Heart of the Raven Cover

HoR - front cover final

I’m still not 100% sure about putting Maeko on the cover because I worry that people will think it’s a children’s book (it’s clear that many readers don’t read the the book descriptions before buying) or a YA book. On the other hand, as far as the plot goes, she’s the character who fits… it’s that moment when one is caught between “author” and “designer”. As a cover artist I’d say use a cliche vampire picture and get on with it. But as an author I want it to “match” my story “exactly” and be all “artsy”…

To be honest I’ve gotten flack about my covers and thought about changing them all (ala the special editions) to something more contemporary, but on the other hand I’ve also gotten compliments (mostly from men! ha ha!) and they are unique. As someone once said “I can pick a Naylor book out immediately”, so the question is: What’s better? Recognizable branding, or covers that look like the others in my genre and so attract more PNR readers? If I were giving someone else advice I would say go for number two with an eye to number one… but the beauty of doing it myself is I don’t have to listen to my own advice.

What do you think? signature for white

Leave a comment


  1. NICE!!! Congratulations! Lots of love, Emily

  2. Maybe have the ebook be trendy so you pick up nre readers and keep the print copies with your traditional? Tough choice. I’ve seen a self pub go from a drawn cover to a trendy one and sells definitely took off. A new cover would probably bring in new readers. I personally love your drawn covers but I am not the average reader. Your covers don’t truly convey the dark urban fantasy nature of your story. Depends on where you war to go with your books. If you do choose to rebrand then I would put some money into the first one and hope the return will let you do the others. Also bump up the price a bit on the first one if you get a trendy cover to the $2 or $3 range which is the average for those books. Either way you are taking a gamble. Depends on which you want to take 🙂 not very helpful I know

  3. tough choice. and I’m hardly the one to advise since you and I have done only one (well two) covers together. I judge a book on the cover yes, but also on the description (yeah I know about you and true blood) and I can’t believe people don’t read descriptions of books before purchase. As for me, even on my WIP when I do think cover I want it to reflect the story. Hence the consideration of a teeter totter for my latest WIP. whatever you do it’s a gamble *throwing you the dice*

    • I know! it’s craziness! There’s no way I buy anything without reading the description, and sometimes the reviews and the sample, unless i know the author personally. This is true because the cliche cover is likely to attract the wrong kind of readers, which leads to all those bad reviews because it promised something that the story doesn’t deliver…

  4. lccooper

     /  February 18, 2013

    My votes:

    (1) Because of the kiddie factor, leaveMiko off the front cover. Is there a behaviour or trait that can be personofide/translated into an image? A blue aura, whatever, with a set of eyes? … something mysterious about her personality, or is there a romance, an intense emotion that is unique to her? Please, I’m begging you, no samurai swords, twin rising suns over Mt. Fuji, no vampire-ninja (*sigh*) 🙂

    (2) I will forever advocate unique branding over “me, too” pablum. How else will your cover capture a reader’s interest and set your cover apart from the rest? As you said, they see the cover and never read the description.

    (*dusting hands off*) There you go, problems solved. My fee for marketing consulting (a former career) was $185/hr, but since you’re a friend, I’ll cut you a break … only $184.99. Now, that’s a bargain. 🙂

    I miss you, Jo. Please, please, please (purty please with sugar on top) will you design and create my covers once again? I’m not cranking out novels as fast as I’d hoped, so the pressure’s off for frequent delivery. Quoting Dr. Seuss: “… would you, could you …? I thought we were a terrific team and I really miss it.

    On a different note: Housing Loan: Did you try HUD? I hear they have gobs of money and seem prepared for folks without a strong credit history. I hear their willing to work with folks better than banks will.

    LC Cooper, author of: Christmess Diary of a Reluctant Vampire Legacy Man Cave Simmering Consequences The Voices of Cellar’s Bridge “Barefoot Homecoming” “Dan’s Accidental Convertible” “Halloween’s Perfect Storm” “Of Yellow Snow and Christmas Balls” “One Lousy Wish” “There Was a Knock at the Door”

    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2013 13:52:29 +0000 To: l.c_cooper@hotmail.com

  5. That’s a tough decision, Joleene. I struggle with the same issue with my book cover, but in my case, the publisher chose the cover. On one hand it’s unique. On the other, it doesn’t look like a typical YA paranormal romance. I wish I had a magic perfect answer for you, but you’ll just have to go with your gut. Maybe you could go with a ‘typical’ cover and use your current art as inside illustrations. Good luck!

    • I’ll tell you I LOVE your cover! But you’re right, it doesn’t scream YA romance to me, instead it shouts “fantasy” with the possibility of romance, and is what actually led me to buy it 😉 But cartoon style (not the cutesy, chic-lit kind, but the more graphic novel-esque) always make me want to purchase because it says to me “like an anime but without the pictures” and I’m an anime fan.

  6. Keep her. All cutesy and sweet until we see what’s in her hand. Perfect as it is. There could be no mistaking that for a child’s book.

  7. I think you’re crackers. Go with the kid. YA would love your books and as long as mom doesn’t care/know why worry about it? It’s not up to you to save the world. After all you read V.C. Andrews as a kid.

  8. It’s a hard choice to make even with all the advice you’re getting. 😀

    I know when I first saw the series covers I loved them but thought they were graphic novels which isn’t something I was interested in reading. After talking to you and realizing that they weren’t graphic novels i bought them and read them. I love the series!

    While I love the covers, however, I’d suggest redoing the covers and create a brand that is uniquely yours and more likely to attract readers of your genre rather than those who’d think the covers were graphic novels or YA fiction.

    • Sadly, though, I don’t write them for readers of my genre. Most hard core vampire fans don’t like them – “too slow”, “not enough romance”, “heroine is too weak”, “too violent” etc are comments that come from many PNR fans, which is why I question the sanity of trying to make a cover that appeals to them… My strongest reviews come from people who say “I don;t normally like vampires, but…”

      • Then it sounds like changing the covers would be a waste of time. Sounds like you should leave them as is and ignore those who think they should be different. Or if you really want to change the covers then don’t go for the PNR genre people. You can use the elements already on your cover or a picture of the setting in various colors. A rickety old house for Shades of Gray, a grave yard for Legacy of Ghosts, the Guild for Ties of Blood, etc. More of the “Gothic” style that you use for this blog background would work. If you find that the new covers aren’t working for you, you can always return to them to their original covers too.

        Personally I love the covers. 😀

  9. Ugh! I love your covers. They give me an idea about the characters and they’re like your ‘signature’ style. There’s always someone who doesn’t like something. I wonder if people won’t like my stick figure people (?)

  10. I agree with Roger, stick with it as it is. It’s individual and different enough to catch my attention every time.

  11. Wow, this is a hard question. One thing I guess I’d consider is whether you’re happy with sales as they currently are or not. If you’re happy with your sales and the pace at which your fanbase is growing, I’d keep the drawings. If not, I’d try a cover change and see how things go. A change in cover doesn’t mean sales will pick up. I’ve changed a couple covers with no change in sales, so I hesitate to recommend a cover change. However, sometimes a new cover can help. Until you try it, it’s hard to know if it’s worth it or not. You could give a thriller feel with a paranormal element to the covers. Having read your books, I get more of a thriller feel than the typical vampire romances. (BTW, I’m one of those fans who don’t usually like vampires but do in your world. :D)

    You are so right. A lot of people don’t read the descriptions. If they did, the complaints about the story being so short (when the description spells out in plain English that the story is short) wouldn’t be happening. I also make it a point to post all over my blog and website that I write sex in my books, and yet I get emails from “shocked” people who never realized I had sex in my books. So they don’t read websites and blogs either (even if they contact you through that medium). So I do see why your current cover for this book is tricky.

    There are books for adults that feature children (Children of the Corn, The Shining, Poltergeist are a few that come to mind). Just because a child is the main character, it doesn’t mean it’s YA. But I understand that most people will probably assume it is. I wonder if making the gun a lot more pronounced would help. I didn’t even see the gun until I read through the comments and saw someone mention the item on the cover that clued people into this being an adult book. I just saw the doll. I also wonder if you can rewrite the line on your cover to something like “It’s not child’s play anymore. It’s something far more sinister.” I understand why you want her on the cover, and I kind of lean to keeping her based on your reasoning and how you’ve picked character for your other books in the series.

    Good luck on whatever you do. Sadly, there will always be someone who complains about something, which makes it a lot more frustrating and difficult to decide what to do.

  12. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com

     /  March 11, 2013

    Hi Joleene,l wish you success with your new book (Heart of the Raven ) Beautiful and interesting character..Thank you for the visit.(l will try to get a copy of the book)


Share your dark side...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • A Year of Short Stories

    A year of short stories kicks off with the Tales of the Executioners!

    Free short stories from the world of Amaranthine; a universe of blood and darkness where vampires don't sparkle and night is eternal. Each is about a member of the Executioners squad; the special vampire "police" force. Members both past and present share stories of assignments, origins, and more.

    Dark, light, love, laughter, death...you never know what you'll find in the shadows.

    Get all the details, including a list of available titles!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 4,611 other followers

  • Coming Events!

    June 16 – Saturday Showcasee in Gabriella Messina’s group  7pm Central

    June 25th – Rapid Fire takeover hosted in The Shadow League 9-10 pm Central with Steven Evans and Elias Raven

    July 28-29 – Indie Author Book Expo – come visit us at the Valley West Mall in Des Moines, Iowa  for book signings, sales, swag, and lots of fun. And it’s FREE!


  • Find me on Facebook

  • Blog Categories

  • get featured

  • Want your ebook autographed?

    Check out Authorgraph.com to get your digital ebooks autographed!

    Get a free Authorgraph from Joleene Naylor

  • Find me on Barnes & Noble

  • I’m on Goodreads

    Joleene Naylor's books on Goodreads
    Shades of Gray Shades of Gray (Amaranthine, #1)
    reviews: 13
    ratings: 49 (avg rating 4.00)

    Legacy of Ghosts Legacy of Ghosts (Amaranthine, #2)
    reviews: 9
    ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.37)

    See More at Good Reads
  • Authors db

  • Joleene Naylor

    Joleene Naylor

    An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com

    Personal Links

    Verified Services

    View Full Profile →

  • Editing services

  • The Ink Slingers Guild
  • Awesome Review Blog

    I Smell Sheep
  • My pet hamster!

    Get your own hamster
  • Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: