Monday, April 29, 2013

Ghost of Lost Eagle...cover decisions.

At long last, my western/romance/paranormal GHOST OF LOST EAGLE is done! Edited five times, signed off by my beta readers and scheduled for release in May, this is book ONE in the Sweetwater Canyon Series.

I'm thrilled. This book was fun to write and challenged every writing rule I follow. Now, it's time to hand it over to readers and pray for the best. Am I confident? Hell no. I'm scared to death. I went out on a limb, blending western historical fiction with romance, by pairing an unlikely couple in a love-hate relationship. Then, I dragged them through attempted murder, a deadly accident and the emotional drain of a terminal illness.

Where's the paranormal? All this happens under the strange influence of the ghost who haunts nearby Lost Eagle Canyon. The Indian apparition and his minions, a lone wolf and a Cayuse Indian pony, change the lives of the main characters forever. Likewise, Mason Tucker, the butcher turned cowboy, discovers his destiny is somehow linked to the ghost through a shared spirit guide that he did not know he had.

All I need now is to settle on the cover art for my story. It's proving difficult. How do I summarize a complex story in a single cover picture? Pick one scene? Nope. A single scene leaves so much out . . . it's just not enough. How about a collage? Never was a fan of a bunch of mixed up pictures. They confuse me. Which theme do I promote? Western? Romance? Paranormal? How about all in a single picture?

Why is this cover so important? To me, a cover is like the first wink between strangers that will, hopefully, lead to a relationship. It needs to be special, to hint at possibilities. If it works, the immediate followup is the title, in essence, the title is a pick-up line. Sounds a lot like dating, huh? Title MUST be great. It is the author's first chance to impress a potential reader-mate with the writer's voice. Imagination expressed through the title suggests a theme and stimulates an image at the same time.

My final task on Ghost of Lost Eagle is to find that special cover art before my story takes the gut-punch jump into readerville. I worked with two graphic artists today without finding the magic. One said her idea was "good enough." Wrong! Compromise on the cover is not an option. It MUST meet my demand to "showcase" the story in a snapshot. Problem is, the release date is closing in like the due date on a pregnancy. It's going to happen.

Therein lies the theme of this blog. Authors wear many hats. Ultimately, it will be the personal drive of an author, me in this case, that produces the final cover. A writer's last, and possibly most critical, artistic decision is cover art. Beware, graphic artists, I am on a mission.

What ideas do you have for finding a good graphic artist? Any recommendation for one? And, what about selecting a scene? Collage? Critical scene? Setting scene?


  1. Dean,

    Covers don't need to depict a scene in the novel, but rather provide an image, and give a feel for the reader.

    You know as well as I do, if not more, that cover art is a marketing tool, to get the potential reader to look closer.

    Also, the cover has to work well as a thumbnail as well as a full-sized cover, including the titlework.

    I believe you'll need to have have the two primary characters on the cover, and somehow demonstrate it's a western...their dress could be enough. If it's action, have them on horseback, fleeing something, maybe looking back toward the danger, maybe one holding a revolver.

    Just an idea.

    Christine Griffin did the covers for my novels, and she's excellent to work with. I learned a lot about covers as she created those for Flank Hawk, Blood Sword and Genre Shotgun.

    You can find examples of her work here:

    1. As usual, Terry, you are a wealth of information and I deeply appreciate your contribution. I will contact Christine and see if she has good ideas for me.

      Thank you...Dean.

    2. Wow i learned something here about covers. I liked your no compromise on covers! Janie did not know what to click on for reply.

  2. Sorry, Dean, I should have included the link to an interview I did with Christine Griffin back in November 2012. It might give you a little insight about potentially working with her.

    1. I remember reading this blog. I should have bookmarked it for future reference...thanks again.


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