After I Write "The End"

This is the final cover for the 4th Sleuth Sisters mystery. It's still a way off, probably May, but it's nice to have something to show to readers.
When an author is traditionally published, she gets some say in a cover but not much. A lot depends on the publishing house. I was always asked what my initial concept was, and after that they'd say, "Here's what we did." I've had author friends who hated their covers but couldn't do anything about it. I had one I didn't much care for, but I trusted the publisher to do what worked for the masses, not just for me.
As an independent, an author is responsible for everything, including the cover. Knowing I have the artistic talent of a Brahma bull, I hire people to do my covers. I've been lucky to find cover artists who can take my germ of an idea and make it beautiful.
When the first Sleuth Sisters came along, I had no idea it would be a series (or so popular: Thank you all!) I wanted three pairs of shoes, each representing the personality of a sister. Obviously that meant heels for Retta, casuals for Faye, and businesslike for Barb. I hired Clarissa Yeo of Yeocla Designs, and this is what she came up with.
When the books sold well and people started asking for a second adventure for the girls, Clarissa kept the three rails and put two dog collars on them, one for Buddy and one for Styx. She probably wished I'd shut up, but I wanted Styx' collar to be just the right combination of bling and size.
When the third book rolled out the time was summer, and the sisters went home to the farm where they were raised. That brought flowers to mind, and Clarissa used a rose to represent Retta, a gladiolus for Barb, and lavender for Faye. It made a very pretty picture on the three rails.
These are things that readers might not think much about, but how often to you pick up (or pick out) a book because the cover catches your eye? For me, if the cover's ugly it takes a recommendation from someone I really respect to get past the unappealing outside.
Other things come into consideration too. Lettering is small on Amazon's little thumbnail sketches, so I want to make sure the title and author name are readable. Simple backgrounds are more attractive than messy ones. And color catches the eye as readers page through screens of twenty books at a time.
It's a relief when the cover is finished and I'm happy with it. I could never do one myself--Well, I could but it wouldn't be pretty. I'm perfectly willing to pay for the talents of some artist who says, "Oh, so the book is about three sisters... Let me see what I can do."


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