Monday, February 10, 2014

Oh What a Knight! Day 12 and a Blog Swap with Michelle Pickett

It's Day 12 of the Tour, and today, Michelle Pickett and I are exchanging posts on covers. Over at THESE WORDS TELL A STORY, I share my experience of working on covers for a series (with different Cover Artists). And here, Michelle tells us how she uses  covers for inspiration while writing, and why she chose to redesign a cover for MILAYNA. Take it away, Michelle!

Hi, Mary! Thank you so much for blog swapping with me today to dish about book covers. I am so excited to be here!

I have to say that book covers are one of my favorite things about publishing, other than the story itself. I often make up my own “personal” covers to use as inspiration while I write. Of course those covers will most likely never see the light of day, but they help me visualize my manuscript as a tangible book and not just words on a computer screen. Plus, it helps me keep a certain tone or airiness/darkness factor to a story by looking at how I visualize the actual people and setting of the book. 

For instance, my “made-up” cover for a
copyright: Michelle Pickett 2014
young adult contemporary romance I’m editing for submission. Even though the book is a young adult romance, it does touch on some darker issues. I tried to convey that in the cover I made-up and have hanging on my story board for the book. So here’s a look at that cover. Everyone please remember, I’m an author, not a graphic artist. I do this strictly for inspiration for myself! So please keep the snickering to a minimum. :) [I think it's a lovely cover and fits this story well. Can't wait for this one to release!]

I think we as authors and readers sometimes don’t realize the importance we place on a book’s cover. But we really do “judge a book by its cover” a lot of the time. I know I find myself skimming over books because their covers don’t grab my attention or just don’t interest me. 

I'm grateful that my publishing house puts a lot of time and effort into creating book covers that not only portray what a book is about, but also are appealing to the eye, and are something the author loves. The last point is important. Not all publishing houses allow authors to choose their covers. Some authors don’t get any say whatsoever in their cover design. So I’m very thankful that I not only get a cover I love, but that I help design. Like my cover for the first book in my new young adult paranormal trilogy, “Milayna.” My editor and I spent a lot of time creating this cover and we both fell in love with it. And most people loved it, too. Take a look…

But, I discovered a problem when I attended Book Expo America in New York last summer. Every person—and I do mean Every Person—I talked to who just looked at the cover, without reading the jacket copy, assumed the book was a sweet, young adult contemporary romance. Um, no.

When I asked the person to read the jacket copy and compare it to the cover they inevitably said, “I never would have guessed it was a paranormal from looking at the cover.”

My thought? “Oh, no! I’ve got a huge problem!” 

See, just because I loved the cover didn’t mean it was the right cover for the book. And in the case of “Milayna” the cover my editor and I had created, just didn’t fit.

Having the wrong cover can cause a couple of problems in my opinion. 

First, a reader may overlook your book because they think it isn’t the genre they are looking for. In my case a reader who wanted paranormal would have skimmed right over my book. Second, a reader who thinks they are getting one thing and gets something totally different is going to be a very unhappy reader. And authors do not want unhappy readers. 

In my case, if a person had picked up my book and read the tagline “Having a crush on a demi-angel takes “heavenly” to a whole new level” and looked at the sweet photo of a teen girl on the front, they may have bought the book thinking they were getting a strictly romantic story. Wrong. Not getting what they expect tends to make readers a little perturbed. I know it does me.

So off to the drawing board I went. I consulted a few designers, got a few quotes on some covers that I thought were so-so, but more in-line with the nature of the book. And then I saw Robin Ludwig’s portfolio and the inspiration piece for my new cover. I fell in love the second I saw it. It was “Milayna.”
Here she is…

Now, you may like the cover or you may not. And either way, that’s okay. But I’ll tell you why it fits my book better than the first cover. 

First, it’s not romantic looking. The trilogy does have a romance in it, but it isn’t “just” a romance. So I wanted to stay away from overly romantic themed covers. 

Second, the characters in my story are demi-angels. They don’t have wings. The girl on the first cover had wings. It didn’t fit with the character. The girl on the second cover does not. However, the designer used angel wing overlays over the entire book cover. They are harder to see where the colors are darkest, but you can see them clearly on the model’s face and behind my name. 

And last, the colors are vibrant and the blending is very unusual and one-of-a-kind. It’s going to be a cover that will jump off the shelves when people walk by. Some will pick it up because they are drawn to it. Some will pass over it because they don’t like it. Either way, the important thing is, it fits the story. 

Here’s the new tagline: In the battle for her soul…which side will she choose? Nothing romantic there. It hints at a struggle between good and evil that the other cover didn’t.

Did I get it right the second time around? Who knows? I think I got it “closer.” If it gets the readers to flip the book over and read the jacket copy, then my designer and I have done our jobs. All that’s left then is to cross my fingers and hope readers enjoy the story! Thanks so much for having me and happy reading everyone!

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! I love the new cover and wish you the best of luck with MILAYNA.  Readers- be sure to scroll down for more about this fantastic book!!

The uninteresting facts about Me…
First, I think I'm rather uninteresting. I'd rather be behind the computer than in front of it. Crowds give me hives. I'm a wife, mother of four, author, reader, although not always in that order. I'm the bestselling author of PODs, which totally blows my mind. Some days I still have my husband pinch me to make sure it’s not a dream; but I totally think he enjoys it too much.

I love Reese’s peanut butter cups and peanut butter M & Ms and eat way too many while I write, I can’t write without a hoodie, I hate to cook but love to watch cooking shows, and I love happy endings that give me swoony butterflies for days. I write across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups, and love to hear from readers and other authors. So drop me a note and say, "Hey!"
Website • Email • Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads
Pre-Order Links for Milayna:
Title: Milayna (book one)
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (Feel free to use any images, text, links, etc. from our site.)
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Formats: Paperback, e-book
ARCs: If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the Reviewer Form on our website. ARCs will ship several months before the release date.

From the bestselling author of PODs comes an unforgettable tale of action, intrigue, and following your heart in the midst of betrayal.
It's hard being good all the time. Everyone needs to be bad once in a while. But for seventeen-year-old Milayna, being good isn't a choice. It's a job requirement. And it's a job she can't quit. Born a demi-angel, Milayna steps in when danger and demons threaten the people around her, but being half angel isn't all halos and happiness. Azazel, Hell's demon, wants Milayna's power, and he'll do anything to get it. But he only has until her eighteenth birthday, after which she becomes untouchable.

With the help of other demi-angels, Milayna thwarts the trouble Azazel sends her way. Fighting with her is Chay. He's a demi-angel who's sinfully gorgeous, and Milayna falls hard. But is Chay her true love...or her nemesis in disguise?

Because when she learns of a traitor in her group, there's no one she can trust...not even the one she loves.


  1. Hi Mary! Thanks so much for blog swapping with me and letting me take over your blog with my ramblings. I had lot of fun talking about book covers, which I get really excited over.

    And everyone be sure to hop over to Visit My Blog and read Mary's post about how she's dealt with working with different cover designers while creating covers books for the same series!

    Thanks again, Mary!
    Michelle :)

    1. You are so welcome! Thanks for sharing with us!!!

  2. Love the new cover Michelle. The colors are great!

    1. Yes! I love the colors on the redesign. They really pop out at you.

    2. Thank you, Kai! I fell in love with the colors first. I liked how vibrant they are. I can't wait to see them on a real book cover.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Michelle :)

  3. I so love the new cover for Milayna!! And Unspeakable needs to be in the world--like soon, so I can pimp it out :)


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