I’ve been recently informed by no fewer than two professionals in book marketing that several of my books’ covers need improvement. This came as no surprise. Book covers, especially for genre fiction, have tropes. They have characteristic color schemes and styles. There are good and bad points to such standardization, the main “pro” being that potential readers know what kind of book your book is right off the bat. One of the cons is that it tends to stifle originality: covers within a genre tend toward boring monotony. Frankly, I get a bit tired of seeing bare male chests emblazoned on the covers of romance novels. The beefcake has become a bit too ubiquitous, rather like the Fabio-inspired covers of the 1980s and 1990s.

After an emotionally rough week, I found myself on Sunday afternoon revamping the book covers for Daughter of the Twin Moons and Ulfbehrt’s Legacy.

For Daughter of the Twin Moons, I used the original background image, because I really like it. I think it gives off that fantasy vibe without shrieking “sword and sorcery.” I have nothing against sword-and-sorcery fantasy–I like the fantasy genre and that aspect of it especially–but that wasn’t the audience I’m aiming for in this story. The original cover was created by the “cover creator” in CreateSpace, which no longer exists. With little experience under my belt, that was the best I could do. I like to think I’ve gotten better.

For Ulfbehrt’s Legacy, I also reused the original cover graphic and added more, a picture of a Norwegian Fjord pony and a modern Norwegian Navy warboat. The additional images relate to the story inside: our heroine, Zoe, gets a job caring for ponies and our hero, Lars, is an elite sailor in the Norwegian Navy. The back cover of the printed copy has a picture of one of Norway’s many beautiful and dramatic fjords. I’m still not entirely happy with that cover, but it’s better than the original.

I just love royalty free stock photography!

The Diamond Gate and Willow might be the next up for new covers.

Perhaps the next step in creative recovery might be updating and revising some of my older stories. We’ll see. At this point, I’m making no promises. What I can promise is that the next story I write will be dedicated to my older son, Matthew. It won’t be a story he would have read and it will likely be a story that would have greatly embarrassed him, if only because his mother wrote it and middle-aged moms aren’t supposed to know about such things, much less write about them. But Matt’s always on my mind and his memory infiltrates everything I do.