Monday, August 20, 2012

The Vampire Bride Series New Cover Reveal

The old saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" is quoted often, but doesn't reflect the reality of today.  People constantly do judge a book by its cover. The cover is the initial hook that draws in a reader's potential interest, the thing that makes them take a peek at the book description and maybe read the first paragraph or page.  Covers are vitally important in the very competitive book market of today.

The book series nearest and dearest to my heart is THE VAMPIRE BRIDE SERIES.  I absolutely adore Lady Glynis Wright and love writing about her struggle to find independence in the very dangerous world of the supernaturals in Buda, Hungary in the 1820's. I love her feisty nature and her tendency to get into the worst situations.  She's dear to my heart and hands down my favorite character.

Yet I feel the series has suffered because of one thing: the covers.

When I started self-publishing, the covers created for the first AS THE WORLD DIES trilogy and THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE were images that I loved. They appealed to me and were an accurate depiction of the stories inside the covers. Detra created all four covers and I loved them.  The AS THE WORLD DIES covers garnered great reviews, but people were not as excited about the cover for my vampire novel. When reviews kept citing the "awful cover" while praising the story, I knew I had to do something different.

With great reluctance I changed the cover, hiring Philip Rogers, who had done a great job on my zombie short story collections (AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES) to do a brand new cover for the first book.  I loved the gothic feel of this second cover. I especially loved Vlad Dracula's shadow on the snow reaching out to snag Glynis.  I loved the second cover just as much as the first and was excited to reveal it to the world. I also commissioned the cover for THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE.  Philip outdid himself by tracking down a photo of Buda Castle during the time period of the book, before it was reconstructed after a terrible fire.

Philip Rogers well-received
zombie cover
Detra's cover for
To my great dismay, the covers were slammed again. Readers who loved the books spoke of their great dislike of the covers in their reviews. It was frustrating that the vast majority of the reviews for the novels were five stars, but the sales were slower than expected.  I spoke with readers, reviewers, bloggers and my own friends and slowly came to the realization that while graphic covers work for zombie novels, they don't work for a horror novel that has crossover potential with PNR and UF fans.  Detra and Philip Rogers work on my zombie novels were highly praised, but their work on The Vampire Bride series was heavily panned.

Studying the covers of books online and in bookstores, I realized that the biggest sellers also had covers that were stock photo manipulations.  Many people I talked to stated that they felt "painted" covers were cheap-looking.  If a cover had a photograph that was digitally altered or digitally painted upon, they regarded it as looking professional.

I had discovered Claudia McKinney of Phat Puppy Art because of the beautiful cover she did for J.L. Bryan's JENNY POX.  I perused through her gallery on her website and my husband glanced at a few of my favorites.  "That's who you need to be hiring," he said.

Over the last year, Claudia has created several book covers for me (some have yet to be revealed) including the cover for my bestselling book at this time, THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING.  I spoke with Claudia about rebranding THE VAMPIRE BRIDE SERIES and we discussed the look I was going for. She suggested that I have my own photoshoot so that the covers would have a unique look and not be from the regular stock art available online.

My friend, Helena Cruz, agreed to be the photographer for the photoshoot and my fan (and now friend) Megan Young of San Antonio, Texas was excited to pose as Lady Glynis Wright.

Megan as Glynis
Photo by Helena Cruz
Much to my delight, the photos were amazing. I couldn't wait to see what Claudia did with the photos. I was further thrilled when a benefactor stepped in to handle the cost of the covers (I had blown my self-publishing budget for the year already).

Megan as Glynis
Photo by Helena Cruz
So today is the big cover reveal!  Claudia McKinney unleashed her artistic prowess on the photos that Helena Cruz took of Megan and created amazing digital artwork for the new covers.  Ashley of Bookish Brunette Designs created a lovely typography for the books that fit the gothic feel of the stories within.

To see the beautiful new covers for THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE, please click on the links below.

I would like to thank all the bloggers participating in the cover reveal (both today and tomorrow).
Note: Some bloggers may have the reveals later today or tomorrow, so keep clicking until you find the covers.

My Parahangover (plus a giveaway!!)
Fabled Crossroads (Kody Boye talks about his experience "behind the scenes" of the new covers)


  1. I love the photographs who would have thought you could turn photographs in those amazing covers. Awesome!!!

    1. Isn't it amazing? I was stunned when she sent me the first one. Just stunned.



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