Sunday, January 25, 2015

Selecting a Cover

One of the most rewarding–and most stressful–parts of having a book published is approving a cover design. Covers are one of the most important parts of any book, especially in this digital age. Your cover design is the size of a thumbnail, and it's all you have to make a reader stop, look, and read your most important element–the blurb. Then, and only then, will a person make the decision to buy your book. So while covers won't necessarily sell copies, it can make people stop and read about your book, and maybe buy it.

This time, my historic romance takes place not in New York, but in the wild country west of the Mississippi in 1860. So, I got to include something I haven't been able to before–a horse!

I was so excited about the opportunity, I've been gathering pictures of wild horses for months now. The story, Expressly Yours, Samantha, is about two people involved in the new Pony Express, which began in April, 1860.

But a horse is not enough to stop a reader in her tracks and read the book blurb. I needed something more. My publisher wanted it to evoke the idea of romance, since that's what I write, but I had a problem with all the lovely women who were nuzzling horses. They were too pretty.

What, you say? How can someone be too pretty? Isn't the idea of a cover to make a person stop and look? And wouldn't they be drawn to a pretty face, rather than a not-so-pretty one?

I get where the designers were coming from. But the heroine is passing herself off as a boy at the start  of the book, on the run from an abusive uncle. So a beautiful ingenue with a wide smile just didn't work. I wanted a haunted face, one that could realistically be mistaken for a boy, with the right haircut. And I wanted her standing against a horse.

I have to admit, the designers did it. I can't show the cover off yet, but it works. I'm glad they took the time to make it right. Will I miss a few readers because there's not a pretty face on the cover? Possibly. But if they take a moment to look into the haunted eyes of my heroine, they'll hopefully be intrigued enough to read the blurb. And maybe buy the book.

Expressly Yours, Samantha, will be released March 16. Stay tuned.


  1. Yes, it's crucial to get that appropriate but eye-catching cover. Really, really hard to get the flavour of your book on that cover.

    1. There's a real science to it, just as there is a science to writing a blurb. It's what sells the books, so we have to get it right. But it's so hard to do.

  2. Can't wait to see it. There's a fine line between what you want to portray and what sells. I'm sure they did a fine job, they did with the others.nI haven't had that problem yet.

  3. Hi Becky! You're right, the cover has to do a lot, but you sound like you gave the right input to get the perfect cover for Samantha's story. Can't wait!

  4. Thank you, Barb and Miranda. Fingers crossed that it's eye-catching enough to stop some people long enough to read the blurb. We'll see.