Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Cover Fairy by Roberta Isleib

In spite of the language in my contracts (author consultation--translation: what we say is pretty much what you get), I feel very lucky with my book covers so far. As my agent would put it, the cover fairy has been good to me!

In my golf lover's mystery series, the artists produced gorgeous golf course related scenes (all very green of course) with just the right hint of murder. My favorite was probably the fifth and final, for FINAL FORE. Note the very spooky shadows cast by the bushes around the green...

My second series took place in the towns surrounding my hometown on the shoreline of Connecticut. I had a definite idea of what I thought should be on the first cover: a photo of an abandoned house on a spit of beach near Guilford, Connecticut (which I now use as the header for my website.) I thought it would provide just the right touch of wistfulness, and that would suit my character, a single, somewhat lonely psychologist.

Instead, my editor sent me a file containing a set of orange polka-dotted curtains pulled away from a desk holding tea, a computer, and a cat. And in the background sat what appeared to be a kitty litter box.

"I love the way they pumped up the orange. Don't you just love it?" my editor chirped.

Which we all know is publisher speak for "hope you do because it's in the can." So I pointed out the litter box misunderstanding (which I learned was intended to be an ambulance), and made noises of approval. And I grew quite fond of that orange...

Now I've finally sold a third series which will be set in Key West. I'm going to have so much fun with this! I can picture the palm trees, the sunset over Mallory Square, the lapping blue water, the key lime pie.

But wait a minute, since when has the art department taken direction from ME? (deep yoga breath here) Okay, if they send me dancing key lime pies instead the scenes I've pictured, I'll have to trust that cover fairy knows what she's doing!


  1. You have been blessed by the cover fairy. I like yours a lot and hope your good luck continues.

  2. Dancing key lime pies would certainly be eye-catching. :-)

    A good bit of my second novel, REUNION, takes place in Key West. One of the first proposed covers was of a charming Old Town house and palm fronds. It was beautiful, but I also love the cover I ended up with--AND I think the new cover that will be on the trade pbk next spring is luscious. As long as readers are attracted, it's all good!

    I love how you say that the proposed covers for FINAL FORE all had "just the right hint of murder."

  3. Thank you for telling us about the cover fairy. My cover is in the operating room as I write this and although preliminary reports are good, it could go either way. Now I know to whom to address my prayers. Dear cover fairy...

  4. Not being a visual person I had no idea what was great with my covers or not. But when my agent later mentioned she thought my first cover wasn't so great, I paid attention to the second. Surprisingly, when I didn't like the first one they sent for Everyone She Loved, my editor, who's like the Michael Jordan of her field in terms of successful best selling authors, actually listened and they went back to the drawing board. I was amazed. and yes, i can't wait to see what they dream up for your food critic mysteries..or to read them...the research must be fun!

  5. Roberta, can I please borrow your Cover Art Fairy sometime? Like, um, right about now, for instance?

  6. Therese, I'm going to have to get a copy of your Key West book right away! Cindy and Susan, I've dispatched the fairy to you forthwith. And Sheila, good for you for speaking up--and getting heard! I can't wait to see either--maybe they can use the one that didn't get chosen for Therese!

  7. Ah, your cover art fairy is taking excellent care of you, Roberta! I had a bit of a figment with the proposed cover for my novel, but thankfully my publisher put in a "kill order" and sent the art dept back to the drawing board.

  8. LOVE these covers! Can't wait to see the cover for the third!!

  9. I'm waiting to get my revised cover today - it's such a fun part of the process. Hopefully I'll love mine as much as you do yours!