For me, one of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking!) parts of the publication process is seeing a new cover for the first time. We’ve all been told not to judge a book by it’s cover, but that’s exactly what we do every day. I know I do. The cover is what makes a story’s first impression on a reader. Not the words we’ve painstakingly crafted over months of labor, but a single shot of art that we usually have very little control over.
In a traditional publishing house, cover art is determined by talented designers, sales managers who know what retailers are looking for, marketing teams who keep up with reader trends, and the editors who have read the actual story. At the beginning of the process, the author is usually asked to contribute basic information about the setting, the physical appearance of the main characters, as well as any ideas they have for possible scenes.
In 2016, I have three projects hitting the shelves: 2 novella collections and a full-length novel. As you can tell in the graphic at the top, all three covers have very different looks to them.
The first is a novella collection that will be out in January 2016. This cover went through one overhaul after another. The title even changed halfway through the process. The original title On Bended Knee was changed to With This Ring? The blurred effect was a new twist for me. The first version was a little too blurred, but of all the iterations we saw, this final version was the best of the lot. Usually authors don’t get much say, but Bethany House listened to our comments and changed the cover several times. And when they were down to a final two selections, they gave us as authors final say. My novella, The Husband Maneuver, is included in this collection. It is a follow-up story to my last novel, A Worthy Pursuit, and continues on with Dead-Eye Dan and Marietta Hawkins. I had so much fun with the dime novel sections of Stone and Charlotte’s story, that I decided to start each chapter of the follow-up novella with a scene from a Dead-Eye Dan novel. So you’ll actually be getting two stories in one!
The second novella collection comes out in August 2016. With All My Heart is a collection of 5 novellas that are not connected in any way except that they are all historical love stories. They were previously published by Bethany House as e-singles. My novella, Love on the Mend, is included in the collection. I’ve had many people ask me when they would be able to get this novella in print, and I’m excited to say that it is finally happening. Little Jacob Sadler from Full Steam Ahead, is all grown up and finally returning to the home he ran away from 17 years earlier, ready to put his past to rest. Only his past is still alive and kicking and it takes a spirited woman with a past of her own to help him see the power in love and forgiveness.
This year, I was told that my publisher had decided to take my covers in a new direction. They wanted to go for more visual impact and less whimsy – hoping to draw in a larger readership, tapping into customers who are looking for books with deeper emotional and spiritual depth, which my stories offer along with the touches of humor and lightheartedness my previous covers implied. I was a little uneasy when I first heard this because I have always liked my covers, but at the same time, I was excited to see what they might put together for me.
So here it is – My next full-length novel and the new cover art. No Other Will Do. What do you think? I love the deep red of the dress and the historic town in the background. There are still touches of my old brand carrying over into the new look, but sadly – no man on the cover. Bummer. I always like having a hint of the hero in the artwork. But, I must say that it does have more of that impact and less whimsy, which was what they were going for.
I’ve received mixed opinions from reviewers who have seen it so far, but I would love to hear what you think. Share your honest opinion – positive or negative.
- What do you like about my new cover?
- What don’t you like?
- Which of the three covers do you prefer and why?
- What types of cover art are most likely to convince you to pick up a book?