I just had the great news a few days ago that my debut novel IN A TREACHEROUS COURT placed third in the mainstream category of the Judge a Book by It’s Cover contest in the Grand Prize Winners, and second in the Readers’ Choice Award, also in the mainstream category. Obviously, I’m thrilled, although I didn’t have a thing to do with the cover concept.
When my publisher asked me what I wanted, I said something with an illuminated manuscript look would be nice. That was it. LOL! And they managed to give that to me, with the lettering in the title, and the flourishes down the left side. If you haven’t seen an actual print copy of IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, the title and my name are embossed, and the flourishes are raised clear lacquer. It is really beautiful. The only change I asked for was the model’s nails not to be so long, because Susanna wouldn’t have had long fingernails, and they did that for me.
For the second cover in the series, KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS, again, I was clueless, and they delivered something absolutely outstanding. My only problem with the original cover was that the house that was originally behind Susanna was a little run-down looking. I wanted a smarter house, a house that looked like it had just been built, not one built in 1525 that had survived to the present day . My editor sent me a very funny email to say the Photoshop carpenters couldn’t repair the old house, so they built me a new one. And it was a winner .
With the cover of the next book I have in the works, for once, I actually had an idea for it, and my editor and the marketing department actually thought it was a good idea! But as a rule, I’m very happy to let the art department and the marketing department rule the roost. They know a lot better than I do what does and doesn’t work.
That said, we’ve all got opinions about covers. I know a bad cover turns me off and I rarely pick up a book with a bad cover unless its been personally recommended to me. A good cover will have me reaching for a book every time.
Given that IN A TREACHEROUS COURT just placed third and second in a book cover contest, I know my cover obviously appeals, but I’m curious what type of cover turns you on, or right off. And is there a cover you’ve seen recently that really drew you in? One of my favorites is THE ALGEBRAIST by Iain M Banks, because of it’s scale. The cover alone tells you you’re in for a mind-bending, galaxy-expanding read. I have the book, and it says at the back that the cover is actually a picture of one of Jupiter’s moons, with Jupiter in the background. That’s part of it’s power, I think. It’s real.