A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Anatomy of a Cover

The Anatomy of a Cover


Guess who said, “There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”?

            Charles Dickens

 It’s probably safe to assume Charlie wasn’t referring to his own novels. A shakier assumption is that he never heard the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Maybe not, but as long as book buyers do, covers matter.

 So I was delighted when my publisher asked me for cover advice for the soon-to-be-released Listed and Lethal Series. To increase reader recognition, we wanted a theme--a recognizable thread--to span the series. 

 Since the books deal with real estate as well as murder, each cover will feature a house typical of the one where a killing takes place. In the foreground, the silhouette of a young woman, armed and ready to shoot, ups the menace. Though the image of the house and the woman’s pose change from story to story, a version of both appears on each cover. Also the font remains the same, and is set in the same position: Listed and Lethal Series on top, title in the middle and author’s name at the bottom.

 For the first book, Murder on Pea Pike, the killer strikes in a rural log cabin. The season is summer, and yellow diamonds play a role in the plot. Hence a color scheme of green, yellow, and brown with pops of white.

 The next step was to choose an appropriate background house. That proved challenging. Most available cabin shots didn’t fit the book’s description or were more horizontal than vertical.  Then we found the following image, and a clever cropping—at the roofline on the left and at the porch edge on the right—gave us the needed shape. And luckily, the cabin had been photographed in high summer.


         So far, so good.

 Now for the girl. Poised in front of the cabin, gun in hand, she’s big and imposing, ready to strike at anybody who gets in her way.

 So we’ve nailed the setting, the season, the danger, the colors, the series tag line, the title and the author. And here’s the finished product. Ta da!



        On September 1, 2017, Murder on Pea Pike will be available in trade paperback and in multiple eBook formats at and Also on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Overdrive. In fact, even as we speak, it can be preordered on Amazon. 


Anne Marie Becker said...

Love it when the cover echoes the contents so efficiently. ;) The new series looks great!

jean harrington said...

Yes, a writing friend of mine wrote a romance years ago with a main character whose signature color was red. Her every dress in every important scene was a red one. When the book came out, the woman pictured on the cover wore yellow. My friend talks about that to this day. So, yes, covers should reveal the contents.

Karna Bodman said...

This series looks terrific - and your description of how a cover is inspired and developed was just great. Many people really DO judge a book by its cover - and that one is a winner!

Rita said...

Jean! Super Congrats. What a great cover. Wishing you many sales.

jean harrington said...

Thanks to all. A new baby is a cause for rejoicing!

Lynnette Hallberg said...

The cover is very intriguing, Jean, and I love the process that created it! I can't wait to read it!! I'm a big fan!

Kerryn Reid said...

The cover is great, but what I REALLY love is the tagline! "What happens when a hot property meets a cold corpse?" Doesn't get any better than that!

jean harrington said...

Lynn and Kerryn, Mucho thanks for your warm comments.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Congrats on the new series, Jean, and on the great cover!

jay gee said...

Cover says read me. Read me and enjoy the area, the great weather, and solve a mystery.
jay gee

Allan Dyen-Shapiro said...

Love the silhouetted young woman. Seems very James Bond (female version).

jean harrington said...

Thanks to jay gee, Alan, and everyone for their comments. It's nice to hear a friendly voice.

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