Although we are told not to judge a book by its cover, I must admit it’s something I very often do. And I’m certain a great many other people do so as well. Since cover artwork is one of the most important tools for selling your book, it’s very important to make sure the design is as perfect a representation of the book as possible.
My medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, began its public life as a serial novel, published in e-book format in three installments. Therefore, I had three chances (now four) to grab the reader’s attention.
I had the great good fortune to find a wonderful cover designer who worked very hard to give me covers closest to my vision. We decided that the whole series should have the same look: jewel colors at top and bottom (different colors for each book), the font in a medieval style with embellished first letter, and the main characters of each novella represented.
The cover for the first book, Betrothal, turned out beautifully. There was a bit of emailing back and forth, trying to find the perfect picture for the character Alyse, but the one we finally settled on looked just as I’d envisioned the lady. The second cover, Betrayal, took a bit more trial and error; the characters came together on the first try, but the background picture between them took a long time to figure out. We settled on a ship, because a major part of the book takes place on board a ship bound for France. And the third cover, for Beleaguered, my designer hit out of the park on the first try. She didn’t have to change a thing.
Unfortunately, the print cover for Time Enough to Love, was a completely different matter. I wanted to break the mold, so to speak, and change from the look of the e-books. I had picked out an old print of a medieval castle that I wanted as background, with the same medieval lettering, and an oval with the faces of the three main characters in it.
In my mind this would have looked spectacular. In execution, however, it never came up to the mental image I had of it. My designer gave me several different versions of it, but it simply didn’t look right. She also did one mock-up using the same sort of format from the e-books and used pictures of the characters from each of the previous covers. The result was a very sleek cover that represented the work exceedingly well. The castle even made it in on the back cover, giving the whole a very medieval flavor. I was concerned that one of the characters looked too fierce, but after checking out another picture of him, and a lot of back and forth in my own mind, I chose the original design with the fierce or stern picture.
I believe this cover does give the reader a good representation of the characters they will meet inside the covers, and I hope they enjoy looking at it half as much as I do.
Jenna’s giving one (1) lucky commenter an ecopy of TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE. What draws you to a cover & do you judge? Come on, you can tell us…:)
When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.