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.

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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15 Responses to Covers

  1. blodeuedd says:

    I do like your cover, and the new one even more cos I do want faces 🙂
    I like pretty covers like this one, hotties and simple yet beautiful ones
    blodeuedd`s last blog was …Review: Legacy – Lois McMaster Bujold

  2. Oh, Michelle, the new cover is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! Beautiful and rich in colors and details…I love it. And I’m thrilled for you on your wonderful contest news, too. 🙂 Congratulations!
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Are You Pinteresting?

  3. Michelle,

    Both covers are reflective of the era and the tone and are simply beautiful!
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …Owls and Memories

  4. Edie Ramer says:

    I loved your first one, and if anything, the cover artist topped it with the second. Since my books are ebooks, I like the names and titles to be clear as possible in the tiny thumbnail sizes.

    I recently looked at covers of Jayne Ann Krentz’s books, and one that’s a reissue of an older book has a sexy woman on the cover. That stopped me, and not in a good way. JAK may have some sexy scenes in her book, but the hot woman on the cover did not fit her books. Your covers very much fit the book. I’m eager to see your next one!

    • Edie, you manage to get the perfect balance between easy-to-see and read, and compelling. All your covers pop!

      And that is strange about JAK. Most of the covers I have for her have patterns or flowers on the front cover, never people at all. It sort of suits her books.

  5. I’m not surprised you placed! I’ve loved your covers since I first saw them. I admit I like ‘pretty’ covers, and if there is detail in the background, that’s even better. I so like the historical ones with the satiny looking flowing dresses that cover half the book. So basically… anything pretty. lol

  6. Cynthia Eden says:

    Congrats, Michelle!! And I sure do love your new cover!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …It’s a Valentine’s Vampire Sale

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Very exciting, Michelle. Congrats. Your covers are both gorgeous. The art department did a fabulous job with them and I can’t wait to see what they do with the third.

    I find that a cover will decide whether I pick up a book or not. I’m likely to pass over a cover that doesn’t appeal to me. On the other side of the coin is a cover that attracts me time and again, yet the story doesn’t resonate with me. There was a book (forget the title) that I’d see in the bookstore and I’d pick it up every time … only to return it to the shelf when I realized that I’d rejected it before based on the feel of the story.

    • Liz, me too! Can’t tell you how often I’ve picked the same book up at the library, only to remember I’ve already looked at it before. Like a magpie, I keep getting drawn to it, only to realize its not something I want to read.

  8. Misty Evans says:

    Congrats, Michelle. Both covers are beautiful. I know from my experiences that good covers sell books and bad covers can’t overcome good reviews. The Cover Art Gods have blessed you and you deserve to place in those contests! Here’s to many sales!

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