OK, so I'm rarely in jeopardy, but I write woman-in-jeopardy novels—otherwise called "Modern Gothics"—and this is my blog. It will probably have lots of time between posts, but I'll try not to bore you. Welcome.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Help Choose a New Cover!


My American publishers, Sourcebooks, are getting set to re-issue the novel I wrote in the winter I lived in Wales NAMED OF THE DRAGON – and they'd like your vote on their shortlist of covers...

I make no secret of how deeply I adore my Sourcebooks covers, nor of how much I appreciate the hours of work and effort that go into them. If you want an inside look at the process, you can read this excellent Q&A post that Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches did with Sarah Cardillo from Sourcebooks, all about the evolution of my covers.

You can see what a great job they did of blending their "refresh" of the cover style for the new book, A DESPERATE FORTUNE, into the already established "look" of the collection.

And now they want to do their best with NAMED OF THE DRAGON. Here's what the story's about:

The invitation to spend Christmas in Angle, on the Pembrokeshire coast, is one that Lyn Ravenshaw is only too happy to accept. To escape London and the pressures of her literary agency is temptation enough, but the prospect of meeting Booker Prize nominee James Swift - conveniently in search of an agent - is the deciding factor. Not that she expects it to be a restful holiday. Her travelling companion and bestselling client, Bridget Cooper – James's current girlfriend – has a reputation for mischief. Already Bridget's eye is wandering, taking in James's charming antique-dealing brother, Christopher, and their neighbour, the difficult and mysterious Gareth Gwyn Morgan. 
More disturbing, though, is the sad figure of Elen Vaughan, recently widowed and with an eight-month-old son whose paternity is a subject for local gossip. Elen's baby arouses painful memories of Lyn's own dead child and strange, haunting dreams, in which a young woman in blue repeatedly tries to hand over her child to Lyn for safekeeping.

Who is the father of Elen's baby? What is the eerie, monstrous creature of Elen's dreams that tries to ensnare her son, and what makes her so sure that Lyn has been sent to protect him? As Lyn begins to untangle the truth behind the stories, she finds an unexpected ally in Gareth Morgan, and the secret she discovers leads her to an encounter with the past that will change her life forever.

The final cover they choose might end up being none of the ones here, but as part of their process they've asked me to ask for your feedback, so they'll have a sense what direction to take.

So if you have a minute, please comment on which of the four cover options below is your favourite, and why. What works for you? What doesn't work? Your input and opinions will be useful and appreciated by the Sourcebooks team.

And as soon as the cover is finally decided, I'll post it up here!

Thanks so much.

 COVER #1


COVER #2


COVER #3


COVER #4


Which one's YOUR favourite?

70 comments:

  1. I think number 4, followed by number 3.
    4 has the right blue dress and the misty, swirly look

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  2. Four beautiful choices, Susanna. Thanks for the peek!

    I've read Named of the Dragon and think 1 or 3 suggests the story best. #2 lacks the moody atmosphere; #4 doesn't give that gorgeous sense of place. Both 1 and 3 are mysterious and a little wistful. I love them both, but I'm especially partial to that pop of the red gown in #1. Just my 2 cents; whichever you wind up with will be marvelous.

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  3. I think 1 &4 are the best options.

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  4. I like 3 the best, the colors ore better the 2 and captures the questioning of the story well. My second choice is #4

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  5. I can't tell the difference between cover #2 and cover #3. I've refreshed thinking was something wrong with the browser.

    Anyway, I get the sense of loneliness that began in the book from what I remember when I read it. So, I think #2 is best

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    1. Alisha I couldn't tell the difference at first. It is actually the background colour, one is a greenish hue the other blue.

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  6. I love #1, but worry that it looks like it's a medieval novel. Could they make her dress a little more modern-looking, perhaps? I do love that castle and windswept moor! I also really like #3, which conveys that sense of loneliness.

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  7. I personal love the Bookcover #1 as it evokes the haunting historical connection. But as someone who has read the book several times since it was first published, feel that the fact that it takes place in Wales during Christmas time the book cover should convey this in some manner. It was cold and therefore, it should perhaps reflect this? As such, the other bookcovers do show a female in a sweater and hat but they lack the haunting feel of Bookcover one. Hard call Susanna!

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  8. #1 because of the castle in the background. Although the main characters are contemporary there has to be some indication that legends of the past are very much part of the story, IMO that's what really sets Named of the Dragon apart from most other romantic suspense.

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  9. # 4 is my favorite, followed closely by #1!

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  10. #3 is 1st choice. The blue tones in the color scheme is better. #4 is runner up. :)

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  11. I like the more sepia tone of the second cover, the background of the first cover, and the girl turned away in the last cover - her clothing gives a hint of historical and gothic-ness, while the whole tobogan-and-sweater combo seems a bit too "contemporary chick lit". Can we combine all the aforementioned elements into one cover? LOL

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  12. I like #1 and #4 actually if #1 had the girl in #4 or if the girl in #1 was turned away more. Thye all would work and I will buy it no matter the cover! ;)

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  13. Although I see the significance of number 4. I like number 3 as the cover is more subdued and conveys the heroine's wanting closure from her loss of a child and the dreams which she wants to understand. Number 1 looks more like a summer story and number 2 is too bright and doesn't fit the story line.

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  14. 4 is the most haunting. #2 is just some girl in a sweater hanging out. :) #3 is better with the art edges. But 4 is the favorite! Thanks for letting us give our opinions!

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  15. I like number 3. I think it reflects the mood more than number 2.

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  16. Definitely #1 here! Love the castle background. It hints of the connections to the past.

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  17. #3. It feels the most atmospheric to me.

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  18. #3 is my first choice, followed by #4. I love these Sourcebook covers, too!

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  19. Love #1 - the castle is cool, and the red dress really pops. Something about the girl's hat in #2 and #3 seems out of place.

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  20. I like #3 the best. I love the image of the woman looking off into the distance, and the colors in this one are beautiful.

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  21. Combine #1 and #4 . keep the castle in the distance,change her dress to a brighter red and leave in the swirl and mist. Adds to the mystery...

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  22. This is my favorite of your novels - I'm so glad it's being reissued! My vote is for cover #3; it immediately said "Lyn" to me.

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  23. #3 for color and atmosphere, #1 is a close second

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  24. #1! The castle, the dress...that's the one I'd want to read!

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  25. I like #4, how it's a little out of focus and with the face hidden. It has a mysterious quality, and does feel exactly pinned to any particular time period.

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  26. #4
    I haven't read the book, so I'm just going by the summary and the feel I get from other books of yours that I've read.
    The red dress in #1 seems too bright. It separates her too much from the background.
    I like the color in #3 more than #2, but they both look too "contemporary romance." Too ordinary.
    #4 has a nice haunting look to it.

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  27. #1- the castle in background lends to a time period where one can envision dragons & that red dress resembles the fire from a breathing dragon.

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  28. #1 (the most) and #4 (second choice) - Love the mood that those two evoke!

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  29. Number 4 is my favorite. The out of focus hints at mystery and disconcerting dreams. #1 and #2 are generic romance cover images. Number 1 does not hold the mystery of Number 4 and the model is walking off the cover. You have very good covers by the way.

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  30. I would like the castle on #1 combined with the image of #4. 2 and 3 do not draw me in at all..... I adore the Sourcebook covers and I know they will do something awesome for A Desperate Fortune.

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  31. 3 is my favorite followed by 1

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  32. 1, definitely, but only if there's a castle in the story.
    between 2 + 3, I'd pick 3, as I like the darker blue background
    4 doesn't really do anything for me, and the model looks like too young of a girl to be in the story, as described.
    I can't wait! :)

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  33. I like #3.
    It is the mood of it and the colors that I like.

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  34. #3 is my favorite. #4 is also nice, but not as artistic.
    I don't like #1 at all since it looks very dated and doesn't fit the style of your other re-issued covers.

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  35. I like #1 the best -- I like the way it evokes both the past and the present and I like the pop of the red dress
    #2 and #3 feel to modern and hard edged -- no hint of the mysterious or connections to the past
    #4 is my second choice -- I like the out of focus look and the mysterious atmosphere

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  36. First choice #3

    Second choice #2

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  37. The first one really strongly makes it seem like historical fiction, which is a mis-sell, so I'd choose any of the others over it, just for marketing reasons. I do love your cover brand in the States, though - your covers are always beautiful!

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  38. Sorry if this is a re-post. Here's my 2 cents: #1 and #4 are the closest to what I'd want in a book cover. #1 shows historical setting which is important. The red ties in with the season, but I'd imagine that it's a lot colder that time of year. #2 and #3 have a posture that is too slouchy, as if she's on holiday and enjoying the scenery. It's a bit of a bump and lacking movement. Your quote: "thrilling, haunting and deeply romantic" The middle selections don't reflect any of those statements. You get more haunting in #4, but the foggy image is very literal interpretation of haunting...and she looks sort of Amish. You know, if it were up to me, I'd take #1, but have your heroine walking toward the castle, away from us, and wearing a sweater. Last thought is that in both #1,#4, the girls are looking down in what appears to be shame or depression. Is that what they're thinking?
    Ok, so if you can't change anything, my vote is certainly #1 with a bit less blur/blend tool on the end of the hair. :D

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  39. I'm sorry to say, I am not a big fan of any of these on their own. #1 has a great background but the image of the woman feels like an afterthought.There is a lack of cohesiveness. #2 and #3 don't convey the feelings of the words on the cover of thrilling, haunting and deeply romantic. #4 has a good character image but the background leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe a combination of 1 & 4 might do the trick.

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  40. I love cover #1. The girl in the second and third options is too preppy looking for a book with the word dragon in the title. Four is okay, but the red on the first option is eye-catching.

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  41. I love cover #4. The movement in it is stunning, from a photography/art standpoint. I think that it goes along with the haunting elements of the story as well since it has a more eerie feel to it than the other 3 covers. It looks like it is a cover to a mystery book. The color scheme is also solid and gives it a gothic feel since the dress the girl is wearing is dark and reminds me of so many scary movies I have watched through my fingers. I prefer it when the cover is an indicator of what the book contains and the 4th one sort of does it for me.

    All of the covers are beautiful though and I'm thrilled that it is being updated. I can't wait for your newest book to come out!

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  42. #4 As the book slots in sync with the rest of your beautiful collection!! :)

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  43. I love cover 1. It's eye catching with the red dress. The wind blowing through the woman's hair makes it look romantic and intriguing. The yellow undertones of the cover also highlight the red dress nicely. There are a lot of visually engaging things happening in cover #1....it's nostalgic, atmospheric, and romantic all the things that the novel seems to be about. I would read it based on this cover alone. As for the others....the two with the white sweater....the light sweater gets lost on the cover. Even with the colored filter of cover #3, the woman just seems nondescript and boring. There is nothing that catches my eye about covers #2 and #3....bland is the best word I can use to describe them. As for cover #4 the green undertones are nice with the black figure but again nothing stands out about it. With some of your other novels the covers stand out to me because of a vibrant color scheme....I vote for cover #1 because of that :)

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  44. I love cover 1. It's eye catching with the red dress. The wind blowing through the woman's hair makes it look romantic and intriguing. The yellow undertones of the cover also highlight the red dress nicely. There are a lot of visually engaging things happening in cover #1....it's nostalgic, atmospheric, and romantic all the things that the novel seems to be about. I would read it based on this cover alone. As for the others....the two with the white sweater....the light sweater gets lost on the cover. Even with the colored filter of cover #3, the woman just seems nondescript and boring. There is nothing that catches my eye about covers #2 and #3....bland is the best word I can use to describe them. As for cover #4 the green undertones are nice with the black figure but again nothing stands out about it. With some of your other novels the covers stand out to me because of a vibrant color scheme....I vote for cover #1 because of that :)

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  45. I keep finding myself drawn to the 2/3 girl in the cable knit as I scroll. I prefer the green back ground of #3. #1 seems too generic. #4 seems like the best fit with all the foggy covers of the rest of the series, but again, feels generic, and the dress in #4 looks Amish.. Those cable knit girls look like they're doing some serious thinking, and I'm curious about them. I'd also like the pattern for the sweater.

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  46. All these covers are visually beautiful. I like how the current ones all shows the back of the individual on the cover. To keep with that consistency, cover 1 does not mesh with the others. I like cover 4, it has more of a "mysterious" feel to it. Cover 3 would be the next that I like. However, I'm not a fan of the beanie. It's distracting. The "coloring" that both 3 and 4 again has the same general consistency of all the previous covers.

    For cover 1, if the models face was not showing or her hair covered more, then I would choose that one above any of the others. That is the only thing that "sits wrong" with me about this cover.

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  47. I love the 4th !! the girl looks like "énigmatique"

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  48. I love number three, but vote #1.

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  49. I like #3, but for merchandising purposes #1 has the red which will "pop" on any display.

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  50. I like the looks of #1 first choice or #4 second choice. Something about 2 and 3 with the white cable knit sweater and hat just don't seem fitting with your books and style.

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  51. Cover #1 best fits the notion of 'thrilling, haunting, and deeply romantic' in my opinion :-)

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  52. I like cover #1 the best but I wish the girl was not facing forward! It does not match the look of the other bookcovers.

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  53. I think 1 and 4 are the best options. I like the red dress and the castle on the first cover, and I like the mysteriousness of the fourth cover. If I had to pick one over the other, I think the first would be my favorite by a small margin.

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  54. #4, the sweater in 2 and 3 seems mild against the title of "NAMED OF THE DRAGON"...and one seems a little older than the story sounds.

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  55. #4, because it gives the loneliness and the winter feel.

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