Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A Peek Behind The Covers

by Deborah Hale

I’ve been hard at work on Art Fact Sheets recently for the book I just turned in. AFS are questionnaires that
authors fill out with to help the publisher’s art department come up with a cover that will suit the story and attract readers.  They used to be paper forms authors filled out and mailed in.  Now they’re drop-down menus on a special website with lists of popular story themes like “Marriage of Convenience”, “Fictitious Fiancé” and “Kidnapped Bride” from which to choose.

There is a page to give general information about the story – theme, setting, time of year.  There is a page for a very short synopsis and some questions about the message of the book, the significance of the title and any interesting visual elements.  There are pages to describe the characters both physically and by personality traits.  Finally there are pages to describe scenes in the story that might make for a compelling cover – giving the setting, weather and time of day, what the characters are wearing and what they’re doing in the scene.

After all the this input, my covers hardly ever look the way I think they might, or the way
I might create them if I had any skill in art/design.  Yet almost always, the art department manages to capture the mood of the story and create a cover that’s beyond my expectations.  So I’m doing my part, trying to give them as much information as I can to help them work their cover magic. 

I love the cover for my next Love Inspired Historical® release, The Duke’s Marriage Mission! The story
takes place at the duke’s country house which is a former abbey, modeled after Forde Abbey in the UK.  One special feature of the house is the cloisters (a walkway with a roof supported by pillars) from the original abbey which has been enclosed with walls and windows.  Several key scenes between the hero and heroine take place in the cloisters, so I thought it would make an interesting background for a cover scene.  I’m so glad the art department agreed! J

Readers, what aspects of a cover make you pick up a book and consider buying it?  Is it the appearance of the characters?  Do certain colors attract you?  Do you have a favorite book cover?  What is it about that particular cover that wowed you?

Deborah Hale


  1. Deb - great castle - I love it!!

    It's hard to pin down what makes a cover interesting to me. I really liked the cover for The Anatomist's Wife ... that was a great cover ... I seem to gravitate towards more reds and pinks ... don't know why.

  2. The cover is beautiful! And Forde Abbey looks gorgeous as well. I would love to take a stroll through those cloisters.

  3. Awesome look at the behind the scenes of cover design, and a beautiful cover. Thanks, Deb.