The Making of a Book Cover

As most of you know, authors have little or nothing to say about the cover design for their books. I am very fortunate that my publishers have always listened to my comments and have adjusted their artwork accordingly. Here is what happened earlier this month when the publisher sent me the cover art for my next book.

This is what they sent. murder-in-disguise-1

It’s a beautiful cover, one I would love to have if I had written a romance novel. I responded that I was disappointed because it was so similar to the previous book’s cover (also shades of brown featuring a girl wearing a cloche hat) and because the cheerful smile on the pretty lady looked seemed more suited to a romantic romp than a murder mystery.

Next they sent this, a cover that had been developed at the same time but was their second choice. I preferred it over the pretty girl cover because it was 1) different, 2) red and black are good mystery/thriller colors. But when I showed it to 3 people, only one of them could identify the round thing. One person thought it was a part of a gun; another thought it was a gear. Can you tell what it is? It’s a film reel. I was similarly perplexed by the reddish thing on the right, which at first I thought was a rosebud. Only later did I see a hat. I expressed my concerns.murder-in-disguise-2-revised

So they sent this version, where you can see a bit of film looping from the reel and where the man in the hat is sharper and carrying a gun. This is good for another reason: the story begins with the shooting death of a silent-film projectionist in a movie theater in the Roaring Twenties. I’m very happy with the final results. So . . . what do you think? Is it a compelling cover? (P.S. The book is due for release August 1.)



Published in: on February 5, 2017 at 1:13 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I totally agree. The first cover has the woman looking to beautiful almost present day. Look at the photo of the bootleggers. Now that is more typical of what a 20s girl would look like

  2. I totally agree that the 3rd version is best. It is mysterious, obviously not of today, gives a hint as to setting (movies and bad guys with guns.) I love the smoke. Being a “senior citizen,” I recognized the film reel and the hat (we had reels of 8mm in my family and men don’t wear hats any more, do they?)

  3. The end product is great!

  4. I’m with you every step of the way on this one Mary. Panning out on the second cover to show more of the film reel and the man clarifies what we are seeing, includes key parts of the story and the “smoke” says “mystery”. Great choice. So glad they asked for, and listened to your opinion on this. I’ve asked my public library to order Renting Silence and I can’t wait for its arrival. Looking forward to Murder in Disguise as well. Can’t wait to see what Jessie is up to now.

  5. I agree, the third is the best choice for a murder-mystery. The first is nice and I like the inclusion of the film strip sprocket holes on the sides, but as you say it’s more appropriate for a romance. I’m lucky in that my publishers are quite responsive to cover art requests.

  6. I agree with your comments, the third one is the best choice. I thought the film reel was a gun barrel also. Can’t wait to read this next one!

  7. Third, definitely! It’s much more evocative. I can almost hear the film projector sound and the smoke and armed man give it a Raymond Chandler feel.

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