that much sweeter because they have earned it.

Oftentimes, before I even know who the lead characters will be, I envision a couple of those huge, teeth-gnashing scenes, then draft a story that will lead to them:

• A heroine finds herself stranded in an isolated, snow-bound gothic mansion with a madman (Against the Tide)

• A hero watches his home burn to the ground, believing the woman he loves is responsible (The Lady of Bolton Hill)

• A courageous physician walks toward almost certain death, begging the woman he loves to wait for him, while she insists that he stay (my manuscript in progress…due next year!)

Here is a clip from The Last of the Mohicans that embodies the back-against-the wall, nothing-left-to-lose Big Scene. The hero and heroine have been cornered, and only the hero has a chance of survival….Cora pleads with Hawkeye to save himself. The good parts of this scene are at .30 through 1.30 seconds: