Wednesday 22 April 2015

Let's Talk About Book Covers...

It's been a crazy start to 2015 and I wouldn't change it for anything :) In between developmental edits, author photos, trying to draft Book#2, and a whole lot of crazy things that go along with your debut novel, in the last few weeks I've been providing some early thoughts to my publisher for the book cover. I'm one of the least visually creative people on the planet so I'm super excited to see what the team at Howard Books come up with for this story.

Close To You is a contemporary romantic comedy is about a disillusioned academic-turned-tour-guide and an entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien who fall in love on a Tolkien themed tour of New Zealand. 

Main Characters

 Allison (Allie): New Zealand born and bred she's become a tour guide after her Tolkien-centered academic career unravelled. All she wants is to find a way to rebuild her reputation and career.

 Jackson: an Iowa farm boy determined to prove to his small home town he can make it big in business. He just needs a hand from his wealthy and Lord of the Rings obsessed great-uncle to make it happen, except he knows nothing about Tolkien or any of this works.


Since Close To You is set in New Zealand, I'm so thrilled to have Jackson and Allie's adventures unfolding in some of our gorgeous scenery and locations.

Wellington Airport where they meet

 The Weta Cave

The Museum Hotel


Kahurangi National Park

And the final result...

So let's talk about book covers. Like? Dislikes? Seen too much of? Want to see more of? Favourites? What grabs you? What doesn't? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She is the author of Close to You, a RITA Award Double Finalist, and Can't Help Falling, an RT Review Top Pick. Her latest book Then There Was You released on June 22. When she's not chasing three adorable but spirited little people, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. She loves to connect on her website, on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Author and Twitter @KaraIsaac   


  1. I'm not good with covers - I can look at a cover and have an instant reaction to it, but I can't always articulate what's good, or what separates the good from the truly outstanding.

    However, I can usually tell why I don't like a cover: white or yellow text, Papyrus font, boring stock photo that tells me nothing about the genre, setting or characters. My (un) favourite was cover with Jesus in a garden (Gethsemane?) talking to a man (probably a disciple) on a novel that was supposed to be a contemporary romance. Perfect cover for a devotional, but contemporary romance? I don't think so.

  2. I'm the same as you, Iola. I can't often verbalise what makes a cover a "wow" for me but I'm pretty good at being able to work out what I don't like! But yes, a contemporary romance featuring Jesus in a garden on the cover definitely takes the cake!

  3. Can't wait to see your cover, Kara :)

    I'm tired of the same type of covers being used all the time. I love something unique or different but it must tie in with the story. Love those little connections. If I can get hints about the story and/or themes from the cover, that's a big plus.

    1. I definitely like hints about the story from the cover too, Rel! And I've realised one of my biggest bugbears is when someone seems to think that a reader won't notice if the cover is widely at odds with the content. E.g. I read a book recently where the character was described as a strawberry blonde and the girl on the cover had fiery red hair!

  4. Covers are sooooo important, aren't they? I've learned a lot about them from my graphic designer daughter who does mine. It's not just the photo/picture, but the placement and type of font used too. And then there's the spine - it's gotta be eye-catching enough for someone to pull it from the shelf. All I can say is that I"m happy to provide a verbal concept and then leave it up to an expert!

    1. And I love your book covers, Andrea. You are very fortunate and privileged to not have a publisher the only one involved in designing the cover. Mine have all been organised by publishers with only a couple of times having a cover sent to me to say what I thought before the book was printed.

    2. Mary, I love Andrea's covers because they're fresh, unique and provide the right vibe that suits the stories :) I was given the opportunity to provide input on my recent Heartsong cover proofs and they were able to tweak things like hair length and complexion colour.

  5. It is exciting seeing what the artist and publisher will devise/create for a cover. Hope yours turns out spectacular.

  6. I think Christian Fiction book covers are improving- compared with those published 10/15 years ago. Some can give the wrong impression- and I must say when it comes to historical fiction, I do prefer the more authentic, though some are more forgiveable.

    I like those done by Bethany House and some of Thomas Nelson's - The Huntress of Thornbeck forest is a favourite of this year.....80s/90s hairstyles, and what looks like Viscose on a 12th century Byzantine princess is less impressive....

  7. Be as picky as you like, Kara, if the publisher gives you a choice. You must be happy about it yourself because you especially know its content.

  8. Kara, I can't wait to see your debut cover - a very special moment :) My pet hates are cover models that don't resemble the characters in the book and the cover not reflecting the genre. It also seems like the same stock photos are recycled on numerous covers. There's an X factor with covers that's hard to define, but you know it when you see it!


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