Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The importance of a book cover that tells your story

Everyone knows the importance of a good-looking book cover, right? I thought I did too, until recently.

A few months ago, I was contacted by a German woman running a book review blog. She wanted me to know that she was posting about "Bound for Eternity," my second book in the Lisa Donahue series. She liked the story and the writing, but found the cover inadequate. I wrote her to ask why, and she told me that although the cover design was fine, the mummy image on the cover (perfectly intelligible to me) looked like "garbage" or a pile of rags to her. I had to admit she was right--to people who hadn't worked with that mummy and known that the deteriorated head contained the remains of a face portrait, it DID look like a pile of rags. Here is the old cover:

Lesson learned. I needed to step back from that project, where I'd been obsessed by the content, and look at the book through the eyes of someone who'd never seen it before. I needed a new cover that was instantly recognizable as a mummy in a museum, a cover that referenced the mystery within. "Bound for Eternity" is the story of an archaeologist who discovers that a clue contained in an Egyptian mummy will help her solve a murder in her Boston museum. The new cover, designed by Josue Atibalentja of NewgenIT (a brand new computer consulting business) and my daughter Emily, does a much better job of telling my story. Here is the new cover:

I liked the new cover so much that when Josue send me an alternate image, I asked if I could use it for the novella form of the longer book. That shorter work, in a Kindle version only, is called" Mummy Dearest." Here is the new cover: