Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Art of Book Cover Design for Historical Fiction


I had the pleasure of speaking on The Art of Book Cover Design panel at the Historical Novel Society conference last June with Emily Victorson from Allium PressSarah Johnson from Reading the PastAnna Michels from Sourcebooks, and Kris Waldherr from Art and Words. We each presented on different aspects of designing historical fiction covers, and my task was to discuss my approach and trends in the genre. In case you missed it, or if you attended and would like to have a copy of your own, here is my portion of the presentation!

L to R: Anna, Kris, myself, and Sarah
The first thing I do when working on a cover is determine the genre or subgenre and the target audience, and then I spend some time browsing through the bestsellers to see which covers are selling books and what they look like. It’s important that you pay attention to cover trends when creating yours. You may think your cover is going to stand out because it’s so different from others in the genre, but that approach can often backfire. Cover trends exist in the first place because they sell books. Readers of a genre are used to seeing a certain style of cover, and if your cover doesn’t even come close, they may very well skip over it, thinking it’s not the type of book they like to read. So the trick is crafting a cover that falls within the trends in the genre while standing out and catching the eye of your target reader. 

So with that being said, I want to briefly touch on some popular trends in today’s historical fiction covers. A significant portion of the historical fiction market is targeted toward women, so that’s where we’ll begin.


So let’s start with the trend readers either seem to love or hate: The Headless Woman. This trend is popular because the heroine in a reader’s imagination rarely matches a real-life depiction on the cover. So it gives us a chance to envision what her face looks like and also adds an air of mystery. (Check out Sarah's portion of the presentation for the original headless woman cover that started the trend!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

I'm Interviewed by indieBRAG!


I am so excited to share this interview! The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a hallmark of quality in self-published books, and several of my awesome clients have been awarded this honor. I was honored to receive an invitation to appear on the blog to talk about my book cover design business. I'm sharing a handful of questions here, but there are many more, and I'd love for you to head on over to the indieBRAG blog and check it out!

How did you get into Graphic Design?

I’ve always been an extremely visual person. Even as a child I was tearing pages out of magazines to hang on my walls and making collages out of pictures. My love for design began about eighteen years ago when I started scrapbooking. That was back when we worked with actual printed photos and paper, scissors, glue, etc. A few years later, I started working in the advertising department of my hometown daily newspaper. As an outside sales rep, I met with local and regional business owners and helped them create print and online advertising campaigns, and I worked with our team of graphic designers to bring the ads to life. I learned more about the process then and the collaborative relationship designers have with their clients. Then I moved into real estate and began designing marketing materials for my brokerage. When the economy collapsed and advertising and real estate both collapsed along with it, I turned my attention and my skills to self-publishing.

What are your goals as a graphic designer?

My goal is first and foremost to design a cover that sells books. That sometimes means that I need to coax an author into considering another approach to what they envision on their cover.  My years in marketing and advertising and my in-depth knowledge of the genres I work with have given me a pretty good eye when it comes to figuring out which elements will work best. I also have a huge competitive streak, and it’s really important to me that my covers are able to hold their own standing alongside those coming out of the Big Five houses.

What covers have you designed that are B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees?

Sebastian’s Way by George Steger, Tales of Byzantium by Eileen Stephenson, Murder by Misrule, Death by Disputation, and The Widow’s Guild by Anna Castle, (all of which I also edited), and Reconstructing Jackson, Red, White & Screwed, and Romancing Olive by Holly Bush.

Click here to read the full interview!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Madame Presidentess


Please join me in congratulating Nicole Evelina on the publication of Madame Presidentess! I had the pleasure of helping Nicole design a cover for this novel of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States. And Madame Presidentess was the winner in the U.S. Women’s History category at the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction! Here's the book description:

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Madame Presidentess is available now in ebook and print format on AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, and Smashwords. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Nicole's website for the scoop on all of her books and her numerous awards!

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Last Letter and The Road Home


Bestselling author Kathleen Shoop has brand new covers for her award-winning Letter Series, designed by yours truly! Kathie already had lovely covers for these books based on the real-life stories of her ancestors, but she worried they weren't conveying the right tone. Too many readers were expecting romance and happily ever afters. While these stories do have romantic elements, they are part of a larger family saga filled with the hardships of life on the prairie and the struggles of coping with failure and change. So in an effort to lift them out of the realm of historical romance and into the realm of historical fiction, we opted to take them a little darker. Check 'em out!

Before & After:

 

Katherine wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't found the letter... 

In the summer of 1905 Katherine Arthur's mother arrives on her doorstep, dying, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie's husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty--a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death. 

 

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine's world apart. Now, seventeen years later, and far from the homestead, Katherine has found the truth – she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it's too late? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tenacious Love


Please join me in congratulating Ramona Flightner on the publication of Tenacious Love, Book Four in the Banished Saga! I had the privilege of helping Ramona design the cover of this tale of two strong women and their fight for a brighter future. Here's the book description:

Shattered 
By personal loss, Clarissa and Gabriel McLeod fear for their marriage. Blinded by anger, grief and remorse, Clarissa is unwilling to forgive Gabriel, a man who believes he does not deserve forgiveness. 

Devoted 
To her beliefs, Zylphia McLeod defies society’s acceptable role for women. As a suffragist, painter, and volunteer at the orphanage, she clings fiercely to her independence. However, her budding friendships will challenge long-held beliefs and fears. 

Resolute 
In their determination for women to receive the vote, the McLeod women march on Washington. After suffering a brutal attack, they remain committed to their cause. From Newport to Boston to Montana, they continue the struggle to ensure the enfranchisement of all women. 

Join the McLeod family as they battle loss, celebrate family, and discover that love must be tenacious if it is to survive. 

Tenacious Love is available now on Amazon in ebook and print format. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Ramona's website for the scoop on all of her books!

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tempest


I'm a little late in sharing this, but please join me in congratulating David Cook on the publication of the latest installment in The Soldier Chronicles Series, Tempest! I had the pleasure of working with David on a copyedit of this exciting tale of military treachery, and I designed the cover. Here's the book description:

Fishguard, February 1797: HMS Britannia anchors off the Pembrokeshire coast in the dying days of winter. Two armed companies of soldiers row ashore, led by the charismatic American, Colonel William Tate. They are met by the local Welsh Volunteer regiment, who, unlike the suspicious locals, has been expecting them. 

But one man has been secretly shadowing a small flotilla bound for the same destination. Major Lorn Mullone, a shrewd Irishman employed by the British government, considers that their arrival is more than fortuitous. 

Is this just a mere coincidence or perhaps a ruse de guerre? Mullone has to uncover the truth, and, with every step of the way, he must tread carefully if he is to survive. 


Tempest is available now in ebook and print format on Amazon and Amazon UK. Add the book to your shelves on Goodreads and check out David's website.

Need an editor or cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Moriarty Meets His Match


Please join me in congratulating Anna Castle on her newest release, the first book in her Professor and Mrs. Moriarty Mystery Series, Moriarty Meets His Match! I had the pleasure of working with Anna on a developmental edit and a copyedit of this clever mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes's favorite villain, and I designed the book's cover! Here's the description:

Professor James Moriarty has but one desire left in his shattered life: to prevent the man who ruined him from harming anyone else. Then he meets amber-eyed Angelina Gould and his world turns upside down. 

At an exhibition of new inventions, an exploding steam engine kills a man. When Moriarty tries to figure out what happened, he comes up against Sherlock Holmes, sent to investigate by Moriarty’s old enemy. Holmes collects evidence that points at Moriarty, who realizes he must either solve the crime or swing it for it himself. He soon uncovers trouble among the board members of the engine company and its unscrupulous promoter. Moriarty tries to untangle those relationships, but everywhere he turns, he meets the alluring Angelina. She’s playing some game, but what’s her goal? And whose side is she on?

Between them, Holmes and Angelina push Moriarty to his limits -- and beyond. He’ll have to lose himself to save his life and win the woman he loves.

Moriarty Meets His Match is available now in print and ebook formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Anna's website, where she blogs about her research and writing historical fiction set in England.

Need an editor or cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Been Searching for You


Please join me in congratulating Nicole Evelina on the publication of her brand new contemporary romance, Been Searching for You, with a cover designed by yours truly! Been Searching for You was the winner of the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests. Here's the book description:

Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she's been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was 16.

Now, at 34, she's still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he'd be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before that's left her unable to commit.

When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may finally be at an end. Things don't quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to find the unknown recipient of her letters. But blind dates, Meetup events and online singles sites have nothing on what fate has in store for her when a co-worker unexpectedly quits and Annabeth finds herself working in close quarters with both Alex and her long ago ex, Nick. Fighting her attraction to one and loathing for the other, Annabeth is forced to face all of her old insecurities while keeping an eye on a scheming frienemy who may derail her hopes and dreams.

Written in the tradition of Bridget Jones' Diary, Kim Gruenfelder's A Total Waste of Makeup, and Melissa Pimental's Love By The Book, this romantic comedy shows that love on the sweet side can exist for the modern girl, if only she's willing to trust herself and search hard enough.

Been Searching for You is available now in ebook and print format on AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, and Smashwords. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Nicole's website for the scoop on all of her books.

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Friday, May 6, 2016

Until the Day Breaks


Please join me in congratulating Paula Scott on the publication of her debut historical romance, Until the Day Breaks! I had the pleasure of working with Paula on a copyedit of this exciting and inspirational tale of love, faith, and danger in pre-Gold Rush California, and I helped her design the book's cover! Here's the description:

A young woman finds her loyalties tested beyond limit and her desires torn beyond measure in 1846 California. 

After sailing around Cape Horn, and barely surviving the perilous journey, devout Protestant Rachel Tyler arrives in California just in time for her father’s wedding and the unfolding of the Bear Flag Revolt. Though already engaged to marry a minister in Massachusetts, Rachel’s ambitious father arranges her betrothal to Roman Vasquez, a blue-blooded Catholic son of the gente de razón, the ruling class of California. 

Roman, a proud, Spanish soldier, is ready to fight and die for his homeland. As the Yankee rebels raise their bear flag in Sonoma square, the last thing Roman wants is an arranged marriage to the American daughter of his enemy, Joshua Tyler. But his Uncle Pedro, the patrón of the family, has other plans. 

Neither Rachel nor Roman desire this unlikely engagement that assaults their religious beliefs, but they cannot escape the passion flaming between them as war looms on the horizon and bitter rivals rise up to destroy them amid the breathtaking backdrop of the last days of the Californios. 

Until the Day Breaks is the first book in the sweeping saga of California Rising, a tale of love, intrigue, and destiny, where passionate men and women lay the foundation of the Golden State with their very lives.

Until the Day Breaks will be released on May 7th and is available now for preorder in ebook and print format on Amazon and will soon be available at other online retailers. And check out Paula's website for her inspirational posts about writing, family, and farm life.

Need an editor or cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Monday, May 2, 2016

Midnight Kiss

Please join me in congratulating Haley Whitehall on the re-release of Midnight Kiss, Book Three in the Moonlight Romance Series, with a cover designed by yours truly! Here's the book description:

Racial prejudice in the old South threatens to keep them apart, but sometimes love is black and white. 

Unjustly accused of stealing, nanny April Windmire is turned out on the streets without pay or a reference. With no place to go and no friends, she stows away on the Mississippi steamer, the Queen Bee. Her hopes to remain undetected until they dock in St. Louis are dashed when a handsome officer discovers her hiding. Instead of turning her in, he takes her to his private quarters to ensure her safety. There she fights her growing attraction to a man she cannot have. 

Matt Seever's wife died four years ago, leaving him alone with two small mulatto children. He works on the steamer to provide for them, but his job as an officer on the Queen Bee isn’t family friendly. He knows he needs a new wife, but no southern white woman will marry him. When April lands in his lap, his prayers are answered. Or are they? April’s not the trusting type, and racial prejudice runs deep in post-Civil War Missouri. Just when Matt convinces April he loves her, his new family becomes a target, and there’s no backing down from this fight. 

Together, April and Matt must brave heinous racial prejudice. Will it tear them apart or will they find an enduring love? 

Midnight Caller is available now in ebook format on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and iBooks! Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Haley's website for the scoop on all of her books.

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Thursday, April 28, 2016

All the Fields Above

Please join me in congratulating P.L. Yizzi on the publication of her newest short story, All the Fields Above! I had the pleasure of working with P.L. on a copyedit of this moving story that brings the past and present together with a twist, and I designed the cover. Here's the book description:

It's Emma Barlowe's twelfth birthday, and ubiquitous bully Jessica Klimer has a surprise of her own planned for Emma that will change her life forever. After suffering for years, Emma has had enough and refuses to let Jessica or the pain she triggered keep her from the life she was meant to live. Elated to have been accepted at U.C. Berkley and out on her own, three thousand miles away from the town that tried to define her, Emma meets bohemian roommate Freesia, who ultimately leads her to the source of her mysterious pain--the roots of which, Emma finds, reach all the way to her soul.

All the Fields Above is available in ebook format on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords for 99-cents.

Need an editor or cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Jane the Quene


Please join me in congratulating Janet Wertman on the publication of her debut historical fiction novel, Jane the Quene, Book One of the Seymour Saga! I had the pleasure of designing the cover. Here's the book description:

All Jane Seymour wants is a husband; but when she catches the eye of a volatile king, she is pulled deep into the Tudor court’s realm of plot and intrigue...

England. 1535. Jane Seymour is 27 years old and increasingly desperate for the marriage that will provide her a real place in the world. She gets the perfect opportunity to shine when the court visits Wolf Hall, the Seymour ancestral manor. With new poise born from this event, it seems certain that her efficiency and diligence will shine through and finally attract a suitor. 

Meanwhile, King Henry VIII is 45 and increasingly desperate for a son to secure his legacy. He left his first wife, a princess of Spain, changing his country’s religion in the process, to marry Anne Boleyn -- but she too has failed to deliver the promised heir. As Henry begins to fear he is cursed, Jane Seymour’s honesty and innocence conjure redemption. Thomas Cromwell, an ambitious clerk who has built a career on strategically satisfying the King’s desires, sees in Jane the perfect vehicle to calm the political unrest that threatens the country: he engineers the plot that ends with Jane becoming the King’s third wife. 

Jane believes herself virtuous and her actions justified, but early miscarriages shake her confidence and hopes. How can a woman who has done nothing wrong herself deal with the guilt of how she unseated her predecessor? 

Jane the Quene is available now in ebook and print format on Amazon. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Jane's website for delicious tidbits from her historical research.

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Camelot's Queen


Please join me in congratulating Nicole Evelina on the publication of Camelot's Queen, Guinevere's Tale Book Two, with a cover designed by yours truly! Here's the book description:

History remembers Guinevere's sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish, and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot, their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere's fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur's lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere's story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot's golden days yourself -- but be prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Camelot's Queen is available now in ebook and print formats on AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, and Smashwords. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Nicole's website for the scoop on all of her books and articles on writing and Arthurian lore. And check out Nicole's article for the Huffington Post on traveling in the footsteps of Arthur and Guinevere!

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Immigrant Wife


Please join me in congratulating Madhu Bazaz Wangu on the publication of her first full-length historical fiction novel, The Immigrant Wife! I was privileged to offer some copyediting assistance on this moving and inspiring story, and I designed the cover! Here's the book description:

As a girl on the brink of womanhood in 1960s India, Shanti Bamzai has big dreams. Rather than enter into an arranged marriage like her sister, Shanti embarks on a journey into the unknown, leaving her family home behind for an education and a chance to chart her own destiny.

While India experiences an upheaval of cultural and societal changes as old-world traditions collide with the modern global era, Shanti navigates college, a marriage of her own choosing, and motherhood, fighting a constant battle between the pressures of traditional expectations and her own burning desire to be an artist and an independent woman.

A move to America presents exciting new opportunities, but Shanti is disappointed to find herself still hemmed in by the restrictions of her Indian upbringing. As her children become adults and her marriage becomes a shell of what it once was, Shanti must find the courage to step out of her husband’s shadow and into the life she’s always dreamed of.

The Immigrant Wife is available now in ebook and print formats on Amazon, and you can add it to your shelves on Goodreads. Madhu has published several nonfiction books on Hinduism and Buddhism, and she is the founder of the Mindful Writers Group. Visit Madhu's website for the scoop on all of her books and check out some of her gorgeous artwork.

Need an editor or cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lost Lake House

Please join me in congratulating Elisabeth Grace Foley on the publication of her newest historical fiction novella, Lost Lake House, with a cover designed by yours truly! Here's the book description:

The Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the heady glamour and danger of the Jazz Age

All Dorothy Perkins wants is to have a good time. She’s wild about dancing and can’t understand or accept her father’s strictness in forbidding it. Night after night she sneaks out to the Lost Lake House, a glamorous island nightclub rumored to be the front for more than just music and dancing…in spite of an increasingly uneasy feeling that she may be getting into something more than she can handle.

Marshall Kendrick knows the truth behind the Lost Lake House—and bitterly hates his job there. But fear and obligation have him trapped. When a twist of circumstances throws Dorothy and Marshall together one night, it may offer them both a chance at escaping the tangled web of fear and deceit each has woven…if only they are brave enough to take it.

Lost Lake House is available in ebook format on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords! Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Elisabeth's website, The Second Sentence, where she blogs about reading, writing, and history. 

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Thousand Stars


Please join me in congratulating Sandra Fox Murphy on the publication of her debut historical fiction novel, A Thousand Stars! I had the pleasure of working with Sandra on the cover of this novel based on the true story of an ancestress in Sandra's family tree! Here's the book description:

In seventeenth-century Rhode Island, Ann Tallman, wife of Peter, is charged with adultery after finding love and refuge with the man whose kindness captured her heart. Ann’s story begins in Barbados where she meets the dashing merchant Captain Peter Tallman. After they settle in Rhode Island, after six children, after years of Peter’s absences, abuse, and jealousies, it was Thomas, the English indentured servant, who won Ann’s heart. Refusing to leave behind her children, her choice was abruptly taken from her hands with Peter’s request for divorce and the court’s sentence of lashings in Portsmouth and Newport. After an escape to Jamestown in the Virginia colony, Ann is eventually drawn back to Rhode Island, to her beloved, to her children, and to her punishment. Will she be welcome among her peers or will she be but an outcast? Will her children forgive her? Readers will love this story for its historical color and reflection of the sacrifices of New England’s early settlers. This is a story of atonement, of courage, forgiveness and grace in deeply judgmental colonial America.

A Thousand Stars is available now in ebook and print formats on Amazon. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Sandra's website.

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!
jennyq@historicaleditorial.com