Talking Cover with Authors and Bloggers

Thanks to Michele Gorman for dropping by CLP yesterday with a fab article on cover design! Her thoughts sparked an interest in me to get more input on covers, and I want to thank Sara Palacios, Cat Lavoie, Samantha Stroh Bailey and Laura Chapman for weighing in their thoughts on covers.

My Thoughts: “Covers are a tricky thing, both for readers and authors. I will admit – I have turned down book review requests because the cover didn’t look up to snuff. I don’t want to say I’m always judging a book by its cover, but your book needs to be polished and put together from the whole – that includes a great plot and characters, a solid synopsis to reel me in, and of course – a great cover. As an author, cover design can be a difficult process. It’s especially tough when you have a vision in your head, but no matter how many times you make tweaks and suggestions, you just can’t get them to match up. For authors looking to design a cover, I recommend having a few different design ideas, and being very open with your designer throughout the process.” – Samantha March, book blogger, author and publisher

“I started thinking about the cover for BREAKING THE RULES before I even finished the first draft. I knew there was going to be lots of pink. And that’s pretty much all I knew. When the time came, I hired a graphic designer and sent him links to covers that I loved but I wasn’t able to tell him exactly what I wanted for mine. So I sat down with pieces of cardboard and brightly colored pencils and started drawing. It only took a few seconds for me to remember that I can’t draw to save my life. Still, I sketched away until there was barely a square inch of blank space on the paper. It was a jumbled, cramped mess but it helped me figure out what I really wanted on the cover: a red telephone box, a yellow taxi and a cupcake. A friend of mine (who can actually draw) made a new sketch with those elements and I sent it over to my designer. It took a few tries to get the colors right but I fell in love with the final version. Since the red telephone box replaces the I in Breaking, I’m hoping to do something similar for my second novel’s cover.” – Cat Lavoie, Author, Breaking the Rules

“As an avid reader and also as a book reviewer for Chick Lit Plus, I receive quite a few books on a weekly basis. With that being said, I definitely judge a book by its cover and have found that I am far less eager to read a book that isn’t aesthetically pleasing in comparison to one that I find visually appealing. So, that probably makes one wonder what I would find appealing, huh? Well, the honest answer is that it varies. I am a sucker for soft fonts, as well as simple covers without too much going on. If a book has a million colors and is bright and bold, I feel like it is way too busy. I also really dislike covers that have an image in the background, instead of front and center. With me, simplicity is key. I’ve always felt that the focus should be on the story on the inside of the book instead of the cover. Now obviously I have read and loved dozens of books with terrible covers, but I have noticed that they are usually recommended to me, and not something I’ve personally picked up at the bookstore. I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, eh?” – Sara Palacios, book blogger, Chick Lit Plus

“As a voracious chick lit reader, I know exactly what will catch my eye in a book cover. I like simple covers with bright colors, swirly or block writing and a photograph or drawing that hints at what delicious surprises are in store for me. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, when I had to actually design my own cover for Finding Lucas, I couldn’t articulate what I wanted beyond the words “magenta” and “chick lit.” Having no sense of the visual—all of the photos I snap make people ask, “What is that?”—I had no clue what I wanted, but I knew I’d know when I saw it. I love Emily Giffin’s covers because they usually have a single image on the page that stands out like an engagement ring, a gift box or a key. After bombarding my poor graphic designer with panicky emails, it finally hit me which three things my cover needed to fully convey Jamie’s journey: a high school yearbook, a photo of Lucas and old letters. When I saw my cover, I cried. Of course, now I see all of the things I would like to change, but luckily, I have a better eye and the experience for when my second book comes out.” – Samantha Stroh Bailey, Author, Finding Lucas


“The front cover of a book is usually the first glimpse a reader has of a story. You never get a second chance at a first impression, which is why good covers matter.

For me, the title is most important, because it offers the most insight into a book. In addition, the title should be displayed well in a visually appealing font, size and color. As a part-time designer, I geek out for quality typography that conveys a story, because it can. Consider Emily Giffin’s books. Their design is minimalistic, giving the title prominence. I love that. When a title appeals to me, I pick up the book, flip the cover to read the description and ultimately decide if this book goes home with me. By this point, it usually does.

Conversely, I will spend tens of minutes standing in front of the display of romance novels at my local grocery store. It is dome of the best entertainment I get while running errands. From a design standpoint they are not impressive, but my goodness the titles are fantastic. Plus, have you seen those cover photos? I could stare at pictures of topless cowboys/doctors/nobles/millionaire moguls all day. Unfortunately, it does not always guarantee I will buy the book, but will leave me with a smile.” – Laura Chapman, book blogger, Change the Word

Letter From the Publisher: Breaking the Rules

I got an email one day many months ago from Cat Lavoie, inquiring about my editing services. We did the usual back and forth banter: services provided, turn around time, queries about the MS, etc, and then I asked her to send me the first few pages, so I could get a feel for her writing and offer her a price quote. Those first five pages drew me into her story like no other, and I practically begged for her to choose me as her editor. Mainly – I just wanted to keep reading! After getting through the story (and groaning when I had to take breaks) I realized I had a big decision in front of me. When I published my debut in October 2011 (Destined to Fail) I bought the rights to my own publishing company, Marching Ink LLC. The goal was to eventually publish other author’s work besides my own, but that goal had a date of 2013. But Breaking the Rules was staring me face, and I knew deep in my bones that I loved this book. I love the book the way I’ve heard publishers are supposed to love the novels they select to put out to the public. So I took a chance and made an offer to Cat, asking her if she would be interested in having Marching Ink release her debut.

After a lot of hard work, long hours, a bazzilion tax questions to my accountant, and more re-reads than I can count, Breaking the Rules is now for sale. As Cat’s editor-turned-publisher, I say with all my heart that I hope you love this book as much I do. Cat’s writing lured me in, and Roxy Rule’s story about love, friendship, and self-discovery was simply one that needed to be shared. I want to thank Cat for taking on a small publisher and believing in me that I would put everything I could into making her book a success. I want to thank my assistant, Sara, for all the hours you put in as well and your enthusiasm for working for a possibly insane woman that will never stop using smiley faces in emails. And I want to thank the countless bloggers that have and will be hosting Cat along the next couple of months. Thank you everyone, thank you readers, and please enjoy Breaking the Rules.

 Samantha March

Buy Breaking the Rules!

Barnes & Noble – Nook

Amazon – Kindle


Chick Lit Author Blog Hop 2012

I’ve been wanting to write an article recently reminiscing about Chick Lit Plus. I always tell people starting CLP was the best decision I’ve made (besides recently undergoing Lasik surgery), and it is the truth. The friendships I’ve made, the professional connections, and the knowledge and opportunities that have come my way make me think of how lucky I am. I wear many hats – book reviewer, editor, blog tour coordinator, publisher, author – but I love my busy life and working hard at something I truly enjoy and can say with all my heart I have a passion for.

I fell in love with books at a young age, thanks to the influence of my mother and grandmother. I knew I wanted to be a writer myself, and after graduating college with my BS in business, I decided to put some sort of plan into action. I bought my first laptop (even though I was online student the last two years of college – figure that out) and started researching. I kept coming across book blogs, since I didn’t even really know what the word “blog” meant, I had to do some research on that. After I had a better grasp on blogging and what book bloggers were doing, I searched for a web designer and Chick Lit Plus was put into motion.

So, I had my blog. Then I froze. I remember thinking – how do I get followers? What books do I review? What did I get myself into? I started making trips to the library once a week, checking out anything that looked interesting (mostly those with pink covers) and spilling my thoughts on the book, posting them for everyone to see. I joined Twitter and made a Facebook page for Chick Lit Plus, starting accumulating fans, and within three months had authors and publishers sending me books to review.

Before I started CLP, I had already joined the chick lit fan club. Most books I was checking out could fall in the category, and I was absolutely adoring them. I dove deeper into the genre, looking for some fabulous books to be my first reviews. Which made the top five cut?

  1. The Agency by Ally O’Brien
  2. The First Assistant by Clare Naylor & Mimi Hare
  3. Bliss by Danyel Smith
  4. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
  5. The Truth About Diamonds by Nicole Richie

It’s fun to look back at those first few books that caught my attention purely based on covers alone (besides Nicole Richie – I’ve always just been a fan). I actually didn’t even know Emily Giffin as EMILY GIFFIN when I read Something Borrowed. I checked out the book with a pink cover. Anything with pink, drinks, lollipops, or shopping bags made it in my pile. Now, I’m super lucky to be sent amazing books each week for my reviewing pleasure. I love being a part of the chick lit community, I am so thankful to all the wonderful people I have met along the way, and I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Chick Lit International Month for the second year in a row. Cheers to chick lit – now go read a book!


Contest Info:

I am giving away an eBook copy of my debut novel, Destined to Fail to one lucky winner! To enter, please leave a comment below, and be sure to include the words “chick lit” in your comment in order to be entered!


Grand Prize:

For a chance to win the Chick Lit Author Blog Hop Grand Prize of a $150 Sephora gift card, simply do the following:

  • Collect all 34 of the secret words (you will find a secret word in each of the blog posts on the hop.)  The word will be italicized, so it will be easy to locate.  ***HINT***The secret word in my blog hop post is in the last paragraph, and is not a book title.
  • Submit your list of 34 secret words to before midnight on Sunday, May 20th and you will be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing!
  • The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Monday, May 21st, and the $150 Sephora gift card can be redeemed online, or at any Sephora store in the US.
  • Chick Lit Author Blog Hop contests are open to residents of the United States only.

Please see the post below for a Linky list with all 34 participating authors/blogs.  You will have an opportunity to win a different e-book at each blog hop stop.  Good luck!

**The winner of Destined to Fail is Sidne! Thank you to everyone who signed up and participated in the author blog hop!**