My novel is called "Heart Shaped Rock." The main character is a 16 year old, blonde teenaged girl named Shaynee. She's a singer songwriter but since her mom died of cancer six months ago, she hasn't touched her guitar once. She lives in San Diego by the beach. On a walk on the beach, at the "rock bottom" portion of her emotional state in the book, she finds a smooth, gray beach rock among many others in the perfect shape of a heart. She relates to this as a symbol of her own heart -- hard and unfeeling and made of stone since Mom died. She goes home with the rock and finally writes her first song since Mom's death: Heart Shaped Rock. I am a songwriter and have already written and recorded the song, so if the lyrics are helpful let me know. The story is about this girl's healing and redemption, and reconnection with her remaining family and herself, but there is a very strong romantic element here (of course!). The love interest is a 17 year old who plays in a rock band, hence the play on the word "rock" because both teens are musicians, and so was the deceased mom. This all sounds cheesy and formulaic I realize, but the main character's voice (Shaynee) is very funny, snarky, raw and intelligent. Definitely not Disney Teen Queen.
There are no rainbows and unicorns here. I am typically drawn to book covers without people on them, like John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and many of Sarah Dessen's books. I like Rainbow Rowell's aesthetic very much, but her cartoonish designs don't work for my book because of the very serious subject matter. If you look Young Adult fiction with romantic elements, there are many many books with a photo of the heroine on them. I am not opposed to this idea, but it would have to be very tasteful and not evocative of cheese ball romance novels. In fact, I do like two romance covers very much that I've seen: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Greaves and Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan. I am torn as to whether to do something simple with the heart shaped rock on the cover, perhaps on a colored background or on the sand or amongst its normal-shaped cousins with the heroine off in the distance (a la On the Island by Tracy Garvis Greaves), or perhaps playing her guitar? At any rate, this is not a traditionally girly cover with pinks and purples and frills geared to Disney fans, please. I am drawn to blues and greens and beach colors, but if you go with pure graphics, I am open to yellows and greens, too. Also the heroine is blonde and has freckles and wears yellow. The hero sings a song to her called Girl in Yellow. The hero has cobalt blue eyes and rides a motorcycle and has dark hair, though I am not sure he would be on the cover.
This book is about the girl above all. I actually have a heart shaped rock I found on the beach and a picture of several more I found but did not take with me. This is a long way to say, I need help. I usually love the more abstract covers but I am open to a person being on the cover, or a half of her, or from a distance, or not in focus in the background. I have no desire for this book to look like a traditional romance novel in any way. I am very open to you being creative. What I need is the design for an ebook to start. Possibility to expand the design for print book.