What’s in a cover?

Do you pick up a book because you like the cover? I do. I suspect most of us do. Likewise, we may be put off so much by a cover that we don’t pick up the book at all. If you are an indie author, one of the first pieces of advice you’ll be given is, ‘Hire a good cover designer’.

Covers have to be genre appropriate. Just look at the covers on our header here on Take Five Authors. Ellie Campbell has a smart, sassy cover that’s absolutely right for the tone and feel of her book. Mary Smith’s No More Mulberries is intriguing, exotic, a little dark, absolutely real. Janet Gover’s cover puts her book immediately into the right setting – and boy, can you feel the heat!

withoutAs we’ve had two cover reveals this week (Sue Moorcroft’s wintry delight for The Christmas Promise and my own summery and reflective Mistakes We Make), it seemed like a good time to think about this question. Oh – and it was prompted, too, by blogger Joanne Baird (Portobello Book Blog), who reviewed a new book, to be published by Hodder. It seems that Hodder are trying to do something rather different – get us to read a book with no preconceptions whatsoever. There’s no clue about the author and very little about the content. Joanne loved it – but she was sent a copy by the publisher. Would you pick it up in a shop? It’s a great gimmick, sure. With a Twitter hashtag #readwithoutprejudice there’s sure to be a buzz of interest around the title. It’s got me thinking, hasn’t it? But, let’s face it, it can only be done once. A few hundred completely anonymous covers would be extremely confusing – how would we find anything?

PWL+MWMWhich brings me back to where I started. Covers in today’s market – even for the digital marketplace – have to be attention-grabbing, attractive, genre-specific, give a feeling for content and setting and right for the local culture. This last point is interesting, and probably a science in itself. I haven’t yet seen the covers of my Turkish translations, for example, but I can guess they’ll be completely different from the existing ones. What might a reader in Turkey make of my gorgeous but rather mysterious People We Love cover, for example? And I adore my latest, Mistakes We Make, but I wonder how it will fare in America, where covers tend to be bolder and brasher?

Jojo compositeHere are a few examples of covers from different countries. Jojo Moyes is a great writer, and I thought After You was even better than Me Before You. Here are her covers from (l-r) the UK, USA and Germany.

HMB compositeAnd here’s a title I picked at random, The first is the cover for the UK edition (published by Mills & Boon) and the second for the US edition (published by Harlequin). Obviously, each has been designed to fit with the imprint’s branding – but I still found the differences intriguing.

So come on, do tell – what makes you pick up a book? Does it need a hunky hero or a gorgeous bride? A couple embracing? Is the typography the most important thing? Or scene? A drawing? Pink shoes? Be honest now!


Sue’s GORGEOUS new cover and Jenny’s LOVELY new book!

Christmas Promise final cover web 389 × 600Just popping in to the Take Five Authors Wednesday News Spot to show you (OK, show off!) the cover for my next book, The Christmas Promise.

I’m totally thrilled and delighted with the wonderful jacket Avon Books UK have designed – especially as the paperback is very satisfactorily blingy with gold foil and silver sparkles.

You won’t be surprised to hear that the book’s set at Christmas. Ava doesn’t like Christmas, her business as a couture milliner is struggling so she’s skint and her ex-boyfriend is threatening her with revenge porn.

Sam, on the other hand, has plenty of money and usually loves Christmas. But this year his mum’s ill, making him re-evaluate everything. He decides to give his mum, Wendy, the best Christmas he can and orders her a special gift – which involves Ava making a promise that proves unexpectedly hard to keep.

A Christmas to remember

The Christmas Promise can be preordered now

mistakes we make preAnd now let’s wish Jenny Harper a very Happy Publication Day for Mistakes We Make, the latest in her  Heartlands series of ‘contemporary women’s fiction with bite’: complex characters facing serious issues.

Congratulations, Jenny! I hope to see this lovely book zooming up the charts.

Buy Mistakes We Make here.

Summer Solstice Splash ‘n Cash Giveaway!


I’ve teamed up with four other authors this week for a Rafflecopter giving readers the chance to win a $100 Grand Prize, which can be taken in the form of either cash or an Amazon gift card – who doesn’t need more books!

It’s free to enter – just click on the link at the bottom of this post to be taken to the Rafflecopter. Good luck.

Summer Solstice
 Splash ‘n Cash Giveaway!


$100 Grand Prize
(Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash)


Sponsored by:

Look what just arrived!

books webMy new novel, Mistakes We Make, is due out soon – and my author copies have just arrived! It’s always a really exciting day, because for the first time you see all those words you slaved over doing together under one cover, and hopefully in the right order.

Mistakes We Make is the fifth novel in my Heartlands series, and is a follow-up to People We Love, which came out a year ago (although it can be read as a stand-alone too). It takes up the story of Molly Keir, best friend of artist Alexa Gordon, who was the heroine of the last book. Lexie’s life has moved on apace, while Molly’s is more or less at a standstill. Determined to move on, she accepts the offer of a glittering new job in London –  but it means moving away from family and friends. Is it a good move? Only time will tell!

Mistakes We Make is on pre-order on Amazon already. Meantime, here’s a short extract to whet your appetite.

Molly Keir rummaged in her handbag and extracted her glasses.

‘Yum, this looks amazing. Scallops, black pudding, Gravadlax, sole paupiettes. Wow. I didn’t realise how ravenous I was till I started reading!’

Lexie whispered, ‘Molly.’

‘Mmm? What do you think about beef?’


Molly looked up at the note of urgency. ‘What?’

Lexie’s face had turned an odd shade, and her brown eyes had a panicky look about them. She was staring over Molly’s shoulder at the doorway.

Molly shoved her glasses back onto the top of her head and swung round. A woman was walking into the room. She was Asian – Indian perhaps? – and classically beautiful. Her hair fell in thick, shiny tresses halfway down her back, her eyes were dark as treacle and dramatically outlined in black. She was wearing scarlet. Afterwards, that was what Molly remembered most – the stunning silky dress, hugging a perfect figure.

For now, the dress and the woman faded improbably into the background because there was a man behind her. Not just any man – Adam Blair.

Molly’s husband.

Order from Amazon, in paperback or for Kindle.

mistakes we make pre



And the winner is!

Congratulations to all four winners of the Ellie Campbell audio books.  First out the bag was Christine P.  Audio book is winging its way to you right now. Look out for the email and thanks to all who entered!

More competitions coming your way…