Friday, August 27, 2010

Cover Critique: HeartMate

Let me preface this post by saying that my design critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts stemming from my design experience.


That's really the only thought that came to mind when I first saw this cover. As you can see, I'm going back a few years and critiquing the original cover for HeartMate because there's just too much good stuff here for me to bring to your attention.

First, this is a story of one man's search for his HeartMate (aka true love), and really what search is complete without the companionship of your trusty feline friend? And one with a thyroid problem no less. Sexy men are definitely made sexier by the presence of an overweight cat (is it me or does that collar seem to be choking him and making his head swell to an unnatural size?). If there were two men before me, one with a pudgy feline and one without, I most certainly would choose the one with the affinity for (please insert a more vulgar name for a cat here), er, kitties.

I have to compliment our friend here on his accessories. Check out that necklace! Rappers everywhere would be extremely proud, just as our cover model should be that he was ahead of his time. He also has a mighty fine sword (given that this is a paranormal romance, I will try and restrain myself from making inappropriate anatomy comparisons at this time). I'm guessing it's a sword, though it seems to have a rather blunt end, so perhaps he won't so much poke people with it (ha!) as beat them with it.

And ladies, let's not forget to take a good long look at the feathered brilliance that is his hair. Puffy and silky smooth, just how I like it. I know it's a shadow from his collared shirt, but it almost looks like he has some chest hair attempting to escape his inevitably toned pecs and crawl up his neck. Glorious.

The pinks and purples that make up the background really add to his masculine vibe. Testosterone just oozes from this sword-hefting, puffy-shirt wearing, feline-loving, mullet-sporting god among men. I'm guessing the allusion to space with the moon and stars in the background is meant to convey to us that his lovin' will be "out of this world", and we need to read immediately to be privy to his no-doubt magnificent bedroom abilities.

Though this cover is beyond marvelous, it has since been updated:

From a design perspective, there's no comparison, this latter version is far superior. However, the original cover is so spectacularly ridiculous that I would almost buy the first version as a conversation starter.

What do you guys think?


  1. LOL Since I read this one I understand the kitty cat and, urrr, extra big sword. But the cover reminds me of the old Xanadu posters. Great, now that song in in my head. :( Cheesy 80s all the way.
    2nd one is much better.

  2. I agree - the second cover is so much better.

    I hate to say it - but I probably would not have picked up the book based on the first cover - it is too cheesy. I know we are not supposed to judge a book by it's cover...but sometimes it just happens. LOL


  3. The first one is awesome!! LOL I love the cat. The guy makes me think of Wayne Newton.

  4. I think it definitely shows the differences in time :) I went to half-price books and picked up a bunch of 80's Native American Romances and some of the covers are borderline funny. Though, it was popular in the 80's to have the sometimes cartoonish drawn cover if not using a cover model. Thankfully most of them did use cover models :)

  5. I cannot comment as I cannot stop laughing....
    Oh My God, you just made my morning =)

  6. Heart Mate is embarrassing to look at. lol So Corny!

  7. Haha, you're hilarious! But I agree - the first cover is absolutely hideous. Just ew.

  8. LOL. Thanks folks. I will say that at the time it didn't seem as bad as it is now.

    As for design elements, I have a little note I can add. You can see that the book is branded "Magical Love" that was the line it was purchased for. I'm not sure how long the line continued after that but I was told that the "magical element", that is the necklace (which is in the book, and, well, so is the sword), had to be in the center of the cover. Thus T'Ash had to wear it, which he doesn't in the book because he is such a manly man.

    In re: the cat. The artist had trouble with my Maddox (Zanth in the book). His ears were flat due to so many infections when he was feral, and his head, when I met him, was nearly perfectly round. I've learned this can be a mark of an unfixed male.

    Yes, I like the 2nd version much better, but since my editor and I brainstormed on jewelry and the art dept. did "gangs" I laughed and laughed when I saw it. Then I wondered what to do about the rather strange tatt. Since it is a reissue, the tatt is NOT in the book. So, since I'd already posted an interview with T'Ash, I went and did another one about the tatt. "T'Ash, tell me about your tatt." "Heh, heh, heh, you don't know everything about me, do you?"

    It's on my WORLDS page.

    Thanks for letting me ramble, I LOVE talking about covers, and I have stories for each one of mine...


  9. Wow that is a truly terrible cover! The second is a vast improvement!!!!

  10. The first book cover is definitely a coffee table book! I almost feel bad for the first book cover. It kind of feels like the second beat him up. But it doesn't appear as if he stole his bling, bling, so I guess that is good.

    IDKW, but the cover model immediately reminded me of actor, Carlos Ponce.