Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cover Story

Many readers believe authors choose their own book covers, but that happens only when the books are self-published. The freedom to make such design decisions is one reason so many writers are drawn to self-publishing. When we go the traditional route, selling our work to print publishers, we might be asked for our opinion or we might be kept out of the cover process entirely. Either way, the publisher makes the final choice. Sometimes we're happy with that choice. Sometimes we're not. Here are the Deadly Daughters' book jackets, with our cover stories.If you're intrigued by what you see, we hope you'll add some of our books to your summer reading list.

Elizabeth Zelvin


Here are the covers of the three hardcovers in my mystery series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler. David Rotstein, the brilliant art director at St. Martin's, designed the first two, and yes, they really took a gun and shot the glass. I took the picture on the third myself, bringing a bloody hand I'd bought online to a beach in the Hamptons. Following them: The first two covers in an e-book edition of the series, to include all three novels and a newly published novella. The e-book covers all carry out a single theme and were designed to look good as images the size of a postage stamp.

Julia Buckley


I love all of my covers!  The first one, THE DARK BACKWARD, was designed by the artists at Midnight Ink and remains one of my most stylish book covers. The next three are my Madeline Mann mystery trio, and they were all designed by Kelly Banos, a talented graphic artist.

THE GHOSTS OF LOVELY WOMEN was designed by Ivan Diaz, a Chicago artist and director.  COUNTERPLAY, a romantic suspense novel, was also designed by Kelly Banos.  And GINEVRA BOND, my YA novel, was designed by me!  And my niece Katie agreed to pose for the cover.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that ALL of the above books are available on Kindle.  : )

Sheila Connolly

I've been extraordinarily lucky with the covers I've been given, and the designers (most of whom I can't identify--my apologies to those talented people) have even occasionally listened to my comments! Here's the last year's worth:

I'm sure you can tell immediately which ones are not a cozy! (Rising of the Moon is a short story, An Open Book is a longish short story, and Once She Knew and Relatively Dead are a standalone ebooks.)

Jeri Westerson

I adore my covers. St. Martin's started out with a generic historical novel sort of cover that no one at the publisher seemed to like. They "ran out of time" was the excuse. So the hardcover looked like this:

But after a kurfuffle with the paperback people at Griffin (the folks who do the St. Martin's paperbacks), and who hated the cover and wouldn't do a paperback unless the art was changed, the ball got rolling and I was actually consulted (since that often doesn't happen for midlist authors. You are presented with a cover, and good luck to you on this most important of ventures). I said that since the stories are so character-centered on my ex-knight turned detective, that the cover should at least show him, perhaps shadowy, in a medieval London setting. So they hired photographer Steve Gardner, found a suitable model, put him in the right costume (colors and all!), shot him in various poses, and Photoshopped him into various medieval backgrounds. They've been using them ever since and they are killer!

I can only hope when Crispin finds a home with a new publisher that they will be just as creative. To me and as a graphic artist myself, covers count a lot. They tell the reader ahead of time the kind of quality they can expect between the covers and should convey something of the tone and plot. We can only wait and see.

Sandra Parshall

Being asked for ideas for a cover can lead to writerly frustration. You start creating a cover in your head, you fall in love with it, and when the artist's work shows up in your inbox it will almost certainly be nothing like the mental image you have come to cherish. I would have been delighted with any kind of cover for my first book, The Heat of the Moon, as long as it had my name on it. But I have to confess I find the Japanese cover more evocative. (See if you can figure out which one that is.) I loved the cover of Disturbing the Dead, which begins with the discovery of a skeleton on a snow-covered mountaintop. The cover art is perfect. The Broken Places cover is a powerful image -- if you have the book in your hands. On a computer screen, at thumbnail size, it's meaningless. I was not, and am not, in love with the cover of Under the Dog Star. But with Bleeding Through, a miracle occurred: I described the sort of cover I imagined, and lo and behold, the artist gave it to me -- and on the first try too. Thank you, Patrick. I love it.

Sharon Wildwind 


Artist: Dierdre Wait of High Pines Creative

I am delighted to thank Diedre, who did all of these covers. She is a talented woman who was a joy to work with. I sent a photo mock-up for each cover. Four of the five were really close to what I'd envisioned. Each time it was so exciting to see what had started as a bit of table-top photography in my living room become a finished cover. There was a photo copyright question for Soldier on the Porch and Diedre came up with a clever work around it.

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