The cover of a book should never be underestimated, despite the famous adage. It’s the flagship for every book, the first thing that is seen on a bookshelf, whether that bookshelf is real or virtual. I think it’s even more important now in the world of ebooks since we are bombarded with book cover images every day.
The cover for my first novel, Rare Traits, was designed by a professional cover designer and I think he made a pretty good job of it. The concept reflected the basic concept of the novel: a thriller based on the life of a man, John Andrews, who is nearly six hundred years old. For the cover, a Renaissance painting was chosen to represent the man in the 15C and with a little adjustment in PS, the face in the painting was transformed into a 21C man. The two images are separated by a dramatic DNA double helix, something that is core to the novel. I must admit, was never totally happy with the 21C face, but it was a good start.
When the time came to sort out the cover for book II in the trilogy, Delusional Traits, I decided to stick to the original design concept but to do it myself. For Delusional Traits, I found a great 16C painting of a woman (the novel follows the life of John Andrews’ daughter Paola, born in 1518, through to the present day) and then I found a similar-looking face in a photograph of a 21C woman. The whole design worked very well which led me back to the Rare Traits cover: I needed a photo of a 21C man who would fit my idea and hopefully my readers’ idea of what John Andrews looks like. That search wasn’t nearly so easy and I must have looked at several thousand images on Shutterstock. I finally plumped for one that I admit I am still not 100% happy with, but it’s pretty good, and, I think, far better than the first one.
The images for both covers are below. The main idea for both the Rare Traits and Delusional Traits cover is now that if John Andrews for the Rare Traits cover dressed in 15C clothing and was painted by an artist of the time in the style of the time, then he should look like the painting on the left of the cover. The same applies to the Delusional Traits cover, except we’re looking at comparing the modern photo of Paola with a 16C painting of her.
Feedback for the new Rare Traits cover has been generally positive and it will be interesting to see if it captures any more sales.
I might revisit it when I sort out the cover for book III, Murderous Traits, but that is a few months down the line. For now, here are the covers. What do you think? Have you read either or both of the books? I’d be very pleased to see your comments either below or in an email to me from the contact page, if you would prefer.