How do you figure out what you want?

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c.m.n.

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I'm debating on making my own covers, and I'm not sure what to base my covers on. I write epic fantasy romance, but am not a particular fan of the "buff" bodies a lot of erotic romance covers have. Although they "sell", I'd really rather choose something else.

Truthfully, I prefer digitally drawn covers, but I cannot afford an artist now.

So, how do you figure out what you want for your cover art, whether on a cover art form provided by the publisher, or self-made? Do you take ideas from scenes in your books? Or is it more important to use general representations of your character(s) based on the genre (i.e.: romance = "buff" bodies)? Or both?
 

Polenth

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I look at covers in my genre, think about the tone I want it to have, and consider what I'm capable of doing. I'm not a photorealistic oil painter, for example, so I wouldn't have a cover like that. Getting stock photography that looks like my characters isn't happening, so that's never been much of an option for me. I can draw and take photographs, meaning object covers and illustration are more sensible.

In your case, there's a lot of variation within romance covers. A sweet romance isn't going to have the same tone as an erotic romance. A contemporary and a fantasy book will be presented differently. You need to look in more depth than romance having shirtless men. Some romance books do, but that doesn't mean it'll match the genre and tone of your book.

Don't neglect the font choice and placement. Of the covers posted for critique here, that's often the weakness part.
 
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