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Monday, January 17, 2011

CA Verstraete on the importance of covers.

I wanted to thank Delilah for hosting me today.

Appropriately, I wanted to talk about what makes a book, whether in print or e-book, attractive. The answer? The cover, of course.

Given that Delilah was the cover artist for my recent e-book, THE KILLER VALENTINE BALL, by C.A. Verstraete I thought it a good topic to talk about on her blog. And not just because she did a great job.

The key when working with a cover artist is cooperation. While I provided a short description, excerpt and suggested elements for her to use for the cover, I did learn a few things about how interpretation can be different.

Seeing as the book was set at a ball, with one scene highlighting the tables set up for a Valentine-themed party, her choice of artwork showing a table scene was perfect. What we differed on was a simple, but important element - the axe.

The axe, which is first seen wedged in the sign outside the location announcing THE KILLER VALENTINE BALL gives a kind of preview as to what the event is about. Valentine's Day, yes but with a darker edge, as my characters Jess and her date soon learn.

In describing such elements, it never dawned on me to specify what kind of axe to use for the graphic. Medieval? Ornate? Plain, utilitarian? So, the first axe was pretty eye-catching, but seemed out of place and too ornate for such an event. The choice of a plain, simple workman's axe solved the problem.

While it may not seem like a big deal, getting every element right and illustrative of the text not only makes the cover and book attractive, but serves as a visual cue as to what the story's about. It can be a plus, or a minus, as some authors find when something in the cover is wrong. Getting it right often means helping the artist see just what you had in mind for a specific scene. Or hopefully, it means getting lucky and getting an artist who is willing to make changes when the results are slightly off-the-mark.In the end, the book cover should be something that publisher, author and cover artist are proud to share, and readers will find compelling.



A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser? But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.


As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

On Sale - MuseItUp Publishing bookstore


  1. Thanks. I completely agree. I recently changed the cover for one of my books and since the makeover, it's really started moving up the sales charts. I've learned how important it is to have an idea in mind and to communicate that idea to the designer.

  2. Delilah is a master artist. I did the cover blog for your book and actually the first 18 based solely on what the covers told me...and if I remember correctly...that was a while ago, you C.A. told me I got the gist of your story...Lea also told me I hit the mark so often she began wondering if I'm psychic. Am I? I can't answer that...that would be TELLING.

    Just Me ;)


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