Guys, seriously, I’m sure you know it takes a lot of guts to put your work out there and ask for comments. So maybe we should treat misticwolf’s thread with a bit more respect and take it kinda seriously. I don’t think we want to give anyone the impression we’re making fun of him/her or his/her work. I’m sure that wasn’t the intent, but geez, let’s keep in mind that stuff like “ooo, look what I did…” can be taken the wrong way pretty easily.
To that end, if he/she is still interested, I’d make a few other recommendations in light of the info you posted:
Seems pretty clear that the target audience is teenage (or younger) girls who like to read. Maybe in the 12-14 year old range or something like that. Not sure there would be many boys interested in a romance like that. So that makes the target very specific, which is nice.
Next step if you’re a publisher or anyone in the commercial field is to do a little market research. I think it’s safe to say that the only people competent to judge the content, composition, style, etc. that would attract girls that age are, well, girls that age. I sure as hell wouldn’t work off my own knowledge, and I’m sure that’s the case for most of us.
But that doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. Really, all you want to know is what type of book cover would attract a girl that age to buy it. My first step would be a little internet searching. I’m sure there is some market research out there that might help. Favorite colors, traits like short attention span, affected by peer pressure, stuff like that. It all helps in deciding what might catch their eye.
And then I’d stop by a local book store and browse the shelves that had similar types of books. See what those publishers who really could afford expensive market research learned. What colors they use, what’s the content of the cover, what styles are used, how are the elements composed, what fonts are in vogue, etc.
And while you’re there you might even ask the clerk which of those books are popular, and pay special attention to those covers. And maybe ask a young girl who might be browsing.
Once you have that information, then you can start designing your cover. And the total cost of that research is not much more than a trip to the mall, which you probably had to do anyway.