This is my response to Tyndale’s question about book covers and titles, series and ads. Tyndale Blog
OK- 🙂 This is fun.
First the covers.
I love covers that are serious, and that intrigue the eye, although I will overlook a poor cover for the book inside 😉 Tyndale has had some awesome covers. Avenged by Janice Cantore, for example.
If you go to GoodChristianbooks dot wordpress dot com, or FoundaChristianbyHisGrace dot blogspot dot com you will see some of my favorite upcoming books and covers. I like covers with faces on them, but that has to be done carefully.
The title: a good title like “The Justice Game” or “Damascus Countdown” or “The Ollie Chandler Collection” you don’t forget those titles!!!
What do I look for in a book? I look for a book that engages the big issues, makes me think, has characters that live and that come to stay in your mind forever. I look to make sure that the romance is part of a larger story, like it is in our lives, and subtle, not graphic. The Pacific Coast Justice series was perfect for that… Nick and Carly are in love with each other, and the romance is pure.
I look for hard themes tackled from a Biblical worldview. Examples of human depravity and sadness redeemed. There should be redemption, realistic redemption, and redemption only happens out of brokenness. I have seen a lot of amazon reviews where people are saying that a book that tackles hard issues is not Christian…because it has bad words or violence. Those things must be handled very carefully and never included for shock value, but those things exist and are part of our world. The Gospel shines out in deep darkness, so the darkness and the Light must be in the book.
That said, I don’t want long descriptions of brutality or creepy darkness that is supposed to give us a scare thrill. Sin is not to be a thrill.
Another thing, the book must be steeped in Biblical worldview. I can’t tell you how odd it is when an amazon reviewer complains that a book was Christian and that bothered them. Every author’s worldview comes out in their book. Their book is steeped in their beliefs. No amazon reviewers that I have seen have suggested that they put a “humanistic/relativistic” warning label on those books that exalt man and have no moral compass, yet I have read review after review suggesting a warning label, their words, on Christian books. Take that as a good sign, that it is clear where you come from, and then keep writing excellent books that prove that Christians do understand art. Use you art to communicate the Gospel, like you have been.
Series, I love series. I have always loved series! If an author can write a series, please do!!!!! If, however, an author doesn’t feel like the book can become a series then please don’t listen to my clamoring for one…. I don’t want you to try to write something you aren’t passionate about. A few years ago I tried to read a series of books — not from Tyndale! — and the author had lost their stride. The series felt like the author had been asked to do it. They had become more graphic and vulgar, and the writing was not what it had been. We had to stop reading. The next book they wrote is awesome, again. Maybe they just shouldn’t have tried the series.
Ads. The image grabs my eye and then the copy keeps it!
I love all the good books you publish here at Tyndale, and thank you for the honor of reviewing for you.