Show me the cover!

One of the most fun—and most nerve-wracking, hair-pulling—parts of publishing is designing the book’s cover. In one glance, the cover must convey the essence of the story, attract a reader and offer a hint of the story’s genre and nature.

Asking much?

My latest book releases next month, so today I decided to share the process from the first ideas all the way through to a cover reveal.

So About the Money is a fun, amateur sleuth, more traditional mystery than cozy. The cover needs to be light rather than dark and suspenseful—although, of course, there’s an element of suspense in Holly and JC’s story—and it must focus on Holly, the heroine, rather than a clenched couple, since the romance is an element, a subplot rather than the central story.

No pressure.

I started scrolling through online retailers, studying other people’s covers. I liked a few of the newer amateur sleuth and light women’s fiction books. They had a muted background, a featured story element rather than a more typical “scene” or couple.  Hmm, something new, I considered.

I searched the image sites, looking for stock photos that could bring the story elements to life. Hundreds, thousands, of photo images later, I found possibilities: a business woman (Holly) and a cash-filled briefcase (remember my tag line? Mystery with a Financial Twist; Trust Issues, Family Bonds). I included assorted hands reaching out to “lift’ some of that cash and then went to town with possible combinations of those elements.

Let me be the first to admit my Photoshop skills are very, very limited.

After arranging my chosen elements into a mock-up, I turned to the fonts.

So About the Money

So About the Money

So About the Money

Too heavy, too thin, too frivolous, too hard to read…

Finally I had some ideas. I imposed on a few trusted friends and sent them this:

So About The Money v4 small  SATM v2 small

They didn’t say they hated it, but they politely suggested that I keep thinking about the cover.





I took another hard look. The cover was cluttered and simply didn’t “work.”

I removed the cash-filled case and added few “currency” rectangles fluttering from her briefcase and packed the result off to my cover designer.


She hated it.

She found the background “dated” and the cover “flat.”

She suggested this:

So-About-the-Money-mock3 small

I hated it.

It didn’t pop to my uneducated eyes and the “cash” was distracting. The title was too hard to read.

We went back and forth, adding and subtracting.

What if we change the briefcase? Make it red? I suggested.

What if I take out the bank note under your name, she said?  Make the font black?


Collaboration is the name of the game. 🙂

So without further ado (that is, without boring you with the intervening versions),  I give you the cover reveal:

So-About-the-Money-2-1000x1500 copy


What do you think?



So About the Money releases in November. Additional vendors are “to come”, but the book is currently available for preorder from Amazon.


So About the Money – When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. With an infinitely sexy cop—Holly’s pissed-off, jilted ex-fiancé—threatening to arrest her for the murder, the intrepid accountant must protect her future, her business…and her heart…by using her investigative skills to follow the money, before the killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass…and the next dead body is Holly’s.


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