Thursday, September 12, 2013

How Book Covers are Made

I'm thrilled that my book cover for ANY WITCH WAY just made it as a finalist in the EPIC Awards! Why? Well, here's what most people don't realize...


When time came to submit my very first "Manuscript Information Sheet" for my first novel, DESPITE THE GHOSTS, I was shocked to discover this was the only information the cover artist would see when making my cover. This one-pager, fill-in-the-blank-style sheet was the only detail I got to provide for what would be the face of my novel forever!

"What?!" I gasped to my editor, "They aren't required to, like, READ my book first?"

"Nope," my editor said, then followed with some very true words, "The writer's job is to write the novel. Our job, along with the cover artist, is to sell it. And we know what sells."

Since my first novel's cover got such great reviews, I've learned to trust the system. But, when it came time to submit the manuscript info sheet for ANY WITCH WAY, I was very specific. Here's what I asked for on my one-pager that was sent to The Wild Rose Press cover artist assigned to me:

  • heroine had long dark hair, blue eyes, dressed in contemporary clothes.
  • I described in full detail my Wiccan hero, Joshua, going so far as to paste links to Sully Erna and Josh Groban (The two guys that inspired my hero--and yes, I realize how very different the singers are, musically speaking. I've got elclectic tastes.) and had envisioned him in a black, hooded robe as he wears in the restaurant scene (before performing the delectable "Five Fold Kiss" on Lily).
  • Setting in a forest of bare/autumn-like trees, filtered by moonlight
  • Asked if something funky and Wiccan-like could be done with the title.
  • Asked NOT to put a pentagram on the cover, as it might turn-off potential readers.

Thank God the cover artist (the incredible Rae Monet) ignored most of what I asked for!

So, while my hero isn't on my cover, you can't see all of my heroine and there is a big, ghostly pentagram
smack in the middle of the was perfect! So far, it has finaled in two contests, and I've had reviews by readers who ONLY picked up the book because it had the pentagram on the front.

Go figure.

 And now, I await my cover for my third novel, DESPITE THE FANGS. And I gave detailed instructions. Which I hope they ignore. :)

Happily My Ever After,

Curious to see who I based my hero, Joshua, on in my novel, ANY WITCH WAY? Click here for some scrumptious pics and insider info.


  1. I've been pretty lucky with my covers so far. I have found small press publishers to be more accommodating to changes than traditional NY pubs where you have little or no say on the covers.

    1. You've got GORGEOUS covers, Nancy! I love the hottie on your "Warrior Prince" cover. Uh, yummm!!! :) And all of your mystery covers are so eye-catching ("Highlights to Heaven" and "Dead Roots" especially).

  2. Congratulations, it is a very striking cover. Wishing you much success

    1. Thanks, Leanne. You, too! Your blog and website are all on the 'write' track. Well done, including all of your news clippings and such. Check out my query letter posts if you're ever stuck on how to include those gems in your future query letters. I was in exactly the same place five years ago! :)

  3. I love the cover for "Any Witch Way". The pentagram also drew me in first, followed quickly by your heroine's face. I think the whole outcome was just gorgeous and mysterious! No wonder it has finaled in two contests!

    I am learning how authors don't have much say, but I also gave the illustrator a very detailed description of my ebook Hurricane Crimes, the characters, and what I envisioned. So I am very anxious to see how it comes out! :D

  4. Thanks, Chrys. :) I can't wait to see your "Hurricane Crimes" debut book from TWRP, either! I think the first cover is always the most exciting. I about peed my pants when I first saw "Despite the Ghosts"--I was so excited to see my name officially on a book. :) Your day will be here, soon--please drop me a line when it's released! Best of luck!

  5. great post! I love the covers TWRP has done for me, and it's true, they know the business!

  6. Thanks, Kathryn! Glad you stopped by. Your cover for "Siver Lake" is gorgeous--and I love that your heroine's name is Rain. How lovely! :)

  7. It's such a great cover, Dylan! And congrats on the contests!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I hope the post helps as you go through your manuscript information sheet from TWRP! :) It's exciting...and scary all at the same time, but you'll be fine!