Girls Write Out
Friday, June 27, 2008

I need your help!
My publisher wants to test two covers for Sweetwater Gap, my Women of Faith book releasing in January.

So, friends, which book would you buy? Honest opinions only, please, and if you wouldn't buy either, tell me that too.
Click on the cover to enlarge.















Denise Hunter  
posted at 1:58 PM  
  Comments (72)
 
 
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72 Comments:
At 2:11 PM, Blogger hotcoffeenow said...

I'd pick up the top one before I picked up the one in the bottom pic (girl and basket). The top one looks infinitely more interesting than the bottom one - IMO. And I totally judge a book by its cover. :)

cherylstrophe1

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I like the bottom one.

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger Ruth said...

I like the colors in the bottom one, but the design of the top one. How's that for not very helpful? LOL :)

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger desirae said...

The top one. I would pick that one up in a heartbeat and read the back to see if it interested me. I'm not so sure I would if it was the bottom cover. (found you guys from the aknowledgements section in Colleen Coble's book Anathema.

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger Megan DiMaria said...

I like the top one better. It has a sweet feeling of hope, and it looks like it promises good things.

The bottom one isn't bad, it just doesn't feel compelling to me.

A prisoner of hope,
Megan

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger Gracie said...

The second cover! The second cover! I know everyone is rooting for the first, and I loved it too -- until I saw the girl standing with her basket. It reminds me of your other book covers, with character images. The trees make me think more of Karen Kingsbury than you.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte said...

I definitely like the bottom one better. I'll read it either way, though! :)

 
At 3:05 PM, Blogger Malia Spencer said...

I like the bottom one. It just evokes a feeling of nostalgia for a simpler life that I can only dream about!

But I'd buy the book either way, just because it's yours. :)

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Jane said...

Definitely the bottom one! Probably wouldn't even pick up the first one lol - the one with the trees could just as easily double as a non-fic book for me.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger Amy said...

the bottom one for sure! :)

The top one looks very commonplace to me.

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Deborah Raney said...

This is SUCH a tough choice. They are both beautiful covers. But I think the bottom one is more compelling because of the woman. I love covers that show the character from behind so I can fill in the face and expressions.

Frankly, what would sell this book to me is the name "Denise Hunter" on the cover.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger LindaB said...

I like the bottom one. It gives a little clue about the character.

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Sally said...

I like the top one a lot better. I don't know if I'd pick it up if it was the bottom one...not sure why...I guess I like the girl in the distance better than her close up.

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger Tricia said...

I like the top one better.

I personally don't like a photo of the main character on the book, unless they are in the background or it is a caricature or cartoon (like Kristen's first Ashely books)

I get my own image of the characters based on the way the author describes them in the book, and somehow this almost never matches the front cover photo!

So I think if both were right next to each other on a table, I'd be more drawn to the top one.

Also i think clothes date a book. The story is the same great story 15 years down the road, but the clothes that are worn on the front tell me it's an old book.

Does that make since or am I just weird. Actually don't answer that! :o)

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

I'd go with the top one because the girl far away on the tire swing evokes images of a simpler time and nostalgia. I also tend to prefer that the main character NOT be pictured on the front so I can create my own mental images.

The depiction from behind isn't bad, though. :)

And like Deb said, the name "Denist Hunter" on the front is what would sell this to me!

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Hmm, 7 for the top and 8 for the bottom so far. How will you ever decide? LOL!

 
At 5:50 PM, Blogger Rachel Holliday said...

I like the top one the best. I agree with Tricia and Tiff about having pictures of the characters on the front. I will read it no matter which one you choose though. :)

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I like the bottom one. The top one reminds me of a book I read not too long ago (I didn't like it much!)

 
At 6:24 PM, Blogger Brittanie said...

I like the top one better. :)

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger Krista Phillips said...

WOW tough choice!!!

I like both, first of all.
I like the top picture better, but then I like the color in the bottom one. So I think the bottom.

Personally, I think colors play a big part in it, they make the book stand out to people and draw them, especially for women's fiction. There is an example, one I got at the library, that I told my husband I wouldn't ever buy in the store if I had just looked at it regardless of the author. It was drab and almost boyish to me.

So anyway, I always go for the more girly colorful covers (for example, convenient grooms cover was AWESOME!!)

Sorry you never get a simple answer out of me *grin* I agree with others though too, either way I would still buy this one!!

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Both covers are appealing, and I like the warm tones in each. I think I like the top one better, but since I don't know what the book's about, I'm not sure which would be the best fit.

I like for a cover to give me an impression about the tone of the book. The top one with the swing evokes fond nostalgic memories. The bottom one has a little something sadly sweet and perhaps contemplative, maybe in the way the woman is standing. I may be over-analyzing this one, but if I guessed the tone of the book correctly from either of those covers, then I would vote for the one that most accurately sets the mood and theme of the story.

Does that make sense? Sorry if I'm confusing. :)

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

Umm, what's the book about. The first cover doesn't grab me at all. I'd pass right over it. The second one is a bit more intriguing. I'd probably only pick either up though becuase you wrote the book, but the second is better than the first. IMHO. LOL

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I'm with Cara. I want to know what the back cover blurb, however the second cover grabs me. If I had to go just by the cover, the first one makes me think the story might be about a a mother and child. The second one stirs more interest in me. It's intriguing. So I guess my vote goes for #2. :D

 
At 9:46 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

top one.

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger Carole said...

Definitely the bottom one for me, hands down! I love the sharp lines, bright colors, fruit tree and basket, appearance of the girl. The only way I would pick up the first book is if I was familiar with and enjoyed the author, whereas I would pick up the second one irregardless.

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Wow, no shortage of opinions D. Personally, I'm not fond of either one. I think they lack the romance element that is so important and look too women's fictiony -- as in drama. I've got nothing against drama, but I just don't think the cover does your style justice. I think it aims for the wrong customer.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger MarySnyder-Joy Filled Life said...

Top one -- it feels very .... hmm, warm with a touch of yesterday. How's that for someone who didn't want to take the time to spell check nostaglia (and I still used the word, probably spelled wrong).

The bottom cover -- well, it feels farmy to me -- does that make sense? Unless this is a farmy book then you may want to stick with the bottom.

Seriously, I would pick up the top cover first, but I also agree with Kristin that both of these covers have a women's fiction feel and lack that romance book feel.
Just my 7 cents worth....

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

First one. The bottom one looks generic and the top one looks whimsical.

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I would choose the top because of the flying to the swing and carefree times.

You can feel the relaxation.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

The second one draws me in more and makes me curious about the character. The first one is more of a landscape and I don't connect emotionally with a human being, so it reminds me more of the cover to a Biblical devotional book or something. So, I'd go with the second one!! :)

 
At 12:51 AM, Blogger Becky said...

Both are beautiful, but I like the girl with the basket best. Something about it appeals to me and makes me want to read the back cover.

 
At 3:35 AM, Blogger Ellie said...

I like the top one. I enjoy the blurred and unfocused image of the grass at the bottom and the light through the trees. It invokes a sense of intrigue -- what IS it about. I also like the font (which is on both) of the title. But like a few others mentioned, once I know an author I do tend to pick based on the name, but if I didn't already enjoy your writing I would choose the top one!

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger boutcrazy said...

I work for a Christian publisher and we did a cover almost just like the top one for a devotional book (the tree and the colors). That's the first thing that I thought of. www.bhpublishinggroup.com has it on their home page.
So I like the second one. It made me realize that is was a fiction book and not a devotional at first glance.

Love your books, just finished Surrender Bay.

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger Ausjenny said...

to behonest I like them both but I favour the Top one.
i like the tire swing and the colours. it looks refreshing.
I did like the second one also but it didn't grab me quite as much.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

I like the first one. I like summery free feeling to it. It makes me think of a relaxed fun story. The bottom makes me think it must be about a girl and an apple orchard. That does not appeal to me. I have no clue if either though are even close to the story. The first one would at least make me read the back. The second one not so much.

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger Brenda said...

I love the second one. The top one looks generic to me, and I love it when there are actual people shown on covers. Also the colors are just more vivid, and it has a much more fiction-y feel to it. If I didn't know who wrote it, I'd never pick up the book just by the top cover - the bottom I probably would, though. Of course, I've enjoyed all of your books so I'll pick it up either way.

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger Katy McKenna said...

I like the second one. The road, to me, implies the path to romance. And I like the splash of color the fruit provides. Everyone's opinions are great to read!

Katy McKenna www.fallible.com

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Rebekah Sanders said...

I've seen a couple covers in the whole "tire swing" theme lately. Seems to be overdone recently. And I like the way the colors pop on the bottom one.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger WK said...

I'm not sure. The top one leads me to think the book is somehow about childhood or something. The bottom one makes me think of farming or picking apples and an adult. So I guess the real question is:what do you want readers to think when they see the cover?

Do you want them to think a story that spans many years/generations?
Do you want them to think a story about an adult somehow related to orchards?

I'd have to say after thinking about it'd I'd probably pick up the top cover book to see what the back says before I'd pick up the bottom one. It doesn't pull my interest enough to make me want to find out more about the book. And if the cover doesn't grab me, with all the books out, I'd likely think, cute cover and move on to another book.

So I vote for the top one.

hope I helped some,
WendyK
*BTW if you have not read ANATHEMA you need to! Today!!!!! It's awesome!*

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger hotcoffeenow said...

It's fun reading these observations! I guess the top one does look like a devotional. But I would never in a million years pick up the bottom one. :)

cheryl

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger allen said...

I don't think that either image lives up to the caliber of your writing. Your stories are so deep and layered with complex nuances...these covers don't quite do your style justice.

If I knew more about the story, I might have better input. Sorry.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Elle said...

The bottom one is nice but the first cover is just so sweet! It would absolutely capture my attention.

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Top one. Having no idea what the book is about, that's the one that draws me with the title. THe name Sweetwater Gap sounds like home and summertime and carefree days, and that's what the picture depicts.

I liked some aspects of the bottom one, but honestly, her boots bugged me. They just didn't match the image of the country lane and the basket of apples. Also the ties hanging down her arms. It's like they couldn't decide whether to make her modern or nostalgic. And I'd go with more red apples. The basketful is kinda bland with so much green added to the rest of the cover.

Nothing like asking a bunch of opinionated women, huh?! LOL

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Chelf said...

I don't really like either. Let me 'splain. I used to work for a print shop, and I had to watch for typos, and stare at pictures for hours while collating the books and newsletters we were producing. As one who is picky about fonts, and has stared at a lot of pictures...

I kinda liked the top one on first glance, but then I read everyone's opinions, and looked again (twice!) and I don't like it anymore. Too... bland. I know you write more colorfully than that.

I like the bold lines and colors of the bottom one, but it seems... harsh compared to the title. I say Sweetwater, and I think of a stream, and bigger softer-looking climbable trees, not an orchard. I like that we don't see her face, not because she isn't pretty or something, but because I want to build a picture of her in my own mind.

Any way to combine the two? Keep the bigger tree, keep the path, keep the woman, lose the tire swing (sweetwater gap-O!), keep the brighter colors. Put the woman a little bit farther away. Is there a point to where she is looking?

Also, the word Sweetwater needs to be a bit bigger, and the word Gap needs to be a bit smaller. They don't have to match, but Sweetwater gets lost in the tree on the top one. The GAP being so big better have something to do with the story, or I would be disappointed.

I don't like your name stacked, it looks better as one line. Sorry to the lady and her boots.

Not to stroke your ego too much, but I am with the rest, that I would buy it for the author's name, not the cover. (Even if I did just reconstruct it for you...)

I hope all our opinions are helping you! :-)

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Deena said...

#2, but I'd buy either, because it has your name on it:-)

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Heather Diane Tipton said...

Well, it depends on what the book is about. they both say women's fic to me. As far as women's fic goes I would pick the first one over the second.

AS much as I judge a book by it's cover I'll always turn it over to read the blurb.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Teri said...

I like both but if I was in a bookstore looking the 2nd one is more attractive

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger christa said...

Top one.

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger Kara S. said...

I'm not sure which I would choose. Like others have said, the top one seems to fit the words "Sweetwater Gap" better. It has a nostalgic feel to it, and I would probably pick the top one up first. But the back cover copy is what would make me buy the book.

I can't quite put my finger on what bugs me about the bottom one. As a designer who has created book covers and worked with photos before, I think the perspective is off on the bottom one. The woman is way too tall for the size of the apple tree. (I live on a farm with apple trees and they are much larger/taller than the one in the photo.) The woman seems like a giant compared to the tree. If she's on a hill looking down, the hill needs to be apparent. Some have mentioned the colors for the bottom one - I like the darker colors versus the muted ones on the top, but the color palette on the bottom one seems a little garish to me (but that's personal opinion).

 
At 12:06 AM, Blogger OK Chick said...

I'd pick the top one.

 
At 1:32 AM, Blogger Annie said...

WOW D! I have no idea! lol! I love them both, butthere's just something about the top one for me. The 2nd one is great and beautiful and i love the color, and the insight we get into your character, but I don't like whatever clothes she has on. HAHA. sorry, i know that sounds shallow, but if we're judging the book by its cover! I love how calming your covers can be and i definitely get a calming effect from the top cover. calming in a, "I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and read some of my new Denise novel" way,... not a "this book is too calming and might put me to sleep" way!! LOL... all good things! Love them both, and i would buy them both, but I do like the top one better.

Good luck deciding since i dont think we're helping you much!! :-)

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Sharon A. Lavy said...

This is so interesting. I would pass the top one by. It looks too sweet.

I have yet to read an Angela Hunt book but the second one would make me pick up the book and look at the back cover.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

That's DENISE Hunter, Sharon. LOL

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Bethanie said...

i like the bottom one best

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

I like the second cover better. Not crazy about the basket of apples, but the boots are cool--makes me think there's more to her than hanging out in an apple orchard :)

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

Well, buying would be based on doing a little sample reading, but I'd pick up the top one before the bottom. I cannot explain why....

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger AcresofHope said...

I like them both, but prefer the top one. I don't really like it much when covers of books have real people (versus character-ish). I like to form my own idea of what a character looks like physically, rather than already knowing from a book cover, if that makes sense.

I would buy either one of the options, though.

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

To help ya'll out here's the small blurb from christianbook.com, which at present is showing the second cover flip-flopped...

"Josephine doesn't want to return to North Carolina to help with the harvest, but her family insists. As she walks through the orchard, memories of the accident haunt her and she's determined to talk her family into selling. There's just one obstacle---Grady MacKenzie, the manager. Can she convince him---or will her heart overrule her?"


I like the first one better because I like the color scheme, but do agree the swing has been overdone as of late. Don't really care as much for the second one, and it doesn't seem to have quite the "depth" as the first.

I do like the woman with the basket, so maybe take the first cover's depth (and color scheme) and add a woman with a basket, possibly with her hand (the one not holding the basket) holding onto a branch or resting against the trunk of the tree.

 
At 3:43 AM, Blogger Karla Akins said...

Having just ridden my motorcycle through all kinds of gaps in the Smokey Mountains, my question is why there are no mountains on the cover? Does this take place in the mountains or Indiana (where I live)? And as others have said, I would read it because YOU wrote it and because it's about a gap. I love gap stories. :-)

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

I like the bottom one much better - the first one seems a little more childish than the bottom one - like the heroine of the story is very young (swings = childish, imho) - but I also like it when I can actually see the person the story is about in the cover as well.

(P.S. I DO still like swings :) )

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Laurien said...

The first cover is beautiful. I would buy that book simply because of its cover.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

WOW!!! I cannot believe all the opinions!

Thanks, everyone, so much for your input. You all are an opinionated bunch. :-)

You're welcome to keep weighing in if you want.

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Peg Brantley said...

I like the top one. I can dream my way into it much easier.

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Ruth said...

I must say, I like both covers, however, the top one reminds me of other books I have read, it doesn't exactly POP out to me. To me, the bottom cover is distinct and somewhat different than the norm. Even though there is a person more upclose, you can't even see her face. But, like others have said, if it says Denise Hunter on it I'd pick the book up anyway, despite what the cover looks like.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Angie said...

I like the bottom one. If I saw that book in a store I would pick it up to see what it was about..the top one I probably wouldn't.

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Anna Marie said...

Number 2!!!!!!!

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Christy said...

I would pick the top one!

BUT both are beautiful.

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Tina said...

I like the top one, Denise. It's the one I would personally buy. But to be honest, I think for a Women of Faith book, the second cover would sell better.

 
At 5:10 PM, Blogger clothedinjoyy said...

I LOVE the bottom one! The colors in it are amazing... my eyes are drawn to it more!

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

Wow, popular post!

I pick the girl with the basket.

You have had the best covers lately. Either one is a winner. Great cover art.

 
At 10:56 PM, Blogger Deborah Raney said...

Denise, did you ever tally up the votes? This was such an interesting discussion about covers and it seemed to me that the opinions were almost evenly divided! How will you ever decide! : )

I'd love to know the percentages of who chose which cover!

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger Beth said...

They are both interesting, but I would definately go for the first one.

You just feel like joining the person swinging!

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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