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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Show Me the Cover!

One of the most fun—and most nerve-wracking, hair-pulling—parts of publishing is designing the book’s cover. In one glance, the cover must convey the essence of the story, attract a reader and offer a hint of the story’s genre and nature.

Asking much?

My latest book releases next month, so today I decided to share the process from the first ideas all the way through to a cover reveal.

So About the Money is a fun, amateur sleuth, more traditional mystery than cozy. The cover needs to be light rather than dark and suspenseful—although, of course, there’s an element of suspense in Holly and JC’s story—and it must focus on Holly, the heroine, rather than a clenched couple, since the romance is an element, a subplot rather than the central story.

No pressure.

I started scrolling through online retailers, studying other people’s covers. I liked a few of the newer amateur sleuth and light women’s fiction books. They had a muted background, a featured story element rather than a more typical “scene” or couple.  Hmm, something new, I considered. 

I searched the image sites, looking for stock photos that could bring the story elements to life. Hundreds, thousands, of photo images later, I found possibilities: a business woman (Holly) and a cash-filled briefcase (remember my tag line? Mystery with a Financial Twist; Trust Issues, Family Bonds). I included assorted hands reaching out to “lift’ some of that cash and then went to town with possible combinations of those elements.

Let me be the first to admit my Photoshop skills are very, very limited.

After arranging my chosen elements into a mock-up, I turned to the fonts.
So About the Money
So About the Money
So About the Money

Too heavy, too thin, too frivolous, too hard to read…

Finally I had some ideas. I imposed on a few trusted friends and sent them this:

They didn’t say they hated it, but they politely suggested that I keep thinking about the cover.

I took another hard look. The cover was cluttered and simply didn’t “work.” 

I removed the cash-filled case and added few “currency” rectangles fluttering from her briefcase and packed the result off to my cover designer.

She hated it.

She found the background “dated” and the cover “flat.”

She suggested this:
I hated it. 

It didn’t pop to my uneducated eyes and the “cash” was distracting. The title was too hard to read. 

We went back and forth, adding and subtracting.

What if we change the briefcase? Make it red? I suggested.

What if I take out the bank note under your name, she said?  Make the font black?

Collaboration is the name of the game. :)

So without further ado (that is, without boring you with the intervening versions),  I give you the cover reveal: 

What do you think? 

So About the Money releases in November. Additional vendors are "to come", but the book is currently available for preorder from Amazon.


Sandy Parks said...

Fun to see how the process unfolded. You put out the idea and then the designer ran with it. Worked out pretty well and you ended up with a great product. I definitely like the last two better. :)

Natalie Damschroder said...

I always love seeing the evolution of a cover! Thanks for sharing the process. And I, too, really like the final version. :)

Anne Marie Becker said...

Love the red briefcase. :) And the money conveys intrigue and hints at the story. I love seeing how you started and where you ended up! Thanks for sharing your process. :)

jean harrington said...

Yes, the red brief case was an inspiration. Like the action of the fluttering bills too. Ditto for the color scheme. Best of luck with your new release!

Marissa Garner said...

Wow! What an interesting process. And so scary because the cover is so important. Congrats on the new release!

Marcelle Dubé said...

What fun! Well done, Cathy. I know coming up with a cover can be daunting, but it's so creative, too. Best of luck with the release.

Cathy Perkins said...

Thanks y'all! Sharing those early versions was a huge leap of faith for me (sharing that process!) but staying flexible and open to how to make things better works in so many areas. :)

Lisa Q. Mathews said...

Cute cover, Cathy! The long design journey was worth it. Love the black, white, and red--but you had me at the shiny red shoes.

Ed Hoornaert said...

Thanks for sharing your process. The final design is, IMHO, the best of the lot!

Brooke said...

Oh, thank you for sending the link to this post! It is so interesting to see how the gorgeous end result evolved. It was worth every step along the way... Truly a beautiful cover! Cannot wait to read the story inside.

Pat Amsden said...

The end result is worth it. It definitely pops and I've read your books. This sounds like a great read.

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