It’s a well-worn statement, a cliché, even that a book cover is what sells the book. My own method of choosing a book cold is to be attracted by the cover, pick it up, read the back cover blurb, read a paragraph or two on the first page, glance at the author bio (I’m the nosy type!), then drop or buy. And that’s it. In a few seconds, I’ve made my decision to add to that author’s royalties or not.
Before I published INCEPTIO, I took weeks to collect a selection of covers I liked. I chose them all on pure instinct, not giving myself the chance to think about it. Click and copy, save, close document. You can see the whole selection by clicking on the image to the right.
My conclusion was that I liked a strong central image with two messages; one clear and one underneath. I also liked bold colours. A lot.
When I specified the INCEPTIO cover to the SilverWood Books design team, I asked for a gold symbol with imperial purple, on gloss. Purple signifies Rome, power, strength, royalty, rarity; the gold eagle is a sign of Rome, America and the Nazis. Oh, the latter wasn’t so good, but the ‘aquila’ is the classic Roman symbol so that’s what ended up on the cover. 😉
The graphic itself is executed in a very contemporary style which reminds us the story is set in the modern age. The shield/compass with a rising blade reflects toughness and focus – core Roman traits. Lastly, the streetscape behind balances the design – we’re in a sophisticated, urban and elegant place with a river and classical buildings.
When the INCEPTIO cover arrived from the designer all I could do was point to the screen. Speech had fled. ‘Stunned’ doesn’t begin to describe it. And I still haven’t lost a jot of admiration for the SilverWood Books design team.
This week, I decided on the colour for the cover of the fifth Roma Nova book, INSURRECTIO. As with previous ones the colour reflects the content. PERFIDITAS is red because it’s the colour of betrayal as well as of Mars (god of war), anger and blood. SUCCESSIO’s blue cover gives the ideas of midnight and coldness; the villain is a real shocker, calculating and cold-hearted and many of the pivotal scenes take place in the dark.
For AURELIA, we’ve replaced the gold emblem of the first three with a silver one, a reflection of Roma Nova’s most important natural resource which is central to the plot and a way of showing we’re into a new cycle of stories within the Roma Nova series. The green background? Dark like the other covers, it brings in the Roman ideas of youth, vigour and evergreen along with the suggestion of dark trees and the Roman defeat in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. A significant part of the action of AURELIA takes place in Germany. Will she end up like Varus, defeated in a dark forest?
I’ll be revealing the INSURRECTIO cover in the New Year. And the book itself? You’ll see it in Spring.
Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.