posted by Doranna

Ooh, it's that time again! A new cover!

It's been a while. Last fall, I was imminently expecting the cover for HIDDEN STEEL--and Silhouette canceled the Bombshell line. BACK TO THE RULES had also been completed...two covers worth of anticipation, squashed. So now I've just turned in the first Nocturne--contracts I picked up in the wake of those cancellations--which means it'll be a while before I see another Silhouette cover.

So boy, is it nice to have a new cover in hand. And boy, is it especially nice for that cover to belong to Dun Lady's Jess. You know, the book I wrote in '92 and sold in '93 and saw published in '94 and earned the Compton Crook award (for best first book) in '95 and which hung around on the shelves a while and then became a collector's edition online for $90/copy, which lasted until I announced that Baen had promised to reprint it with Changespell Legacy...except they didn't. And now, finally, the book has found a new home with an editor who loves it as much as I do, and who is committed to both quality packaging and support.

But the cover to that first edition was problematical. I loved it, but I knew what was behind it, and could see the subtle things the author had done to tie it into the book. I also knew that the medieval-y looking castle in the background wasn't true to the book, and of course I was delighted by the effort the artist--painting his first cover--made with regards to the horse. I could talk for hours about stupid horses on book covers, and this wasn't one of them.

Still, there's an interesting thing about book covers. An attractive cover doesn't necessarily equal an accurate cover doesn't necessarily equal a good marketing tool. In this case, the feedback I got from readers told me they picked up the book in spite of the cover, not because of it. That, in fact, the cover made them think it would be yet another pseudomedieval girl-and-horse story (which it most decidedly is not). And meanwhile my experienced writer friends tried to kindly and gently suggest the cover might not quite be all it could be for marketing purposes.

It became one of those things that one tries not to think about, focusing on the positive--the horse was correct! And really, I very much liked the concept behind the art...it just turned out to be one that spoke to those who had read the book and not to those who were making decisions to buy it.

This time around...no such problems! I've got the PDF of entire wrap-around design, so I've not only seen the cover, I've seen the make-me-blush line up of blurbs, the inside back flap book summary, the inside front flap bio and author photo. Me! An author photo! The colors are intense and striking and play beautifully off the artwork--and along the way I created a graphic of an eggbutt snaffle bit for use as chapter break icons, and that, too, has been incorporated into the cover design, much to my delight!

Plus, it has to be said, the horse color is as correct as it gets. When your title character is a dun and her name is Dun Lady's Jess and it also happens to be the title of the book, it so matters that the horse on the cover is a dun, too.

So here it is, done by Mondolithic Studio. This one, I'm hoping, will beg for readers to pick it up. Me, I can't wait!

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Comment by Morgan Mandel on June 14, 2007 at 5:28am
Beautiful cover. Worth the wait!
Morgan Mandel

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