My Books, Writing

A Book Cover Designing Problem

If you design your own book cover, you may encounter many problems. Being too close to the story is one of those. If you’re too emotionally involved, you might not be able to envision the best cover design. I know. I didn’t initially design the best cover for my novel An Illusion of Trust. (See the ebook cover in detail and the full print cover here.)

An Illusion of TrustBut today I’m proud to show you the beautiful new cover. Even though I designed it, I can say it’s beautiful without feeling immodest because the photo I chose did most of the heavy lifting.

I found that photo at a stock photo site a year before I published An Illusion of Trust. One look took my breath away because, to me, it portrayed the sweet beauty and fragility of Renee, the book’s main character. I stored the comp image on my computer, planning to buy the real thing when it came time to design the cover.

Fast forward six months. I’d finished writing and editing the manuscript and sent it to my beta readers. This time I hadn’t had the benefit of running the manuscript through a critique group, so I was unusually anxious as I hit that send button. And when the betas returned their feedback, it became obvious not every reader would be as sympathetic toward Renee as I’d hoped.

As I went through more rounds of revision > beta > revision, I also worked on designing the cover. But feeling that I’d written a darker story than intended, I designed a dreary cover. Every day after that, I looked at that cover and hated it. So a couple of months after publication, I changed it a bit. I hated the cover a little less, but it still depressed me. Even when it was nominated for an award.


I didn’t want to promote the book.  I hated to even think about it. A few times, I decided to unpublish it. But each of those times, a positive review or private message changed my mind. When a reader tells you how much they identified with Renee, or that her story made them cry, or that they stayed up way past their bedtime to finish reading, then you know you wrote a book that deserves to be published.

And if it deserves to be published, it deserves the best cover you can provide.  Now, I’ve done that. And I’m finally smiling.


Books, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Publish

Do you judge a book by its cover?

We’re told not to judge a book by its cover. Then again, we’re told how important first impressions are. Hmmm. Well, when I scroll through a list of books online, it’s their covers that make a first impression, and I do judge them. If a cover is not well designed, or doesn’t fit the tone or genre of the book, it’s not the best cover for that book.

Do you see that book cover there on the right? It’s about to change, which I guess makes that cover a collector’s item. I designed that cover with my own artwork. It’s not horrid, but it really only makes sense after you read the book. In that sense, it’s a fail. It also doesn’t make the genre clear. Fail. I did the best I could, but I didn’t really understand the job a book cover plays in selling the book.

This is not just my opinion. Four graphic designers told me the same thing. One of those designers is also a friend, and she offered to help. She doesn’t design full time—she’s also an author—but I’d seen covers she designed for herself and others and thought they were all beautiful, so I said, “Heck yeah!”

I’d never worked with a designer before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I confess I’m not always easy to work with. I’m a perfectionist. I worried about how much I might bug her with my nitpicking, but so far we’re still friends. 🙂 Now we’re down to the fine-tuning, and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

The new cover is GORGEOUS!!! She took the two stock photos I selected, added another, and created a cover beyond my dreams. I can’t wait to share it with you.

So tell me:  When you’re faced with a screen filled with small cover images of books you know nothing about, do you judge those books by their covers, or do you read the description of each one?