I suppose I fall into the second category! The longer I self-publish, the more I realize just how important cover design is.
Coming up with ideas for my covers, mocking up the design on www.canva.com and sending them on to my designer is easily one of my favorite parts of the self publishing process. However, I have discovered that my choice in cover design has been determined by what I like, and not necessarily what the audience who reads my books is looking for.
My historical romance novels are a case in point.
Although they are more historically-based than traditional historical romances, they are still romances. It's the love story that drives the plot forward. My current (soon to be old!) covers are much more 'historical' rather than romance. I'm not sitting here wringing my hands over it—as lovers of historical fiction have also enjoyed my books—but I sense a lot of historical romance readers are glossing over my covers on the virtual bookshelves of Amazon and Goodreads because they don't scream romance.
That said, here are my new covers for THE KINGDOM OF MERCIA series:
Here are my old covers. I like them—they're soft and romantic in their own way—but there's not a lot of sensuality in them.
Are you a historical romance fan—but like your romance with a good dose of realism and historical fact?