Thursday, March 10, 2016

Evolution of a Book Cover - #ThrowbackThursday with Maddie James

If you were to ask me to list some of my favorite things, I would easily make the following list:
  • M&Ms
  • New Playdoh
  • New Crayons
  • New Paint
  • New cover art
Hm. Weird list huh? And actually, I have more favorite things--like lasagna and anything made with butter, chocolate and sugar--but the above 5 favorite things all have something very much in common.

They have pretty colors.

I love color. I could also add fabric to the list above but since I no longer sew like I used to, I forgot to add it. It can be a latent addition to the list, although not an insignificant one. But I digress and let's get on with it.

Color. I love the colors of M&Ms, new Playdoh, Crayons and paint. I love them when they are new and fresh, and I'm the first person to crack open the container or box and use them. Squeezing the new dough with my hands is pure heaven. Making that first stroke with a new Crayon nearly makes me giddy. Is it no wonder that one-upon-a-time I was a preschool teacher?

Nevertheless, color attracts me. It's why my bedroom walls are turquoise and my bathroom walls are about to be painted red. Color speaks to me.

And so does cover art. I've designed a bit of cover art over the years and I still do some occasional designs for a few regular clients. I love playing with photos and color. I'm self-taught and have no clue if I do things the conventional way -- I just do it  how it works best for me. It seems to work, so I go with it.

Which leads me to this #ThrowbackThursday theme. I change out my own cover art from time to time. Why? Mostly because I can. Sometimes because I want to see if different art will help boost sales. Sometimes I just get tired of the same art.

With the book Rawhide & Roses, part of it's cover art evolution has to do with the fact that it was first traditionally published. Back then, we had little say in cover art design but I have to say that I was pretty much thrilled with my very first cover. Then, the book published by Kensington was titled, The Wild West (and you see I was writing under another name). 

Later on, when I received the rights back to the book and self-published with additions and revisions, I designed this cover to the right. I liked it and R&R had this cover for several years. Then came Amazon....

And the offer to publish in Germany through their Amazon Crossing program. It had been a while since I'd had a foreign edition of any of my books and I was thrilled with the opportunity. I also loved the cover they designed for R&R. 


After a bit of time, however, I just wanted to change out the cover for the English version. So, I began looking at other cover art designs for westerns. Choices, choices. A kissing couple? Just a cowboy? Does he need a shirt, or not? This is not an erotic book. Is there sex? Yes, but this was "late 90s category romance sex," so not of the super-heat level variety. In the end, for this newest cover, I decided, yes, he needed a shirt and yes, he'd be the only person on the cover. So far, I'm liking the look. 

What do you think? 

What are your 5 favorite things? Comment below to be eligible to win a signed, print copy of Rawhide & Roses!

Rawhide and Roses can be found at these retailers:
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