The Tale of Two Covers

Hi All!

Have you recovered from all that Easter chocolate?  How about the peeps?  Have to admit, I found a new way to use peeps.  I was taking a carrot IMG_0846cake kissed by Frangelico to a dinner party just before Easter.  The cake looked…well…boring.  I hadn’t much time to fix it up.  I ran to the store with the intent to buy some orange and green frosting to make little carrots, but ended up grabbing a box of peeps and some sprinkles instead.  I put the peeps on the cake, sprinkled some blue and green for color and voilà – a pretty cake.  Of course, I didn’t think to take a picture of the whole cake (I always forget to take a picture – d’oh) – so we’ll have to make do with this partial.

Covers for books are the same way.  Like my plain, boring cake, sometimes  they need to be spiced up a little and made interesting.  We don’t usually dress book covers up with peeps 🙂  but you get the idea.

If you look up in the slider bar, you’ll see my original cover for THE WHISKY LAIRD’S BED (coming July 15th).  That cover is pretty small, so let me give you a bigger version.  Pretty, isn’t it?  I love the big bed and the kilt, of course.  Berkley even gave me a table with a decanter of Scotch.  Untitled-1The problem is – beyond the name – I’m not sure this cover is indicative of a sexy romance.  To me, it looks more like a mystery.  Now there is a bit of a mystery in the book, but it’s not the focus of the story.  The romance is the focus.

My agent passed along our concern that the cover wasn’t exactly sexy -while the book is.  For the first time ever in my experience,  we got a revised cover!  Here’s the new one:

Untitled-3I was a little concerned that you couldn’t really see the kilt, but you know what?  I don’t care.  I’m happy to let the title cover the Scottish angle.  Every one who has seen this new cover has had an immediate “whoa” reaction – and I like that.  I recently made up some brochures to hand out at a book signing, half with the old cover and half with the new.  I still have every single one of the old cover brochures.  The new cover flew off the table like chocolate bunnies on Easter morning.

Now I have to figure out how to change those slider files – and the ones in the library.

Although the covers don’t look similar, this is book two in the Rake Patrol.  So I’ll give someone who leaves a comment today a copy of book one in the Rake Patrol, The Casanova Code. Casanova Code

So what’s the thing you notice first about a cover?  The sexy guy, the alluring seductive lady, the dresses, that special something that suggest the genre,  the colors?  The name of the author?  🙂  Do you have a favorite cover?  Which of these two would you chose?  Let’s talk covers.



  • Jane says:

    Hello Donna,
    It’s the colors I notice first and then everything else hits me. I actually like the bed cover just as much as the one with the hot guy.

    • Hi Jane!

      I tried to get the GR to wear a kilt today but he flatly refused. So you get him just the way he is. 🙂

      I like all the detail on the bed cover and I’m afraid the kilt gets lost with the guy in front – but hopefully the title will convey that it’s a book set in Scotland.

  • Gannon says:

    Hi, Donna! I love both covers, but I must say the revised one is very eye catching. Mmmm.

    The color of a book cover is usually what grabs my attention first. My pet peeve with covers is when the hero or heroine looks completely different from the description in the book.

    • Hi Gannon!

      So what colors do you like? I’m sitting here looking at the spines of my books and thinking about other covers and I have to say I like all the colors – as long as it’s bold. Strong reds, blues and greens work but pale pastels, not so much – but that’s me.

      LOL – on the revised one. That’s what everyone says 🙂 “Hmmm…Let me look at this…”

  • Helen says:


    I too like both covers but yes I think the revised one is hotter with that sexy Guy on it 🙂 and for me it is usually the hot Guy that makes me look twice but clour is also a big thing on covers.
    Looking forward to reading this one 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Helen –

      I’m in the middle of re-reading the book for edits. Sometimes I think the publishers like to put as much time as possible in between turning the book in and doing the edits as possible so that re-reading the book is like discovering it all over again. 🙂 Have to say, I’m enjoying the re-reading. It surpises me how much research is in that book! It’s fun, educational, and definitely sigh-worthy. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it.

  • Donna, I so agree with you that the first cover is nice but it looks like a cozy mystery – Murder in the Scotch Mist, perhaps! I think the second one should race off the shelves. It’s tsss hot! Did you get one of the cabana boys to model for you?

    • Anna –

      LOL on the cabana boys. They could have easily used one of Joanie’s gladiators, don’t you think?

      Don’t think it’ll fly off the shelves as it’s a digital release 🙂 I’m thinking more like – flying through the ether. Thanks for the cover love!

  • flchen1 says:

    Great cover, Donna! I do admit to being partial to eye candy on the cover, but I also like cheery ones depicting the happily besotted couple. I think I really appreciate covers that accurately reflect the tone of the story–nothing worse than picking up a cute looking cover and then realizing partway in that the story is much darker than it led one to believe 😉

    • Hi Fichen!

      That’s so true! If the cover has a dark sinister tone, it better not be light and frothy – as well as the opposite. When I get my RITA books every year to read, I admit to making judgements based on the covers. Sometimes I’m wrong, but most of the time you can judge the tone of the book by the cover. It’s a true skill to capture so much emotion, content, and style in one image.

  • Patty L. says:

    I am a cover shopper. I LOVE color. With my historicals a beautiful dress in a dramatic color makes my hands itch to hold it. 😉 I am also an autobuy for certain authors. They could have blank covers and I would still buy their books. Of course, I am not immune to the sexy man gracing the cover of my book and if he is an athlete I start to drool. 🙂

    • Hi Patty L ! –

      Which brings us to chest hair LOL. Lori Foster wants the men on her covers to have chest hair. Most models, it seems are pretty bare-chested. Harlequin hired an artist to paint chest hair on the bare chest on her most recent cover. It looks good – very realistic. Someday I hope I’m on your autobuy list, Patty. 🙂

  • Mary Preston says:

    The revised cover is super hot & eye catching. It screams romance.

    Just the general look of a cover first draws my eye. As others have said, colour plays a big part in that.

    • Hi Mary –

      The cover is soooo important! I really like both covers – the one with the detail and the one where your eye never sees the detail :). But the one with the guy is much more compelling, I think. And I don’t think it’s because of the color . LOL

  • Amy Conley says:

    Donna, seriously I like both covers. I guess I notice a title first, then the author, and lastly the cover.
    I’d have to say my favorite cover (s ) belong to a series of books by author Rose Gordon. They are the covers for her Reluctant Groom series and they are some of the most beautiful covers I’ ve ever seen.

    • Hi Amy!

      In her case, it’s all about the dress – and she’s had some very nice ones. I do like a dress on an historical. You immediately know the time period and have a sense of the sexuality based on whether the dress is on or falling off 🙂 The close-up views of Rose’s dresses suggest mystery to me.

      Sometimes I can’t read/find the title. I think I make judgement based on the cover first, then the author and finally the title. If any of those three are particularly strong – the book goes in my basket 🙂

      • Donna, the dresses are where I think a lot of covers these days fall short. Seeing a historical cover with a woman wearing what looks like a modern prom dress is jarring to me. I’ve seen them more on indie books but also on some from trad publishers. Those covers don’t stop me from buying the books, but they don’t draw me the way the ones with true period dress on them do.

        I realize getting a wardrobe of period gowns for models would be expensive and time-consuming, so I see why cover artists or photographers default to what they can go out and buy or can easily find a pattern for. Still, I have a fondness for beautiful period clothes on covers.

        • Nancy –

          My first three covers were paintings so the colors and dresses could be period correct. I love the cover with the gold and red striped corset which I’d used in the book. And, of course, I will always love the cover for Mrs. Brimley. But even with an artist, I got the prom dress for The Trouble with Moonlight, LOL. It was a pretty cover, but not enticing at all.

          • Amy Conley says:

            BTW Donna, I like your first cover best. I have a huge umagination, so I don’t need the muscle. My imagination is why I love reading in the first place.

  • Teresa Hughes says:

    The first thing I notice is the sexy guy. Then I look at the name of the author. I love the 2nd cover by the way!

    • Hi Teresa –

      That seems to be the consensus. The second cover rocks! The first cover is pretty and a little intriguing, but the second cover with the sexy guy makes you want to see more.

  • Shannon says:

    I’m not a big cover person; I’m an author and blurb person. Both covers are lovely, but I can see why (BFLO) the second flies away.

    Color does affect me. I love the broad splash of a lady’s skirt. Blue, red, burgundy, deep green, the right shade of yellow all work for me. I’d say pastel’s don’t but I’ve seen white dresses for Christmas that are lovely. For sweet romance various shade of pink do appeal.

    • Hi Shannon –

      I don’t think of white as a pastel. To me, white falls in with the bold colors. I guess it’s really a bit of both – LOL. The white dress against a bold background would really stand out.

      I like that you’re an author/blurb person before the cover. While the cover is important to grab my interest, I’d never buy a book without reading the blurb. But I’m afraid I’ve missed some great books because the cover didn’t grab me so I didn’t take that next step. Sigh. So many things to consider.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Hi Donna! Counting down the days for this one!

    I’ll probably be in the minority today but I like the first cover better. I’m not fan of the bulging veins. 😉

    Colors and an overall impression grab me first when I see a cover, then details begin to come into focus. Of course, a book with your name on it will always fly into my basket, regardless of the cover!

    • Bless you Pj. You’re such a sweetie!

      I have to admit that I’m not a bulging vein aficionado myself. The bandits will tell you that when I first saw the revised cover I solicited their opinions because I wasn’t sure the bulging veins were sexy. They informed me that I was upset over nothing, and they were right. Of course, watching the reaction of those that see the cover goes a long way toward making me appreciate the cover 🙂

  • Anna Sugden says:

    So looking forward to this release, Donna!

    I must admit, as lovely as the first one is, the second one will sell better. Hunks sell!

    To be honest, these days, I rarely look at covers – especially Kindle books – I buy authors and books that sound interesting. I’m probably in a minority though.

    • Hi Anna –

      I don’t know…I think covers still play a role in a kindle sale. It’s just that once the sale has been made, the cover sort of loses its significance – especially if you’re reading the book. You don’t see the cover the way you would with a paper book.

      I’m hoping you’re right about the Hunk thing 🙂

  • Michelle Steffen says:

    The colors are what grab my attention to the book, then I’ll love at the picture, then of course on to the back cover to see what it’s about, but the main thing is the colors.

    • Hi Michelle!

      I think you’re in the majority. It’s interesting how certain colors are used for specific genres. I think I’m good with anything as long as it’s bold and makes a statement. What colors do you like?

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I like both the covers and I think you can see enough of the kilt. I like the covers that have a lot of detail in the background like yours. I don’t know why that is but they get my attention.
    I favor the cover without the hunk myself. I like to see nice smooth muscles, not the veins popping out. See PJ you are not alone.
    I already have The Casanova code in paperback and on my Kindle so don’t count me in that drawing.

    • Hi Dianna!

      Thank you so much for the Casanova Code love. I did enjoy writing that book. This one is fun as well. I hope you give it a try.

      As I mentioned to PJ, I’m not a fan of the vein thing either – but it is an attention-getter, which is really what one wants in a cover. I do wish the kilt on the bed would show up more in the revised cover, but I’m thinking the title will suffice to say it’s Scottish. Guess we’ll see when it comes out July 15th 🙂

  • Hi, Donna–

    Okay, before we get to the cover thing–You know how to make little frosting carrots? Very cool!

    Also, why have I never had Frangelico cake?

    As for covers, I look first at the people, then at the author’s name, then at the title and background. I agree that Mr. Ripped on the revised cover is more eye-catching than just the bed. That’s interesting about reader reaction to the two samples, though.

    • Nancy –

      I think I can make the squiggles necessary for a frosting carrot – but now we’ll never know :). I think this was the first time I’d ever put frangelico infrosting and in a cake. More likely I’m putting it in a glass to drink straight, although I bet you that stuff is great in coffee.

  • catslady says:

    Don’t make me choose!!! Love the revised cover. I like most covers but hunky men are right up there and then clutch covers, gorgeous gowns, bright colors…I always notice the author’s name too. I must admit that historical covers seem to get to me the most!

    • Catslady –
      Have to admit. I love the historical covers with the fancy dresses and with the hero and heroine in a clinch scene. Yum. When contemporaries do that – the models tend to be naked 🙂 Have you noticed? LOL. I keep telling myself that one of these days I’ll write another contemporary, but man – I do love the historical covers.

  • Oh, hands down, the hot-guy cover wins!!! Can’t wait for it!

  • The GR has a kilt, but he moves around so much he can’t remember which Bandita or Buddy’s bed he left it on. 🙂

    The revised cover is most definitely my first choice! I’m shallow, so sue me. I think I gravitate more toward the covers with hot guys on them because, lets face it, at Walmart all I see all day is guys who are the polar opposite to these cover models. Shudder!

    I also love the beautiful dresses and bright colors as well.

  • bn100 says:

    usually notice the people and if I’ve seen the same cover/people before on another author’s book

    • Hi bn100 –

      Have you really noticed the same models on other author’s books? I don’t think I’d be able to recognize the models. I can tell that the guy is the same on Redeeming the Rogue and The Casanova Code…hmmm…wonder why they didn’t use him for The Whiskey Laird’s Bed. But I can’t say that I’ve seen him on other covers – but then again I don’t look that closely.

  • Hey Donna!

    I loved the first one. Again it was the vibrant color that hit me. But I also agree with Anna S. Hunks sell, so the second one is very desirable, too!

    And I’m very partial to color in covers, (hello PURPLE!), then the images themselves. What era or theme do they convey?

    • Hey Suz!

      I liked the first one as well, but it seemed more suited to a mystery or maybe a sweet story. LOL – there’s nothing sweet about the second cover 🙂 Make no mistake.

      I have to say that I like purple on covers as well. It’s bright and bold – and royal! 🙂

  • Barbara Elness says:

    The first thing I notice is the colors, then hopefully the clinch pose with full heads attached. I like a sexy man or woman on the cover, but my favorite is the couple in a romantic pose. I think the addition of the sexy man definitely spiced up the cover, it made it more apparent that it was a romance and not a mystery.

    • Hi Barbara!

      Even though I’m not really into veiny men – I agree the sexy guy spiced things up a bit. I hope the book lives up to the cover 🙂

      I’m not sure I’m that aware of the colors, but the pose – definitely. I lie how you say “full heads” attached. I take it you’re not into the current trend of headless heroes. 🙂

  • Aleta says:

    Um…yeah, I bet you know which one I like! Much improved!!!!

  • saraleee says:

    Hi, Donna, I really think the new cover is a much better choice!

  • Jean says:

    Hi Donna! I think the second one will sell better. I miss the ‘ville and aerobics!