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What's in a Cover?

I’m so pleased with the cover of my May book, Nothing Like a Duke. Did you see the cover reveal at USAToday? It’s a new look for me, and the colors are gorgeous. The Sourcebooks art department has outdone itself on this one. I like it both because it’s beautiful, and because I know how a cover can draw readers to give a book a chance.
Which led me to wonder, what attracts me to a shelf in a bookstore or a page online and makes me want to check out a particular title? There’s a bit of magic about design, I think. The whole-greater-than-its-parts that just makes you reach for the book. As my artistic friends over at Corvid Design say, “You can't just throw a couple of figures in there, slap a title on it and go.”
Color is obviously important, and especially the combination of colors that catches the eye amid the many choices offered. Do art schools have classes on that kind of thing? Probably. I was always over in the English Department. : )
Once the color has grabbed me, I need a clue to the genre, of course. And a sense of the mood of the story. Those lead me to read the cover copy, a step along in the decision process.
Then there are the little details that enrich the image. Did you notice the fireworks on the cover of Nothing Like a Duke? Subtle, but up there. The big finish of Lord Robert’s romance comes on Guy Fawkes Day, under a sky lit by pyrotechnics. I'm so glad that bit is pictured.
So what have I left out? What elements of a cover latch onto you so you just have to look?



  1. I'm drawn to covers that pose a question. Why is he doing this? Why is she doing that? What is going to happen next? Titles can have this quality too. I think one or both of those elements in a book make for big sales.


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