You can sell a book by its cover. You just have to hope the book matches up to it. What’s fascinating is the creative interplay that goes into its making the occasional false start and mutual sense of when something’s not all together right. It helps when you have no fear of offending or being offended; it helps to be honest.
The process begins with a detailed questionnaire, highlighting the key aspects of the book; remember, the cover artist has no idea what it’s about.
A blurb helps
Bloodline is the second book in The Gift Trilogy, which traces the occult rivalry between two sisters, Elizabeth and Elsie McBride. In the first book, Elizabeth escapes the forces that seek to corrupt her. In Bloodline, Elsie faces the same struggle—one even more intense with both her soul and the world at stake.
The struggle is played out against a backdrop of approaching war as magic manipulates key figures and real life events in the unseen shadow of Hell.
A key section of the book can also prove useful. This scene leads up to where Elsie makes a decision, one that proves irrevocable:
Emma had insisted on travelling by plane, disembarking at Omsk, where a heavily laden sledge and a team of dogs awaited them. As the day neared its close, Elsie understood why. There were no roads, the landscape enveloped by snow. It stretched as far as the eye could see, a gleaming white sea. All day the dogs panted, the only other sound the hiss of sledge on snow. All day they travelled, rising and dipping on frozen billows etched by a sharp Siberian wind. Night fell, and still they travelled, dogs and the two travellers buoyed by strange magic.
Every so often, Elsie slid her eyes sideways, keeping her head straight. In the cold night air, Silverman looked younger, her features sharply chiselled and smooth. She reminded Elsie of an old illustration of the Snow Queen, and she wondered if everyone carried ghosts from days past, shadow spiders lurking at the back of the mind, biding their time.
"We are nearly there," Silverman said at last. "They have been waiting."
On the basis of this snippet, it seemed a good idea to go with something like this—a preliminary rough
But can a snippet that may or may not lead to a strong visual image capture a book? What was the essential theme of the story? Maria Zannini caught it, her mind fishing in the dark and landing a gem.
There were three minor variants akin to the Goldilocks problem—the porridge being either too hot or too cold. One, we thought, was too in your face,
the other possibly too subtle.
The rest is history and hopefully the writing is as good as its cover.
And I almost forgot, the almost as important back cover.
Buy it now (as they say) Bloodline
Also on Amazon.com.
And for those in search of a cover: