Thursday, February 11, 2010

Debra - “Covering” All the Bases

As readers and authors, what do you think about giving a book a fresh coat of paint? Do you like to see new covers come out on books? Do you wish we’d just leave the darned things alone? Is there a time limit? Like, no new covers for 3 years at least? Do you like all the books in a mystery series to have covers that relate? Do you care?

Because of the recent Amazon Kindle promotion, we’ve blown through print units of CROSSROADS CAFE by Deborah Smith like there’s no tomorrow. That meant yet another reprint. ::sigh:: <g> Because Deborah is also an author (in addition to being Editorial Director for BelleBooks/Bell Bridge), she did what every author does. She came whining around the art department door and hinted that such a lovely book really needed to be shown some love. She really thought it would be nice if we took the opportunity to give her a better cover.

“What? Royalties are due?” she said. “Please. Those old things don’t have to go in the mail until the end of the month. Pffftt! But if we’re going to reward Crossroads for all its hard work, we have to do that NOW! Right now. Really. You know how long offset runs take. Please. Come on. You know you want to. It’ll be pretty and you can buy shiny new things.”

I was very strong until she flashed “shiny new things” at me.

So, above you see the new cover and to the right is the old cover for comparison. The new cover is one I designed.

I like the new coat of paint. (Such hubris, I know.)

Anne Bishop’s Jewels series got an overhaul a while back and I just love the new covers. And, I admit. I did go buy the new covers. See? Isn’t this style gorgeous? And if you don’t read Anne Bishop, you need to run to the store or the computer. Seriously. Yes, it’s true fantasy, but romance readers will love them. Anne knows her way around an alpha male. Great, great series. And I’ve just shown you the book to buy to get started!

Have you ever loved a book so much you bought it in every edition? Or when you replace an old book you’ve just “worn the heck out,” are you sad that the new one has a different cover?


Helen Brenna said...

I love the new cover you designed for Deb's book. It's gorgeous. Lush. The colors are so rich. You are amazing!

That said, I hate it when I have to buy a new edition of a favorite book because whether the cover is ideal or not, it's the cover that means something to me. I have such a block I don't "see" the new version on my shelf.

lois greiman said...

Gorgeous covers, Deb, really!! Now that I think of it cover design would be really fun. And although they say you can't judge a book by its cover. We all do it all the time. We can't help it.

Kudos to you and your team.

Cindy Gerard said...

lovely cover Deb. What a talented person you are!! How many hats DO you wear, anyway??
I'm fine with old books getting new covers as long as there's a notice somewhere on/in the book that it is a reissue. I've purchased books before that I thought were new releases only to find I already had it and felt a bit ripped off that the publisher had 'pulled one over' on me.

I think, for the most part, that readers are more aware these days because that used to happen a lot.
In the meantime, Congrats to you and to Deb on the renewed success of Crossroads. So well deserved!!

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- I do bond with cover art on my favorite books. I was glad to see Harlequin reissuing Georgette Heyer many years ago, but I was also a little sad because it just wasn't the "same." Not that the original covers were fabulous but they were my covers. The one's I'd grown up on.

Debra Dixon said...

Lois-- Yep. We all are a little judgmental, I think. About book covers anyway. I know that I look at them and think, 'Not my kind of story.' It takes an author's name to move me to get something that doesn't look like my cuppa.

My eye scans the shelf and just sort of skips past. I don't know that it's a conscious thought, but my eyes don't engage and I move on.

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- I wear far far too many hats. LOL! That's why my submissions queue is dreadfully slow.

RE: alerting the reader
You can't really put "reissue" on the cover so the copyright is about the only way to do that unless the book is so old you put something like "Back in print!" Or something we've done for one of Deborah Smith's really old category romances is to put "Classic Romance" in circle on the front to alert readers.

But I understand the frustration of buying a book twice.

Kindle is very cool in that regard. It will remind me before I purchase that I already have a book.

Michele Hauf said...

That is beautiful cover, Deb. Congrats to both the author and the cover designer! Great work!

I do tend to fall in love with covers, and often it's a detail as opposed to the whole cover. I love fonts and raised foil. And I especially love what is popular in UF right now with the glossy arabesques over the entire cover (but in the same color as background) so it blends but you can see it when you tilt it.

I am still bummed over Laura Kinsale's FOR MY LADY'S HEART. The original cover featured the heroine in a gorgeous dress embroidered with dragonflies, but I lost that and when I repurchased it, just some plain old cover with no pretty dress. Sigh...

Kathleen Eagle said...

The colors! I love the new colors! And I say that an author as wonderful as Deb Smith deserves whatever she wants.

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- I think that's called "spot varnish" or something like that. I like cool layered effects.

Yes! FOR MY LADY'S HEART is an example of being disappointed when a book is recovered.

I often don't like the differences in the hard cover and the mmp. I generally tend to like the hard cover better. But sometimes the mmp does improve.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathleen-- It's really really pretty if you can see it at high resolution, but out blog just won't allow that big a file. (g)

catslady said...

I wonder why you can't put reissue?? I guess the publishers don't want you to. Yes, I've bought the same book more than once. I buy way too many and especially if it's been in my tbr pile for a while so I tend to forget. I actually have a notebook of what books I own but if it's not with me I'm afraid to buy sometimes lol. I have had to rebuy some favorite books - mostly because I lent it to someone who was careless and I must admit I prefer buying the same cover. Not that the new covers probably aren't nicer looking - it's just it's not the same somehow.

Debra Dixon said...


It's interesting to see that we're attached to original covers. It's more than just being ticked if we buy a book twice. It seems we imprint on covers like baby ducks. (g)

I think publishers steer clear of "reissue" because they don't want buyers to think "Oh, that's an old book. I don't want it. I want something fresh and up-to-date." (versus a book that is dated the way some movies are.)

David Smith said...

"Whining?" WHINING at the art department door??? Ah-hem. Let me tell my version of this story. Our mythical corporate headquarters here at BelleBooks LLC has more dungeons than a medieval castle. And turrets. And secret passageways. Deb D, our Most Highnesses Debwa, secludes herself in the executive suite, surrounded by werewolves and the skulls of authors. She occasionally has her naked manservants carry her to the art department, where she puts on a wizard hat and twirls her fingers in a cauldron of Photoshop Elements, mumbling spells and chanting "Layers, Layers, Layers."

Trembling and bowing, her underlings approach her with nervous pleas for her attention. The underlings include me, aka the Court Editor; our Production Slave, aka my husband, Hank, and C.O.O.L.A.S.S., the kingdom's copyeditor, aka Jane, who created the COOLASS acronym for her job title but I can never remember what it stands for. There is one more servant in the BelleBooks' kingdom, The Debwa's Main Enforcer, aka Pam. Pam has horns and fangs.

So . . . yours truly, begging for an updated cover, scurried into the Art Department, fell to the carrion-tainted stone floor, groveled, offered gifts of newt tongue and gourmet balsamic vinagrette, and begged Debwa not to sic Pam on me, because Pam hasn't fed since the last full moon.

COOLASS watched nervously from her copyediting cage, and Production Slave, as usual, returned to browsing the Onion website and ignored us all.

"So you're begging Us for a new cover, are you?" the Debwa hissed. (She speaks of herself in the Plural, even though that makes COOLASS howl and rattle her bars)

"Yes, my Executive Liege," I whispered, proferring the balsamic vinagrette with shaking hands. "Just a lovely new cover like all the others you've done lately. Brewed from the finest stock photos and your exquisite Layers magic."

"Be silent, Court Editor!" the Enforcer growled, smacking her lips over her fangs. "You have no power here! You've come to us today not as the lowly Court Editor but even worse, as a mere, worthless, completely replaceable, AUTHOR."

COOLASS gurgled in delight, since she, too, regards Authors as less than vermin. The Debwa grinned at the Enforcer's well-practiced abuse. Truly, Authors are the least of the least in the queendom.

The Debwa broke open the vinagrette, doused a nearby tomato with it, sampled the vintage, and did not spit out the taste. I sighed in relief. My gift had pleased her.

"Your request is granted," she snarled. "Now go, before I forget not to beat you about the head."

"Thank you a thousand times, Executive Liege," I cried, crabbing backwards across the floor, bobbing my head in abject gratitude.

As I scurried down a dark passageway toward the dank cavern that is Editorial, I heard the Debwa shrieking to the Enforcer, as COOLASS howled again and the thump of a video game rose from the Production Slave's computer,
"Bring me the the gizzard of a Marketing Weasel!"

I shrieked and ran.
Because I am not just a lowly author, an abused Court Editor, but I AM ALSO THE MARKETING WEASEL.

That's my story of how I got the new cover for Crossroads Cafe. And I'm sticking with it.

ForestJane said...

*howls and rattles bars of her cage*

The acronym stands for:

Copyediting, Or Other Linguistic Advice, and Some Style - C.O.O.L.A.S.S.

But I'm honored to be included in ANY story by DebS. And I love the new cover!


Debra Dixon said...

See? See what I have to endure?


I knew I was in trouble when I characterized her pleas as whining.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, yeah, liking the new cover a lot. Think it feels more...personal with the woman's face, though I do like the checkered floor in the original.

I just got the cover for my June book in the mail yesterday. Need to scan. It's my first with a "photo" look if you know what I mean. Girl from the smile down. I love it a lot.

Debra Dixon said...


Oh, definitely scan and let us see!

Helen Brenna said...

>secludes herself in the executive suite, surrounded by werewolves and the skulls of authors. She occasionally has her naked manservants<

LOL - for some reason I can just picture DD that was DS!

What's she like during tax season?

Anonymous said...

"What's DD like during tax season?"

See, this was how I risked my hide without thinking things through. I asked her to add another chore to her stack when she's working on the financials and prepping for taxes. I'm lucky she didn't gut me and use my innards for a necklace.


Debra Dixon said...


I see DebS has already explained my behavior. (g)

This is never a good time of year for me. LOL!

alba said...

Hi Deb I love the new cover then again I'm a cover girl at heart...
It what first draw's me in.
But I can tell you Not all covers will keep me It's the story the author the Characters that keep me coming back.
I do have a bit of a pet peeve some time they don't say RE-Release But because I love the author all I see is the name and In my hand it goes bought & paid THEN I find out it's not new...
Now on the other end of the scale I do have 2 copies of THE BRIDE BY JULIE GARWOOD I love that book both have different covers.
Have a good one ladies.

Debra Dixon said...

Ann-- Covers do draw us in and I guess publishers have to further consider how to denote a new cover. It's not the "reissue" of the book. Sometimes a book never never leaves print so "new edition" or "reissue" or "reprint" might be misleading.

Hmmm...must ponder.