Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Birth of a Cover

Please welcome the new cover to book two in the Carolina Slade Mystery Series. This is the brand-new design for Tidewater Murder. The story takes place in Beaufort and St Helena Island, South Carolina. Yep, lots of water in this book - marsh, beach, and even deep water. That's all I'm saying for the moment. The book is due out in April, and I cannot wait!

I'm so glad I did not have the responsibility of this cover on my back. For those who don't know, The Carolina Slade Series is a traditionally published series through Bell Bridge Books out of Memphis, TN. I love my publisher. They decide on the cover. They might ask my feedback on color or if something in the picture isn't accurate, but for the most part, I get little say.

When you self-publish, you have all the say-so in the world in terms of the cover. That's a good AND a bad situation to me. I'm not sure my artistic eye is all that sophisticated. Authors assume they know best what to place on a cover. I'm glad the choice isn't totally mine to make.

The design clearly shows the beginnings of a brand. I love the format. Originally the stripe containing my name on this cover's proofs was green. I felt it too close to the Lowcountry Bribe cover, and when sitting on a bookshelf, the spines looked almost identical instead of as two separate books in the series. I know...who looks at a spine anymore. Well, I just didn't want to risk it, you know?

Also, I wanted a shrimp boat, but the publisher wanted a lighthouse. Down here in my neck of the woods, lighthouses mean North Carolina, and if you are from either state, you know that you do NOT confuse the two. The first lighthouse was striped, like a few NC lighthouses. The publisher listened to me, researched the fact there were 22 lighthouses in SC to determine it was safe to put a lighthouse on the cover, then researched THE lighthouse mentioned in the book to be accurate. The lighthouse then lost its stripes and became solid white.

It's amazing what goes into a cover. I'm humbled at what an artist does. And I'm grateful that I have a publisher that takes charge but with empathy with a writer's concern.  Good balance.

(I'll keep you updated on Tidewater Murder's release!)


21 comments:

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

Lovely cover, and yes it looks like the start of a brand.

I went indie with my novel but I'm lucky enough to have a brother-in-law who is a talented designer. You have to know your artistic limitations and I am well aware that I am incapable of designing a decent cover.

For some people who don't know their own limitations, check out the Lousy Book Covers website. It's an education in what not to do.
http://lousybookcovers.tumblr.com/

BECKY said...

Beautiful cover, Hope! I think it goes so well with your first book, too.

Karen said...

Great cover!!! Goes well with the Lowcountry Bribe cover.

Congrats on the upcoming release of your SECOND book. How cool is that?!?!?!

Katherine Crawford said...

The cover looks great--fits the land and emanates with a sense of mystery. Very cool!

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, y'all. It's growing on me.

Lyn Fairchild Hawks said...

Hope, great cover! Totally understand your concern about NC versus SC...As a NC resident, I concur: we live in vastly different states and lighthouses are a NC thing. That said, I didn't see NC at all in this cover: I see tidewater, and I see murk and mystery and danger afoot. The mood is there, and your readers will feel that edge from the first page. And "Murder" speaks volumes. :-)

I am working with a designer of the cover of my novel and what you say is true: THE RESPONSIBILITY! Fortunately, I have a team of great beta readers (friends and family) who are currently holding forth and assisting my non-designer's eye. I'm finding this culling through of varying opinions is very helpful...I hear opposite feedback from two people I trust, and I mull over that and then say, "What's my gut?" Then the designer will say what's feasible and what's not. I think the challenge for those of us who are wordsmiths but not visual artists is to not overcommunicate via images. I tend to want to suggest "the kitchen sink" of symbols while a designer knows that less is more.

Congratulations. Can't wait to get my copy.

Lyn

Hope Clark said...

Yes, Lyn, you DO get it. Actually I used to be an artist, but never studied it. Just from-my-gut stuff in charcoals, but I don't do that anymore. I bow down to the natural and practicing artists out there. I'd much rather paint in words, and I'll let the expert artists do my covers.

Audrey said...

Looks beautiful Hope...here's to another great book and good reviews!

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, Audrey. Here we go again!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Debra Dixon nailed book two Hope. Eerily awesome and I'm drawn right in. Congratulations!

Hope Clark said...

Yes, she sure did. It is quite compelling and I can't wait to see it on a book shelf beside the other book.

Loralee said...

Love the cover! Can't wait to read the book.

Sioux said...

Hope--I hope you have many of these challenges in the future--many instances where you fret over the cover--because that means there will be many more books in the series.

The color and the look of the cover is quite different from your first baby. It looks like a whole lotta of mystery is packed into this one. (I can't wait!)

Linda O'Connell said...

I like the name band and hope that is part of your brand. The color draws me right into this image which feels mysterious and compelling. Can't wait till your release date.

widdershins said...

Very cool cover ... the connection between the two is instant and obvious ... kudos to your cover artist for the work, and for listening to you.

Janet Hartman said...

I'm an NC resident, but the lighthouse did not make me think of that. I've been a water rat since my NJ childhood and now live on the NC coast, so coastal images on a cover always catch my eye. BTW, we have an all white lighthouse on Ocracoke, but you're right that most people only know the striped ones.

I liked Lowcountry Bribe and I'll definitely read Tidewater Murder.

Hope Clark said...

So happy to hear that the cover is doing its duty. My cover designer is a remarkable artist and has a knack for what works.

Valerie B said...

Hi Hope,

Love the cover! I actually like the lighthouse. If I saw the book in a bookstore the cover would make me grab it to see what it's about. Not quite sure a shrimp boat wold have done that. Can't wait to read it!

Hope Clark said...

The artist and editor stated that the lighthouse would be much more compelling. Guess they know what they are talking about!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Love the cover, Hope, and the branding really works!

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, Sparkle Abbey. It really does, and I couldn't be prouder.