For me, the part of having a book published most likely to cause nightmares is the cover. In the past, I’ve been lucky and have liked most of my covers. Some have been great and some have been okay. One, however, was downright vomit-inducing.
I must say here that I’d never had any input regarding covers. The publisher has decided what it wants and I wait to see what I get.
My experience with Carina Press was totally different and I was asked to provide details of any interesting visual elements in Presumed Dead. Dylan Scott drives a 1956 registered Morgan in Daytona Yellow which would have looked terrific, but misleading. I didn’t want people expecting a book set in the fifties and ending up with a contemporary mystery. Besides, while writing the book, I’d had the perfect cover design in mind. I thought the story would suit a dark, moody, atmospheric Northern landscape. I wanted something almost black and white with the missing woman, Anita Champion, in the red dress she’d been wearing on the night she disappeared, providing a splash of colour.
I tried to convey this to Carina’s art department and sat, chewing fingernails, to wait.
Meanwhile, I saw other Carina Press titles – and the artwork was stunning. Honestly, I haven’t yet seen a bad cover. I especially like Toni Anderson’s Sea of Suspicion, J. Wachowski’s In Plain View, Rebecca E Grant’s Liberty Star, Shannon Stacey’s Exclusively Yours – the list is endless. Those covers are all very different and yet they have one thing in common. They make me want to read the book.
Even Carina Press, I worried, had to produce a dud. Presumed Dead was going to be that dud, I just knew it.
I’d already seen the blurb and I’ll share that with you:
Dylan Scott has problems. Dismissed in disgrace from the police force for assaulting a suspect, he has no job, his wife has thrown him out and—worse luck—his mother has moved in. So when Holly Champion begs him to investigate the disappearance of her mother thirteen years ago, he can’t say no, even though it means taking up residence in the dreary Lancashire town of Dawson’s Clough for the duration.
Although the local police still believe Anita Champion took off for a better life, Dylan’s inquiries turn up plenty of potential suspects: the drug-dealing, muscle-bound bouncer at the club where Anita was last seen; the missing woman’s four girlfriends, out for revenge; the local landowner with rumored mob connections—the list goes on. But no one is telling Dylan all they know—and he soon finds that one sleepy Northern town can keep a lot of secrets.
That described the book perfectly – but it didn’t stop me worrying about the cover. Then the email arrived with the cover attached. Believe me, I needed coffee and chocolate (lots of it!) before I dared look. Then, taking a deep breath, I opened that attachment -
It’s the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen. And I mean ever. Yes, yes, I know I’m a little biased, but it’s everything I imagined and so much more. I love the scenery and the stunning sky. The missing woman, Anita Champion, in the red dress she was wearing on the night she disappeared, looks exactly as I imagined her. It’s just perfect.
What do you think? Is it or is it not the best cover you’ve ever seen?
So – do you judge a book by its cover? Or is it just me? Unless I’m after books by my “must-buy” authors like James Paterson, Ruth Rendell, Jodi Picoult, etc., I’m always drawn by the cover. I then read the blurb and make up my mind whether I buy or not. How do you choose your books? Are you like me and browse for new authors when the mood takes or do you have an organised wish-list for books? How much does the cover influence you? I’d love to know.
Thanks for stopping by. Just a reminder that I’m having a giveaway with prizes including a copy of Presumed Dead. You can find all the details here and I hope you’ll join in the fun.