Judging A Book By Its Cover: Summer 2014 Releases

One of the most common questions I see during our Book Banter events is, “How much say does the author have about what the cover looks like?” or “How are covers designed?”

Because of this, every season, I’ll post our upcoming book covers, along with a “sneak peak” inside Bethany House’s cover design process.

This Season’s Topic: Q&A With Our Creative Director!

Paul Higdon, our creative director, and an all-around great guy, answered a few of my questions about the covers for THE DREW FARTHERING MYSTERIES, by Julianna Deering.

Q: What are the challenges of creating an illustrated cover compared to a more traditional cover?

Rules of MurderA: Creating an illustrated cover can be much more challenging than a photographic and/or traditional cover because the latter is usually driven by photography that is already established, or can be more easily manipulated to suit a cover design. That’s not always the case, but pure illustrative covers require more leg work from the get-go because you’re creating imagery from a blank canvas, and that usually means more heavily involved steps. Finding an illustrator who is a good fit is also an unique challenge, and you have to be able to communicate in visual terms with them.
Q: About how much time does it take to design a cover like this?

Death by the BookA: Each cover varies in time and is unique to its story, setting, and list of characters. Death by the Book was a follow-up title to the first book, Rules of Murder. So there was some advantage when designing Death by the Book because we were able to pick up and continue a lot of the styles established on Rules of Murder.

Rules of Murder roughly took 50 hours, give or take, for art direction and design—composition, layout , typography. That included research, team discussions, Illustrator reviews, art direction, thumbnail sketches, type development, character development, image and inspiration research, and revisions/finessing to nail down an approved, final look.

Once the series was established the following titles average around 15-20 hours, give or take, of art direction and design. The actual artwork by John occurs separately from this process and each cover takes approximately 30 hours, using his computer illustration skills.

Q: Which of the three covers in the series do you like best, and why?

Murder at the MikadoA: This is tough. I honestly like all three covers for different reasons. Rules of Murder will always be a favorite, because it established the series look and feel. We were proud of the final results. Jeff, the designer, is also a huge car fan, so to be able to include a vintage car from the early part of last century was fun for him. Murder at the Mikado is also a stand out in my mind because of the layering, and slightly more abstract perspectives. It was also a fun challenge to depict the setting with a night scene. Because of the overall dramatic perspective I would have say that Murder at the Mikado is my favorite, so far.

And, without further ado, I present to you Bethany House’s summer 2014 books! Click on the picture of the book cover to learn more about the story.

May Releases

Gathering Shadows

Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

Here to Stay

Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

Meant to be Mine

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

11380 NEW Persecuted_mck.indd

Persecuted by Robin Parrish

Until I Found You

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

June Releases

Child of Mine

Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Moment in Time

A Moment in Time by Tracie Peterson

10948 StuckTogether_mck.indd

Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox

July Releases

Match of Wits

A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

Murder at the Mikado

Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

Captured by Love

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

August Releases

Miracle in a Dry Season

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

With Every Breath

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

So, how about you, readers? What do you like about these covers?

14 thoughts on “Judging A Book By Its Cover: Summer 2014 Releases

  1. They are all very different, but equally captivating. Karen’s cover seems to convey the personality of her previous books; witty and charming. Elizabeth’s cover is breathtaking, much like I expect that character will be. Carol’s cover color concentration is beautiful, Jody’s cover conveys a certain longing; so I am assuming that this young woman has deep desires. I love the Mehl cover in terms of the intrigue factor; so well done. I could say similar things about the others. I personally look forward to reading most, if not all!

  2. I personally don’t care for a cover to show the protagonist’s face/head. As I’m reading and getting in to the story line I like to create my own image of the protagonist. A cover picture of the protagonist often interferes with my ability to form my own mental picture. If the cover looks too simple or lovey dovey I immediately judge the story as being too one dimensional or simple and I’m not interested. I want a cover to draw my attention and curiosity to find out what is happening. I don’t want the cover to give away the ending before I even begin the book.

    • I know the feeling, Mary. Our authors provide our design team with descriptions of the characters and their personalities…but sometimes the model still looks different from what we were picturing!

  3. It’s so interesting to find out what goes into cover design on these books. I absolutely adore mine, especially the last one with my hero in a tux. Yes!! And it’s great to see what is coming up for other authors. I think my favorite is Miracle in a Dry Season. It looks like it’s from an old master’s painting. Lovely!

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Julianna Deering

  4. These covers belong in an art gallery. I could stare at them all day, in part because they’re so evocative. Makes me think, “Now what is that story about?”

    Courtney . . . I have to agree with you about the cover for Until I Found You (wink!). When I saw it for the first time, I was amazed at how perfectly it captures the story.

  5. The covers are attractive, captivating and inviting to step into the story. The wonderful covers invite readers to open the cover and read the great story.

  6. Pingback: Summer Reading Dos and Don’ts | Bethany House Fiction

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