Cover Images: Where Do They Come From?

Cat 243 Dover

by Mary Jo

Reader Laura Terhune asked, “How are cover images are selected?  Do you choose from existing photos or have a photo session to represent the story?  Do you get to select the models?  Does your publisher and/or editor have a vote?  Who ultimately makes the decision?"

Interesting you should ask this, Laura.  There are a number of answers to your question, and I’m currently involved in the variation that gives the author the most control.

Traditionally, covers were designed by publisher art departments and authors had fairly minimal input.  Publishers have their own ideas about the kind of look they want for particular authors and types of book.  New authors usually have little say, though as a writer becomes more established, she’s more likely to contribute to the process. 

Burning Point Original Only authors at the very top of the food chain—the Stephen Kings and J. K. Rowlingses of the world—are likely to have “cover approval,” which means they can veto a cover they don’t like.  One can get “cover consultation” in a contract, but that means only as much as the publisher wants it to.  If you want a horse on your cover and the publisher wants two people exploring each other’s tonsils, the heavy breathing will win.

The cover images are created when the publishing art department arranges a photo shoot with a couple of models and a range of different costumes.  Lots and lots of images will be shot, sometimes for multiple covers.  An image will be chosen and the illustrator works from that, making changes such as colors, hairstyles, and adding appropriate background. 

The author might be asked for suggestions of scenes from the story that might look good on the cover.  An author may suggest movie stars who have the look of her characters.  She might even suggest a particular cover model she’d like to see.  She might supply images to help create the background. 

Silk & Secrets--Stepback For example, for my book Silk and Secrets, which is a rescue mission to Central Asia, I included a picture of Bactrian camels.  (TWO HUMPS, NOT ONE!)  I was amused to see later that the step back illustration by the late great Pino used that exact image in the background, with the addition of camel packs and harness. 

Well organized as always, Harlequin has authors fill out art facts sheet to describe the appearance, clothing, setting, possible scenes, etc.  Each H/S line goes for a particular look, but within that, they’ll try to insure that books coming out the same month don’t look too much alike. 

Spiral Path Original Single title books have a more scattershot approach.  Sometimes the art department listens and follows the suggestions.  After all, they do a ton of covers every year, and often welcome ideas since they may run dry themselves occasionally.

Other times, sending information to an art department is like calling cats: they ignore you entirely.  <g> Sometimes the art folks come up with something you love, sometimes—not so much.  Art people tend to have brains that work differently from word people, and communication can sometimes fail.  (Word Wenches is unusual in that we have several Wenches, including me, who have strong backgrounds in the visual arts.) 

Generally publishers like to keep authors well out of the process because we can really get in the way. Authors tend to have clear ideas of what our characters look like.  We’ll look at a cover and think, “Wrong!” And then list all the shortcomings. <g>

There are maybe three times in my career where I’ve looked at a cover and DarkMirror--Final HIGH REZthought, “Wow!  That is spot on!” (My YA cover for Dark Mirror, out in March, is an example of a cover image that really hit the mark.)

The longer we write, the more pragmatic we become.  As in, “The models bear no resemblance to my characters, the costumes are half a century off, and she’s wearing twenty-first century slut make-up, but the image is beautiful and the colors are terrific and this cover will sell.”  <g> 

The_Burning_Point--Real Final In the golden age of romance, most covers were done using this photograph and illustration process.  With the advances in computer graphics programs, now a lot more is being done with computers.  This can result in very realistic images of people, usually with some romanticizing added to make the image more appealing.

There is now a seismic shift in cover design as authors start self-publishing their backlists or new books that haven’t sold.  This is part of a huge transition in publishing, one that is still very much in process. 

Our own Wench Pat has put a number of her backlist books online, with more to come.  I’m working on putting up my three contemporary romantic novels, and then will upload my historical Silk Trilogy, along with shorter works that haven’t been widely available.

Twist of Fate Original Self-publishing takes a lot of time.  You have to have a clean file, and maybe, if you’re compulsive, as so many of us are, you’ll do some editing on that original manuscript.  You have to convert the file into different formats so it can be uploaded to different sites with different requirements.

And you have to come up new covers since the original ones belong to the publisher.  This is where an author can really have fun.  Some authors have the computer skills to design their own covers.  There are numerous stock photo sites like stock photo sites like http://www.dreamstime.com/ and http://www.istockphoto.com/ with zillions of pictures, but searching for the right image can eat up HUGE quantities of time—and you might still not find one you really like. 

Not surprising, this need for romantic images is creating new resources.  I believe The_Spiral_Path--FINAL the first stock romance cover image site was by cover model Jimmy Thomas  His site site has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of images from photo shoots featuring him with different female models or alone, and also with different heat levels.  It still takes a lot of time to find the right image, but at least it’s like fishing in a pond that has been stocked with the right kind of fish.  <g>  We used him for the covers of both The Burning Point and The Spiral Path as shown above.  (The original images are shown as well, and have much less of a related look.)

TOF1 Despite a degree in design and years of work in the field, I didn’t want to design my own covers because I never learned the ins and outs of computer graphics. I’ve been too busy writing romances. <g> 

So I chose to work with author and designer Kimberly Killion . who has fabulous computer design chops and is doing a gangbusters business designing professional quality covers for other authors. 

A cover isn’t just a matter of finding a good image.  That’s actually the easy part.  Typography is enormously important, and weak typography brands a lot of covers as amateurish. 

Layout is also very important, too.  One of the things I learned in my years as a designer is that good design, like good writing, is often unobtrusive.  Done right, both things seem so correct and obvious that one doesn’t even think of how it could be different.  Instead, one sees the whole design or the story.

Here is a page from Kim’s site showing how she transforms images into finished covers.  It shows the value of cutting off the heads of characters. <G>  Using a real person's face will often look wrong.  Not showing the face allows the viewer to imagine her own image of the characters. 

Twist_of_Fate--Final 2 Kim has actually started her own stock photo site of specifically romantic images to use on covers.  Even so, developing a cover requires work.  The author has to supply information and help look for images and bounce ideas back and forth. 

Working with Kim is like playing tennis with a pro—it raises your game. <G>  She’d shoot an image to me, I’d make a suggestion, she’d try something different.  This took time, but it was a lot of fun, and I love the results.  Since e-book covers are generally used small, I kept the images simple: a man and a woman to show it’s a romance, and some sense of what the story feels like. 

 

Above, I've shown the original bland cover for Twist of Fate, then one of the covers we did while developing a new cover, and the one just above is the final.  I liked the girl in the raincoat, but the feeling was wrong.  The final has more angst and I loved the colors.  Kim dropped in the background and made the heroine's hair red, one of myriad changes.

I’ve scattered some of my cover images through this blog, and I’m starting to work with Kim to develop covers for my Silk Trilogy.  We’ll develop a “look” for all three books.  We'll probably go through dozens of variations of image, layout, color and typography before we finish with a cover we both think is great. 

ACF21 E-booking is a time consuming process, but done right, it will help our beloved older books sell indefinitely.  And sometimes, we get to do covers the way we wanted them in the first place! 

Laura, this is probably more than you wanted to know about the origins of cover images.  <g>  But since I used your topic, you get a free book from me!  Happy reading—

Mary Jo. ending with the cover for a novella that spun off from my contemporary novels.

75 thoughts on “Cover Images: Where Do They Come From?”

  1. Mary Jo a very interesting post and I love those covers whoo hoo. I would never be able to choose the cover of a book too many choices. But the cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book and if they are eye catching then all the better
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  2. Mary Jo a very interesting post and I love those covers whoo hoo. I would never be able to choose the cover of a book too many choices. But the cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book and if they are eye catching then all the better
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  3. Mary Jo a very interesting post and I love those covers whoo hoo. I would never be able to choose the cover of a book too many choices. But the cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book and if they are eye catching then all the better
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  4. Mary Jo a very interesting post and I love those covers whoo hoo. I would never be able to choose the cover of a book too many choices. But the cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book and if they are eye catching then all the better
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  5. Mary Jo a very interesting post and I love those covers whoo hoo. I would never be able to choose the cover of a book too many choices. But the cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book and if they are eye catching then all the better
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  6. Wow! I just went to Jimmy’s site. It’s amazing how just small changes in hair, beard, clothes, etc., can give a different feeling to the character. I could happily stay at his site all day sighing over his characters. Thanks for posting all this info, Mary Jo. Covers have come a long way, baby!

    Reply
  7. Wow! I just went to Jimmy’s site. It’s amazing how just small changes in hair, beard, clothes, etc., can give a different feeling to the character. I could happily stay at his site all day sighing over his characters. Thanks for posting all this info, Mary Jo. Covers have come a long way, baby!

    Reply
  8. Wow! I just went to Jimmy’s site. It’s amazing how just small changes in hair, beard, clothes, etc., can give a different feeling to the character. I could happily stay at his site all day sighing over his characters. Thanks for posting all this info, Mary Jo. Covers have come a long way, baby!

    Reply
  9. Wow! I just went to Jimmy’s site. It’s amazing how just small changes in hair, beard, clothes, etc., can give a different feeling to the character. I could happily stay at his site all day sighing over his characters. Thanks for posting all this info, Mary Jo. Covers have come a long way, baby!

    Reply
  10. Wow! I just went to Jimmy’s site. It’s amazing how just small changes in hair, beard, clothes, etc., can give a different feeling to the character. I could happily stay at his site all day sighing over his characters. Thanks for posting all this info, Mary Jo. Covers have come a long way, baby!

    Reply
  11. Ok, stupid question. What’s typography? Is that the words on the cover?
    The thing I don’t like about photos is that the edges look sharp to me. In a painting, an artist can soften the edges. Maybe she can do it with a photo, too, but I don’t see it as often.
    The DARK MIRROR cover is beautiful.

    Reply
  12. Ok, stupid question. What’s typography? Is that the words on the cover?
    The thing I don’t like about photos is that the edges look sharp to me. In a painting, an artist can soften the edges. Maybe she can do it with a photo, too, but I don’t see it as often.
    The DARK MIRROR cover is beautiful.

    Reply
  13. Ok, stupid question. What’s typography? Is that the words on the cover?
    The thing I don’t like about photos is that the edges look sharp to me. In a painting, an artist can soften the edges. Maybe she can do it with a photo, too, but I don’t see it as often.
    The DARK MIRROR cover is beautiful.

    Reply
  14. Ok, stupid question. What’s typography? Is that the words on the cover?
    The thing I don’t like about photos is that the edges look sharp to me. In a painting, an artist can soften the edges. Maybe she can do it with a photo, too, but I don’t see it as often.
    The DARK MIRROR cover is beautiful.

    Reply
  15. Ok, stupid question. What’s typography? Is that the words on the cover?
    The thing I don’t like about photos is that the edges look sharp to me. In a painting, an artist can soften the edges. Maybe she can do it with a photo, too, but I don’t see it as often.
    The DARK MIRROR cover is beautiful.

    Reply
  16. MJ, you’re so right about how small changes in a photo image can make a huge difference in the feeling conveyed. It’s great that authors now have two different sites devoted exclusively to romantic images. Grist for the e-booking mill.
    Helen–Covers really do matter, especially if you don’t know the author! With e-books, where the cover image is small, the image needs to convey instantly what kind of book we’re looking at.
    It also needs to look professional. Linda, there is where typography comes in. The term covers the whole range of fonts and how they’re used.
    Note how Kim used the same font for author name and book title on all my books. It’s a dashing, contemporary and sophisticated look that ties the books together and is easy to read.
    Contrast that with the style of the title in DARK MIRROR, which has more of a historial look. It also has curlicues that would make it harder to read in a thumbnail, but since it’s a trade paperback, that doesn’t matter.
    It’s often possible to tell an amateur cover because the font for title is unsophiticated, or hard to read, or just–wrong. (You can tell I spent too many years as a designer! I notice things other people might not care about.

    Reply
  17. MJ, you’re so right about how small changes in a photo image can make a huge difference in the feeling conveyed. It’s great that authors now have two different sites devoted exclusively to romantic images. Grist for the e-booking mill.
    Helen–Covers really do matter, especially if you don’t know the author! With e-books, where the cover image is small, the image needs to convey instantly what kind of book we’re looking at.
    It also needs to look professional. Linda, there is where typography comes in. The term covers the whole range of fonts and how they’re used.
    Note how Kim used the same font for author name and book title on all my books. It’s a dashing, contemporary and sophisticated look that ties the books together and is easy to read.
    Contrast that with the style of the title in DARK MIRROR, which has more of a historial look. It also has curlicues that would make it harder to read in a thumbnail, but since it’s a trade paperback, that doesn’t matter.
    It’s often possible to tell an amateur cover because the font for title is unsophiticated, or hard to read, or just–wrong. (You can tell I spent too many years as a designer! I notice things other people might not care about.

    Reply
  18. MJ, you’re so right about how small changes in a photo image can make a huge difference in the feeling conveyed. It’s great that authors now have two different sites devoted exclusively to romantic images. Grist for the e-booking mill.
    Helen–Covers really do matter, especially if you don’t know the author! With e-books, where the cover image is small, the image needs to convey instantly what kind of book we’re looking at.
    It also needs to look professional. Linda, there is where typography comes in. The term covers the whole range of fonts and how they’re used.
    Note how Kim used the same font for author name and book title on all my books. It’s a dashing, contemporary and sophisticated look that ties the books together and is easy to read.
    Contrast that with the style of the title in DARK MIRROR, which has more of a historial look. It also has curlicues that would make it harder to read in a thumbnail, but since it’s a trade paperback, that doesn’t matter.
    It’s often possible to tell an amateur cover because the font for title is unsophiticated, or hard to read, or just–wrong. (You can tell I spent too many years as a designer! I notice things other people might not care about.

    Reply
  19. MJ, you’re so right about how small changes in a photo image can make a huge difference in the feeling conveyed. It’s great that authors now have two different sites devoted exclusively to romantic images. Grist for the e-booking mill.
    Helen–Covers really do matter, especially if you don’t know the author! With e-books, where the cover image is small, the image needs to convey instantly what kind of book we’re looking at.
    It also needs to look professional. Linda, there is where typography comes in. The term covers the whole range of fonts and how they’re used.
    Note how Kim used the same font for author name and book title on all my books. It’s a dashing, contemporary and sophisticated look that ties the books together and is easy to read.
    Contrast that with the style of the title in DARK MIRROR, which has more of a historial look. It also has curlicues that would make it harder to read in a thumbnail, but since it’s a trade paperback, that doesn’t matter.
    It’s often possible to tell an amateur cover because the font for title is unsophiticated, or hard to read, or just–wrong. (You can tell I spent too many years as a designer! I notice things other people might not care about.

    Reply
  20. MJ, you’re so right about how small changes in a photo image can make a huge difference in the feeling conveyed. It’s great that authors now have two different sites devoted exclusively to romantic images. Grist for the e-booking mill.
    Helen–Covers really do matter, especially if you don’t know the author! With e-books, where the cover image is small, the image needs to convey instantly what kind of book we’re looking at.
    It also needs to look professional. Linda, there is where typography comes in. The term covers the whole range of fonts and how they’re used.
    Note how Kim used the same font for author name and book title on all my books. It’s a dashing, contemporary and sophisticated look that ties the books together and is easy to read.
    Contrast that with the style of the title in DARK MIRROR, which has more of a historial look. It also has curlicues that would make it harder to read in a thumbnail, but since it’s a trade paperback, that doesn’t matter.
    It’s often possible to tell an amateur cover because the font for title is unsophiticated, or hard to read, or just–wrong. (You can tell I spent too many years as a designer! I notice things other people might not care about.

    Reply
  21. Interesting topic. Nothing gets my dander up quicker than a goofy, inaccurate cover. Loved those Pino covers, but I’m a big fan of some of the covers that are coming out now. I am one of those people that love partial humans on my covers. I like illustrated covers better than photographic images.
    Do you have input on the font? I heard once that the bigger the author’s name on the cover the higher up the list they were…or maybe it was the placement of their name above the title of the book. True?

    Reply
  22. Interesting topic. Nothing gets my dander up quicker than a goofy, inaccurate cover. Loved those Pino covers, but I’m a big fan of some of the covers that are coming out now. I am one of those people that love partial humans on my covers. I like illustrated covers better than photographic images.
    Do you have input on the font? I heard once that the bigger the author’s name on the cover the higher up the list they were…or maybe it was the placement of their name above the title of the book. True?

    Reply
  23. Interesting topic. Nothing gets my dander up quicker than a goofy, inaccurate cover. Loved those Pino covers, but I’m a big fan of some of the covers that are coming out now. I am one of those people that love partial humans on my covers. I like illustrated covers better than photographic images.
    Do you have input on the font? I heard once that the bigger the author’s name on the cover the higher up the list they were…or maybe it was the placement of their name above the title of the book. True?

    Reply
  24. Interesting topic. Nothing gets my dander up quicker than a goofy, inaccurate cover. Loved those Pino covers, but I’m a big fan of some of the covers that are coming out now. I am one of those people that love partial humans on my covers. I like illustrated covers better than photographic images.
    Do you have input on the font? I heard once that the bigger the author’s name on the cover the higher up the list they were…or maybe it was the placement of their name above the title of the book. True?

    Reply
  25. Interesting topic. Nothing gets my dander up quicker than a goofy, inaccurate cover. Loved those Pino covers, but I’m a big fan of some of the covers that are coming out now. I am one of those people that love partial humans on my covers. I like illustrated covers better than photographic images.
    Do you have input on the font? I heard once that the bigger the author’s name on the cover the higher up the list they were…or maybe it was the placement of their name above the title of the book. True?

    Reply
  26. Kay–
    Genereally authors don’t have input on the font. It used to be that publishers would sometimes hire lettering specialists to do a custom version of an author’s name, with the letters properly tucked and tweaked in elegant ways. Not somethimg the average non-art school graduate would necessarily notice, but it adds to a classy look for the cover. I imagine that this is still done sometimes, but not as often.
    But you’re right about the size of the name. The more successful the author, the larger her name. The huge best sellers tend to have huge names, perhaps smaller titles, and not a lot of illustrations. WHich makes sense, since serious readers snap their favorite authors right up.

    Reply
  27. Kay–
    Genereally authors don’t have input on the font. It used to be that publishers would sometimes hire lettering specialists to do a custom version of an author’s name, with the letters properly tucked and tweaked in elegant ways. Not somethimg the average non-art school graduate would necessarily notice, but it adds to a classy look for the cover. I imagine that this is still done sometimes, but not as often.
    But you’re right about the size of the name. The more successful the author, the larger her name. The huge best sellers tend to have huge names, perhaps smaller titles, and not a lot of illustrations. WHich makes sense, since serious readers snap their favorite authors right up.

    Reply
  28. Kay–
    Genereally authors don’t have input on the font. It used to be that publishers would sometimes hire lettering specialists to do a custom version of an author’s name, with the letters properly tucked and tweaked in elegant ways. Not somethimg the average non-art school graduate would necessarily notice, but it adds to a classy look for the cover. I imagine that this is still done sometimes, but not as often.
    But you’re right about the size of the name. The more successful the author, the larger her name. The huge best sellers tend to have huge names, perhaps smaller titles, and not a lot of illustrations. WHich makes sense, since serious readers snap their favorite authors right up.

    Reply
  29. Kay–
    Genereally authors don’t have input on the font. It used to be that publishers would sometimes hire lettering specialists to do a custom version of an author’s name, with the letters properly tucked and tweaked in elegant ways. Not somethimg the average non-art school graduate would necessarily notice, but it adds to a classy look for the cover. I imagine that this is still done sometimes, but not as often.
    But you’re right about the size of the name. The more successful the author, the larger her name. The huge best sellers tend to have huge names, perhaps smaller titles, and not a lot of illustrations. WHich makes sense, since serious readers snap their favorite authors right up.

    Reply
  30. Kay–
    Genereally authors don’t have input on the font. It used to be that publishers would sometimes hire lettering specialists to do a custom version of an author’s name, with the letters properly tucked and tweaked in elegant ways. Not somethimg the average non-art school graduate would necessarily notice, but it adds to a classy look for the cover. I imagine that this is still done sometimes, but not as often.
    But you’re right about the size of the name. The more successful the author, the larger her name. The huge best sellers tend to have huge names, perhaps smaller titles, and not a lot of illustrations. WHich makes sense, since serious readers snap their favorite authors right up.

    Reply
  31. This is a topic that everyone has an interest in and opinion on. Often the opinions expressed vary widely, which means no matter what you do someone will be happy and another person unimpressed. I like seeing the whole face, but if I don’t find the model attractive then it spoils my image of the hero or heroine, and it would have been much better to have only a partial image and left the rest to my imagination. I like the new cover to “Spiral Path” a lot, but that is because I think both models are gorgeous. I do not like the clothes-falling-off images (whether shirt or dress), but apparently a lot of people like them because it is so common.
    Question: There are two different recent covers shown for “Twist of Fate” — is the book to be reissued with one of them or is one for the electronic version? If so, I much prefer the one where they are clothed. Not that I have anything against a naked male back, but the other, where they are leaning into each other, conveys more of a whole relationship with a sexual aspect than the second, which focuses the sexual aspect only.

    Reply
  32. This is a topic that everyone has an interest in and opinion on. Often the opinions expressed vary widely, which means no matter what you do someone will be happy and another person unimpressed. I like seeing the whole face, but if I don’t find the model attractive then it spoils my image of the hero or heroine, and it would have been much better to have only a partial image and left the rest to my imagination. I like the new cover to “Spiral Path” a lot, but that is because I think both models are gorgeous. I do not like the clothes-falling-off images (whether shirt or dress), but apparently a lot of people like them because it is so common.
    Question: There are two different recent covers shown for “Twist of Fate” — is the book to be reissued with one of them or is one for the electronic version? If so, I much prefer the one where they are clothed. Not that I have anything against a naked male back, but the other, where they are leaning into each other, conveys more of a whole relationship with a sexual aspect than the second, which focuses the sexual aspect only.

    Reply
  33. This is a topic that everyone has an interest in and opinion on. Often the opinions expressed vary widely, which means no matter what you do someone will be happy and another person unimpressed. I like seeing the whole face, but if I don’t find the model attractive then it spoils my image of the hero or heroine, and it would have been much better to have only a partial image and left the rest to my imagination. I like the new cover to “Spiral Path” a lot, but that is because I think both models are gorgeous. I do not like the clothes-falling-off images (whether shirt or dress), but apparently a lot of people like them because it is so common.
    Question: There are two different recent covers shown for “Twist of Fate” — is the book to be reissued with one of them or is one for the electronic version? If so, I much prefer the one where they are clothed. Not that I have anything against a naked male back, but the other, where they are leaning into each other, conveys more of a whole relationship with a sexual aspect than the second, which focuses the sexual aspect only.

    Reply
  34. This is a topic that everyone has an interest in and opinion on. Often the opinions expressed vary widely, which means no matter what you do someone will be happy and another person unimpressed. I like seeing the whole face, but if I don’t find the model attractive then it spoils my image of the hero or heroine, and it would have been much better to have only a partial image and left the rest to my imagination. I like the new cover to “Spiral Path” a lot, but that is because I think both models are gorgeous. I do not like the clothes-falling-off images (whether shirt or dress), but apparently a lot of people like them because it is so common.
    Question: There are two different recent covers shown for “Twist of Fate” — is the book to be reissued with one of them or is one for the electronic version? If so, I much prefer the one where they are clothed. Not that I have anything against a naked male back, but the other, where they are leaning into each other, conveys more of a whole relationship with a sexual aspect than the second, which focuses the sexual aspect only.

    Reply
  35. This is a topic that everyone has an interest in and opinion on. Often the opinions expressed vary widely, which means no matter what you do someone will be happy and another person unimpressed. I like seeing the whole face, but if I don’t find the model attractive then it spoils my image of the hero or heroine, and it would have been much better to have only a partial image and left the rest to my imagination. I like the new cover to “Spiral Path” a lot, but that is because I think both models are gorgeous. I do not like the clothes-falling-off images (whether shirt or dress), but apparently a lot of people like them because it is so common.
    Question: There are two different recent covers shown for “Twist of Fate” — is the book to be reissued with one of them or is one for the electronic version? If so, I much prefer the one where they are clothed. Not that I have anything against a naked male back, but the other, where they are leaning into each other, conveys more of a whole relationship with a sexual aspect than the second, which focuses the sexual aspect only.

    Reply
  36. I get so annoyed with inaccurate cover design, e.g. a raven-haired heroine being shown with light brown hair. I think the worst one I’ve seen has been for a book in which the hero had a terrible scar on the right side of his face and an eyepatch – neither of which were shown on the handsome man on the front cover! It’s almost as annoying as realizing the blurb on the back was written by someone who hasn’t read the book!

    Reply
  37. I get so annoyed with inaccurate cover design, e.g. a raven-haired heroine being shown with light brown hair. I think the worst one I’ve seen has been for a book in which the hero had a terrible scar on the right side of his face and an eyepatch – neither of which were shown on the handsome man on the front cover! It’s almost as annoying as realizing the blurb on the back was written by someone who hasn’t read the book!

    Reply
  38. I get so annoyed with inaccurate cover design, e.g. a raven-haired heroine being shown with light brown hair. I think the worst one I’ve seen has been for a book in which the hero had a terrible scar on the right side of his face and an eyepatch – neither of which were shown on the handsome man on the front cover! It’s almost as annoying as realizing the blurb on the back was written by someone who hasn’t read the book!

    Reply
  39. I get so annoyed with inaccurate cover design, e.g. a raven-haired heroine being shown with light brown hair. I think the worst one I’ve seen has been for a book in which the hero had a terrible scar on the right side of his face and an eyepatch – neither of which were shown on the handsome man on the front cover! It’s almost as annoying as realizing the blurb on the back was written by someone who hasn’t read the book!

    Reply
  40. I get so annoyed with inaccurate cover design, e.g. a raven-haired heroine being shown with light brown hair. I think the worst one I’ve seen has been for a book in which the hero had a terrible scar on the right side of his face and an eyepatch – neither of which were shown on the handsome man on the front cover! It’s almost as annoying as realizing the blurb on the back was written by someone who hasn’t read the book!

    Reply
  41. I totally get the importance of a come-hither cover, since that’s the first thing about a book that gets my attention. Book covers literally have to stop us in our tracks and pick up the book.
    Great explanation of the process, Mary Jo. I’ve been lucky with my covers so far, because I had nothing to do with either one and I’m happy with both. Or maybe I’m just easy, lol.
    Marketing departments are there to sell books, so I imagine they pay attention to what people pick up and what they don’t. It is a bit startling to see what they come up with at times, though.

    Reply
  42. I totally get the importance of a come-hither cover, since that’s the first thing about a book that gets my attention. Book covers literally have to stop us in our tracks and pick up the book.
    Great explanation of the process, Mary Jo. I’ve been lucky with my covers so far, because I had nothing to do with either one and I’m happy with both. Or maybe I’m just easy, lol.
    Marketing departments are there to sell books, so I imagine they pay attention to what people pick up and what they don’t. It is a bit startling to see what they come up with at times, though.

    Reply
  43. I totally get the importance of a come-hither cover, since that’s the first thing about a book that gets my attention. Book covers literally have to stop us in our tracks and pick up the book.
    Great explanation of the process, Mary Jo. I’ve been lucky with my covers so far, because I had nothing to do with either one and I’m happy with both. Or maybe I’m just easy, lol.
    Marketing departments are there to sell books, so I imagine they pay attention to what people pick up and what they don’t. It is a bit startling to see what they come up with at times, though.

    Reply
  44. I totally get the importance of a come-hither cover, since that’s the first thing about a book that gets my attention. Book covers literally have to stop us in our tracks and pick up the book.
    Great explanation of the process, Mary Jo. I’ve been lucky with my covers so far, because I had nothing to do with either one and I’m happy with both. Or maybe I’m just easy, lol.
    Marketing departments are there to sell books, so I imagine they pay attention to what people pick up and what they don’t. It is a bit startling to see what they come up with at times, though.

    Reply
  45. I totally get the importance of a come-hither cover, since that’s the first thing about a book that gets my attention. Book covers literally have to stop us in our tracks and pick up the book.
    Great explanation of the process, Mary Jo. I’ve been lucky with my covers so far, because I had nothing to do with either one and I’m happy with both. Or maybe I’m just easy, lol.
    Marketing departments are there to sell books, so I imagine they pay attention to what people pick up and what they don’t. It is a bit startling to see what they come up with at times, though.

    Reply
  46. Lovely walk down memory lane. And the Dark Mirror cover is very cool. Didn’t you have more than one Pino cover? I thought you did. His were so distinctive and I always loved them. He was definitely in a league…
    Gosh, I missed being here!

    Reply
  47. Lovely walk down memory lane. And the Dark Mirror cover is very cool. Didn’t you have more than one Pino cover? I thought you did. His were so distinctive and I always loved them. He was definitely in a league…
    Gosh, I missed being here!

    Reply
  48. Lovely walk down memory lane. And the Dark Mirror cover is very cool. Didn’t you have more than one Pino cover? I thought you did. His were so distinctive and I always loved them. He was definitely in a league…
    Gosh, I missed being here!

    Reply
  49. Lovely walk down memory lane. And the Dark Mirror cover is very cool. Didn’t you have more than one Pino cover? I thought you did. His were so distinctive and I always loved them. He was definitely in a league…
    Gosh, I missed being here!

    Reply
  50. Lovely walk down memory lane. And the Dark Mirror cover is very cool. Didn’t you have more than one Pino cover? I thought you did. His were so distinctive and I always loved them. He was definitely in a league…
    Gosh, I missed being here!

    Reply
  51. Susan–there are two e-book covers shown for TWIST OF FACE because while I liked the girl in the raincoat and thought it was pretty, it’s a fairly tortured book–the plot is built around getting a wrongly convicted man off death row. I didn’t choose the other image because I thought it was “hot,” but because I thought it was emotiona. He’s seeking comfort, she looks sorrowful. That mattered to me more than their clothing–or lack of it. *g*

    Reply
  52. Susan–there are two e-book covers shown for TWIST OF FACE because while I liked the girl in the raincoat and thought it was pretty, it’s a fairly tortured book–the plot is built around getting a wrongly convicted man off death row. I didn’t choose the other image because I thought it was “hot,” but because I thought it was emotiona. He’s seeking comfort, she looks sorrowful. That mattered to me more than their clothing–or lack of it. *g*

    Reply
  53. Susan–there are two e-book covers shown for TWIST OF FACE because while I liked the girl in the raincoat and thought it was pretty, it’s a fairly tortured book–the plot is built around getting a wrongly convicted man off death row. I didn’t choose the other image because I thought it was “hot,” but because I thought it was emotiona. He’s seeking comfort, she looks sorrowful. That mattered to me more than their clothing–or lack of it. *g*

    Reply
  54. Susan–there are two e-book covers shown for TWIST OF FACE because while I liked the girl in the raincoat and thought it was pretty, it’s a fairly tortured book–the plot is built around getting a wrongly convicted man off death row. I didn’t choose the other image because I thought it was “hot,” but because I thought it was emotiona. He’s seeking comfort, she looks sorrowful. That mattered to me more than their clothing–or lack of it. *g*

    Reply
  55. Susan–there are two e-book covers shown for TWIST OF FACE because while I liked the girl in the raincoat and thought it was pretty, it’s a fairly tortured book–the plot is built around getting a wrongly convicted man off death row. I didn’t choose the other image because I thought it was “hot,” but because I thought it was emotiona. He’s seeking comfort, she looks sorrowful. That mattered to me more than their clothing–or lack of it. *g*

    Reply
  56. Ann–I hear you about the prettification of cover images! But I do think the editors and art directors are doing their best to make the covers appealing to as many potential readers as possible, and scarring and an eyepatch may well be a turn off for some. As exasperated as we authors sometimes get about cover art, the publishers are generally working from hardwon experience.

    Reply
  57. Ann–I hear you about the prettification of cover images! But I do think the editors and art directors are doing their best to make the covers appealing to as many potential readers as possible, and scarring and an eyepatch may well be a turn off for some. As exasperated as we authors sometimes get about cover art, the publishers are generally working from hardwon experience.

    Reply
  58. Ann–I hear you about the prettification of cover images! But I do think the editors and art directors are doing their best to make the covers appealing to as many potential readers as possible, and scarring and an eyepatch may well be a turn off for some. As exasperated as we authors sometimes get about cover art, the publishers are generally working from hardwon experience.

    Reply
  59. Ann–I hear you about the prettification of cover images! But I do think the editors and art directors are doing their best to make the covers appealing to as many potential readers as possible, and scarring and an eyepatch may well be a turn off for some. As exasperated as we authors sometimes get about cover art, the publishers are generally working from hardwon experience.

    Reply
  60. Ann–I hear you about the prettification of cover images! But I do think the editors and art directors are doing their best to make the covers appealing to as many potential readers as possible, and scarring and an eyepatch may well be a turn off for some. As exasperated as we authors sometimes get about cover art, the publishers are generally working from hardwon experience.

    Reply
  61. Theo–
    Yes, I had at least a couple of Pino covers. The stepbacks he did for SILK AND SECRETS and VEILS OF SILK are among the best I’ve ever had. He was a respected fine artist as well, and died not to long ago. His brush work was very distinctive and wildly romantic.

    Reply
  62. Theo–
    Yes, I had at least a couple of Pino covers. The stepbacks he did for SILK AND SECRETS and VEILS OF SILK are among the best I’ve ever had. He was a respected fine artist as well, and died not to long ago. His brush work was very distinctive and wildly romantic.

    Reply
  63. Theo–
    Yes, I had at least a couple of Pino covers. The stepbacks he did for SILK AND SECRETS and VEILS OF SILK are among the best I’ve ever had. He was a respected fine artist as well, and died not to long ago. His brush work was very distinctive and wildly romantic.

    Reply
  64. Theo–
    Yes, I had at least a couple of Pino covers. The stepbacks he did for SILK AND SECRETS and VEILS OF SILK are among the best I’ve ever had. He was a respected fine artist as well, and died not to long ago. His brush work was very distinctive and wildly romantic.

    Reply
  65. Theo–
    Yes, I had at least a couple of Pino covers. The stepbacks he did for SILK AND SECRETS and VEILS OF SILK are among the best I’ve ever had. He was a respected fine artist as well, and died not to long ago. His brush work was very distinctive and wildly romantic.

    Reply
  66. Mary Jo, great post. I love beautiful covers, when they’re both historically accurate and true to the h/h.
    I was REALLY lucky with my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow. My editor sent me several images to choose from, and the cover featuring a mist-shrouded castle (taken “somewhere in Galway”) against an Irish autumn sky is gorgeous.
    As it happened, an Irish friend of mine (who’d worked at this same castle) identified it for me — Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway — and when I visited Ireland in 2009, I was able to visit. It was the trip of a lifetime for me anyway, but visiting “my” castle made it all the more special!

    Reply
  67. Mary Jo, great post. I love beautiful covers, when they’re both historically accurate and true to the h/h.
    I was REALLY lucky with my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow. My editor sent me several images to choose from, and the cover featuring a mist-shrouded castle (taken “somewhere in Galway”) against an Irish autumn sky is gorgeous.
    As it happened, an Irish friend of mine (who’d worked at this same castle) identified it for me — Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway — and when I visited Ireland in 2009, I was able to visit. It was the trip of a lifetime for me anyway, but visiting “my” castle made it all the more special!

    Reply
  68. Mary Jo, great post. I love beautiful covers, when they’re both historically accurate and true to the h/h.
    I was REALLY lucky with my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow. My editor sent me several images to choose from, and the cover featuring a mist-shrouded castle (taken “somewhere in Galway”) against an Irish autumn sky is gorgeous.
    As it happened, an Irish friend of mine (who’d worked at this same castle) identified it for me — Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway — and when I visited Ireland in 2009, I was able to visit. It was the trip of a lifetime for me anyway, but visiting “my” castle made it all the more special!

    Reply
  69. Mary Jo, great post. I love beautiful covers, when they’re both historically accurate and true to the h/h.
    I was REALLY lucky with my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow. My editor sent me several images to choose from, and the cover featuring a mist-shrouded castle (taken “somewhere in Galway”) against an Irish autumn sky is gorgeous.
    As it happened, an Irish friend of mine (who’d worked at this same castle) identified it for me — Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway — and when I visited Ireland in 2009, I was able to visit. It was the trip of a lifetime for me anyway, but visiting “my” castle made it all the more special!

    Reply
  70. Mary Jo, great post. I love beautiful covers, when they’re both historically accurate and true to the h/h.
    I was REALLY lucky with my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow. My editor sent me several images to choose from, and the cover featuring a mist-shrouded castle (taken “somewhere in Galway”) against an Irish autumn sky is gorgeous.
    As it happened, an Irish friend of mine (who’d worked at this same castle) identified it for me — Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway — and when I visited Ireland in 2009, I was able to visit. It was the trip of a lifetime for me anyway, but visiting “my” castle made it all the more special!

    Reply
  71. I love the cover for Dark Mirror. But I found this interesting – I’m getting an ARC of it to review and I asked my tween if she wanted to read it first or second so I could get her take on it. Dark Mirror looks like exactly her kind of book – she asked if it would be eligible for an RC quiz (linked below if you’re not familiar) and I said no, it was a new book. She said she needed to wait until summer because her teachers told her to only read books she could take the RC tests on. (Verified that) Sad to see kids told NOT to branch out to new things.
    (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/independent_reading/scholastic_reading_counts/index.htm)

    Reply
  72. I love the cover for Dark Mirror. But I found this interesting – I’m getting an ARC of it to review and I asked my tween if she wanted to read it first or second so I could get her take on it. Dark Mirror looks like exactly her kind of book – she asked if it would be eligible for an RC quiz (linked below if you’re not familiar) and I said no, it was a new book. She said she needed to wait until summer because her teachers told her to only read books she could take the RC tests on. (Verified that) Sad to see kids told NOT to branch out to new things.
    (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/independent_reading/scholastic_reading_counts/index.htm)

    Reply
  73. I love the cover for Dark Mirror. But I found this interesting – I’m getting an ARC of it to review and I asked my tween if she wanted to read it first or second so I could get her take on it. Dark Mirror looks like exactly her kind of book – she asked if it would be eligible for an RC quiz (linked below if you’re not familiar) and I said no, it was a new book. She said she needed to wait until summer because her teachers told her to only read books she could take the RC tests on. (Verified that) Sad to see kids told NOT to branch out to new things.
    (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/independent_reading/scholastic_reading_counts/index.htm)

    Reply
  74. I love the cover for Dark Mirror. But I found this interesting – I’m getting an ARC of it to review and I asked my tween if she wanted to read it first or second so I could get her take on it. Dark Mirror looks like exactly her kind of book – she asked if it would be eligible for an RC quiz (linked below if you’re not familiar) and I said no, it was a new book. She said she needed to wait until summer because her teachers told her to only read books she could take the RC tests on. (Verified that) Sad to see kids told NOT to branch out to new things.
    (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/independent_reading/scholastic_reading_counts/index.htm)

    Reply
  75. I love the cover for Dark Mirror. But I found this interesting – I’m getting an ARC of it to review and I asked my tween if she wanted to read it first or second so I could get her take on it. Dark Mirror looks like exactly her kind of book – she asked if it would be eligible for an RC quiz (linked below if you’re not familiar) and I said no, it was a new book. She said she needed to wait until summer because her teachers told her to only read books she could take the RC tests on. (Verified that) Sad to see kids told NOT to branch out to new things.
    (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/independent_reading/scholastic_reading_counts/index.htm)

    Reply

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