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Choosing a Cover

Today’s post is inspired by an email from a long time reader who said: 

I am reading The Laird’s Bride, and enjoying it but wanted to tell you the cover is fantastic. The girl on the cover matches the girl in the story. Thank you.

That comment made me smile. So often I’ve had covers where any resemblance to the character(s) in the book is a nice surprise. I’m not talking about my headless heroine’s covers either, though I always liked them because at least they didn’t NOT resemble the heroine in the book. <g>

The reason the cover matches the girl in The Laird’s Bride is because the book is self-published, which means I communicated directly with the cover designer (Kim Killion). I told her exactly what I wanted — the girl, the castle in the background, and so on. I sent her some images  to give her an idea, but of course she didn’t use any of them because they were all licensed. They were just for inspiration.

She sent me a draft, and then we tweaked it a bit until I was happy. Some of the things we tweaked was the color of the shawl and the girl’s eyes  — if you’ve read the story you’ll know the significance of that— the color of her hair, the water in the background and the overall mood of the story — I didn’t want it looking too gloomy. I also didn’t want it looking medieval, because so many Scottish stories are set in that time, whereas The Laird’s Bride is set in the early 1800’s.

This kind of direct communication can only happen because with self-publishing, I am in charge.  With my other books, published by Berkley, I’m part of a chain of communication. I explain to the editor what I’d like on the cover — a description of the heroine and hero (though heroes never seem to make it onto my covers) and suggestions for what the heroine is wearing.  I also attach some location images. 

She passes it on, but from then on it’s more of a group decision — the Art Dept and the Marketing Dept  and who knows who else. And they decide what they think would work best. I’ve given up hoping for those covers to fit the story in the way The Laird’s Bride (and also my self-published Christmas Bride novella) did, but they’re almost always pretty covers that will appeal to readers, so I’m happy.

Quite often, as they did with The Heiress’s Daughter, they give me the choice of two covers. This time it was a very difficult choice to make. One cover was the one you see below (which was the one in the jigsaw — thanks to all those who tried it).  In the other the cover girl was wearing a dress that was more accurate in Regency terms, but it wasn’t as lively a scene. (Sorry, but I can’t show you that cover.) So I chose the livelier cover with the slightly more modern style of bride dress.

(And by the way, you, the readers of this blog, are the first people to see the cover. I’ll be sending out a newsletter later today with it, and then at the end of the week I’ll post it on social media and after that Berkley will share it. So thank you for subscribing to this blog.

What do you think of the cover? 
And did you try the jigsaw puzzle? Did you enjoy it or did you give up?

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Priscilla Payne
Priscilla Payne
10 months ago

The cover is lovely. I also loved the Lairds Bride cover and story. I did try the puzzle but gave up before I finished it. Very clever idea though.

Anne
Anne
10 months ago

Thanks, Priscilla — yes, if I make another jigsaw I’ll have a lot fewer pieces so it’s not so hard.

Margot
Margot
10 months ago

I like that cover and yes, I did the puzzle but at one point I had to sneak a look at the cover image you added in that message so I could complete it. I enjoy hearing how covers are determined. I know that self-publishing lets you have so much more control over the finished book. I am always pleased to buy books that are from self-published authors as they know what they want the cover to look like. I have The Laird’s Bride on order. I have enjoyed my three trips to Scotland. I feel so much at home… Read more »

Anne
Anne
10 months ago
Reply to  Margot

Thanks, Margot. I think Scottish romances appeal to a lot of us, just because we’re a bit familiar with the culture and so feel at home, even if we don’t have any Scots blood. I hope you enjoy The Laird’s Bride.

Ginny Winfree
Ginny Winfree
10 months ago

I love the cover on The Laird’s Bride. I could picture her perfectly in my mind. I loved it being set in Scotland. My only complaint is that ended too soon. I wanted more! The new cover is also lovely. I tried to do the jigsaw puzzle, but knew when I went into it that jigsaws are NOT my strong point. I couldn’t even match one piece. I can’t wait for the new book to come out. I pre-order them as soon as I’m given the chance. Thank you so much for sharing your God-given gift. Blessings to you and… Read more »

Anne
Anne
10 months ago
Reply to  Ginny Winfree

Thanks so much Ginny — I’m so glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t as long as you’d liked. Somebody else told me they wished I’d written an epilogue, and I don’t really know why I didn’t, because I usually do. Oh well, too late now. Once a book is published, that’s it for me, otherwise I’d spend my life tweaking books rather than writing new books.

Malvina Y
Malvina Y
10 months ago

I think this is a lovely, frothy, romantic cover! Full of flowers and light, and a gorgeous frock and jewellery that makes it so very special. Love it, congratulations, it makes for a very special bride. Can’t wait to read it.

Malvina Y
Malvina Y
10 months ago
Reply to  Malvina Y

P.S. I had fun with the jigsaw, although I confess it did take me a while….

Anne
Anne
10 months ago
Reply to  Malvina Y

Thanks, Malvina, I’m so glad you like it. As for the jigsaw, yes, I think I chose too many pieces. Next one I make will have fewer pieces and will be easier for people.