Help Choose Cover Art for Next Book

Dear friends, in-laws, out-laws, readers, and family, it’s time again to help an author choose cover art. This cover is for book 3 in the Compass Crimes Series. In this suspense/crime series, each book features a strong female protagonist whose life is turned upside down by a crime. In South of Justice, newlywed Terri Pinehurst-Clayton struggles to uncover the truth after her husband, an FBI agent, is arrested for kidnapping. Should she believe the mounting evidence against her husband or her heart? In North of the Killing Hand, Nefi Jenkins witnesses her parents murder and is forced to move in with relatives in the U.S. she has never met to begin a new life. The series of stories are linked by the relationships of the characters whose lives intersect because of the crimes. The main characters in one story have smaller roles in other stories.

Sooooo, here we go with the back cover blurb to give you an idea about the story that the cover art needs to fit. It also has to attract readers to open the book. This is a 95-thousand-word suspense novel set in southern Florida.

Back Cover Blurb

Martina Ramos takes a six-week job as a body double so a pop star can hide from the media and fans while in rehab. When Martina learns she’ll be paid to attend VIP events in Monte Carlo, London, Paris, New York, and Miami in the company of the singer’s handsome baseball player boyfriend, it sounds too good to be true.

It is.

All these amazing, beautiful choices come from the the artists who crafted the covers of books 1 and 2.

Cover Art Candidates

cover art candidate 1 for West of Famous

Cover art candidate 1


cover art candidate 2 for West of Famous

Cover art candidate 2


cover art candidate 3 for West of Famous

Cover art candidate 3


cover art candidate 4 for West of Famous

Cover art candidate 4

To get the branding right, I’m supposed to maintain a similar look for books within the series. For comparison, here are the covers for books 1 and 2 in the series. On each book, a compass needle points in the direction suggested in the title. I used words to label the headings because 180 Degrees of Justice just didn’t have a great ring to it. Same with 360 Degrees of the Killing Hand. Bleech. North by Northwest is already taken by Hitchcock, but still, I figure if the series really takes off, there are 360 compass headings…

cover art for book South of Justice shows woman walking into fog on a bridge

ISBN 978-0-9972575-2-6

Tempted by Cover Art

I confess. I have bought books because the cover intrigued me, or amazed me. The rich, saturated blues of Julianne MacLean’s The Color of Heaven begged me to buy it. The Soul Thief by Kim Richardson has the haunting image of a woman lifted high above the background of a city. National Book Award winner The Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins reminds me of my favorite faith scripture and has a beautiful, multilayered cover with a black and white background and a colorful floral foreground framing the title. Had to have it. I picked up a teen fantasy novel by Kristin Bailey at a writer’s convention because the cover art of Legacy of the Clockwork Key moved me to find out the story behind the mechanical bird flying over London at night.

Your Opinion Matters

If you have a reason why you prefer one cover over the others, go ahead and explain. I’d love to know your reasons. Artwork elicits emotional and intellectual reactions. Cover art is a mysterious art form to me. Please have mercy and mark your choices in a comment on my website instead of on the various social media sites where my blog appears. I want to tally the votes in one place and not have to figure out duplicates.

Cover art matters. It matters even more when the author, like me, has little or no name recognition, so thank you, thank you for your help. Thank you for showing me which cover you like and why you like it. I’ll reveal the winner when the publication date is set for West of Famous. If you want to add your email to my newsletter list, well, then you’ll know when the next book comes out. Click on this link to receive the newsletter and a little something extra:  Get the Newsletter.

Thank You for Cover Art Votes

Thank you, friends, for your feedback on the cover art choices. It has been enormously helpful! My favorite was the



glove on the compass rose (#4) because it grabbed me and perfectly fit the crime aspects of the story. For branding purposes, this one would be the easiest to repeat for the rest of the compass points (North, East, and West) which are in the titles of the rest of the series. It would be simple to carry over the compass rose with different objects or symbols from each story planted on it. I also treasure the simplicity of the cover. The downside of this arresting graphic is that it suggests a story with more gore, or grisly elements than my story portrays. The story is suspense with elements of romance with a strong female lead. Will readers who would love the story be put off by the gruesome image? One author friend quipped, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Hmmm. Certainly don’t want to even hint that this story relates to the O.J. Simpson trial.



I also liked cover #6 with the woman in the flight jacket facing the bridge. Her reddish hair glows, drawing the eye upward and the compass rose is subtle. Can you see it in the words of the title? My heroine is a veterinarian who has a private pilot’s license. Talk about your overachievers! As a private pilot, I noticed the jacket. I also liked the layering of the condensation on the left, as if the woman is being watched through a window. The lush colors attract the eye, but the image didn’t fit the story enough.

My second favorite was #1 with the woman walking over a bridge toward the light with a partial compass rose at the top of the image. The story is told primarily from the point of view of a strong woman caught in a situation in which she has to discover the truth of who her husband is. Is he a criminal at heart who committed a brutal crime in his youth or is he the great man her heart trusts? The red fog suggests blood in a far more subtle way than the bloody glove, while it attracts rather than repels female readers. For this reason, and because it is a beautiful, intriguing image, I agree with the majority votes. Number 1 it is.

cover art for book South of Justice shows woman walking into fog on a bridgeThe book will be available in May. If you would like to be reminded when the pre-buy link and the print and eBook versions are available, add your email to the “Subscribe to Book News” form on this website. I will only notify you when one of my books is available or to vote on cover art–I WILL NOT clog your inbox no matter how excited I am to get this book in your hands.

Thank you, thank you, to the brilliant and talented cover artists at Because people do judge a book by its cover, your work is a key link between authors and readers. Thank you!

 South of Justice (Compass Crimes)