Obssessing Over Book Covers

We’re pretty sure this is a Western scrub jay. He likes to hang out in the tree in our back yard. Apparently he likes to eat small animals and large insects. Check out these wicked talons:


I’ve been working on my art fact sheet for Rogue’s Pawn, so images are on my brain. Carina has a great system for developing covers. They send us this very detailed fact sheet to fill out, that the cover artist will then use. They ask for things like mood, visual hook, main character descriptions, major visual elements. You can also attach images to give the artist a feel.

I’ve been screwing around with it for a couple of days now, off and on. This is a slow turnaround for me. I start to spin on that perfectionistic procrastination. The cover is so important – what do I say that will get me the PERFECT COVER?? Somewhere deep in my subconscious is the idea that I can manipulate fate, like if I feed the coins into the slot machine in exactly the right order and pull the arm just so, the cherries will ring up and I’ll win the grand prize and be thin, rich, young and happy for the rest of my life.


Yeah, so – sorting through all the neurotic hopes and dreams and wild expectations is part of it. The rest is finding ways to take the images in my head and convey them to somebody else. I also know that I am not a graphic artist, nor a marketing genius, so I don’t want to inundate the people who with mountains of extraneous information and images.

I mean, wicked talons mean something to me, and are a recurring image in the book, but is this picture really relevant?

Oh yes, yes, yes, cackles that voice inside. Plus this and this and this.

See? My cover artist will hate me.

In the end, it’s always about letting go. Giving up control. Detaching from the things that simply don’t matter.

It’s one cover, for one book. Nobody will live or die by it. I know this.

Still, I think I should include the talon pic, don’t you?

7 Replies to “Obssessing Over Book Covers”

  1. Include it! Include everything! How will they know how to do it right if you don’t tell them EVERYTHING?

    I got my cover fact sheet two days ago. It’ll be my first cover ever. I’m freakin’ out, so right there with you. Why does every single step feel like The Most Important Thing?

    1. LOL, Rachel – you made me laugh with this. Yes! We must tell them EVERYTHING! I suppose every step feels like the Most Important Thing because we care so much. That’s not a bad thing.

  2. Obsessing over covers reminds me of working with Carina on my novella “Three Wishes”. I could *see* my dream cover. It was all romantic Mediterranean with blue sky, blue sea, white walls, pink bougainvillea, you know that style of dentists’ surgery painting. Instead, I got the world’s hottest most awesome cover in warm tones of romance, all secretive and sensual and red! Cover artists are way visually smarter than cliched me 🙂

    But, include the talon pic!

    1. I know what you mean, Jenny – the cover for “Sapphire” was nothing like I pictured. And yet so many readers have said they picked it up because of the cover. Smart, smart cover artists!

      (I totally included the talon pic.)

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