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.
All these amazing, beautiful choices come from the Damonza.com the artists who crafted the covers of books 1 and 2.
Cover Art Candidates
Cover art candidate 1
Cover art candidate 2
Cover art candidate 3
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…
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 Keymoved 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.
Dear Friends and Readers–The second book in the Compass Crimes Series needs cover art. The wonderful cover artists at Damonza.com have sent three gorgeous choices and I can’t decide which to use. Help! Would you take a moment to vote of which of the choices you find the most interesting and representative of the story North of the Killing Hand? This is the second book in the Compass Crimes Series and it is a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Award Competition. North of the Killing Hand debuts in trade paperback and eBook on October 16. The first book in the series was South of Justice.
When book covers appear on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and iBooks the images are small, so first impressions matter. For marketing, the covers maintain a similarity of style. Each story can stand alone, but the characters overlap from one story to the next. The Compass Crimes Series combines the elements of the women’s fiction genre, the crime genre, and the suspense genre. You can read the beginning of North of the Killing Hand by clicking here. And this is the back cover copy for the story:
After Nefi Jenkins witnesses her parents’ murder in Brazil, she bonds with her American rescuers. They bring her to the U.S. to live with her relatives where she must adapt to a radically different lifestyle. She dedicates her life to law enforcement, in large part to impress Vincent Gunnerson, one of her rescuers. Meanwhile, her parents’ killer tracks her down, forcing Nefi to choose between the rule of law and the temptation of revenge.
The story takes place deep in the Amazon jungle in Brazil, then in a major U.S. city.
Please cast your votes by listing the covers by letter in the order of your favorite to your least favorite. If you have a minute to explain why you like your favorite, that helps too! Which cover begs you to pick it up and peek inside?
Thank you for your votes!
Thank you so much for making South of Justice a success! Every copy sold and every review feels like a hug to this debut author.
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.
The 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 Damonza.com. Because people do judge a book by its cover, your work is a key link between authors and readers. Thank you!