My Publishing Journey: Cover Reveal

Everyone knows that book covers are an important part of a novel. But have  you ever wondered just how book covers are created? Once again, I can’t speak for other publishers, but at Barking Rain Press, it’s a very collaborative process between the publisher, the author, and the artist.

The process starts by the author completing a document called “Cover Art Guidelines.” This document includes the title and author’s name as it will appear on the cover, a list of any key elements in the story, a brief description of the major characters, the time period represented, and any other pertinent information that might assist the artist. That document serves as a template for the artist to begin his or her work.

Craig Jennion

Craig Jennion

In my case, the publisher assigned the cover to Craig Jennion, a Senior Artist for Barking Rain Press. A member of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators, Craig has been working as an artist for more than 25 years. I knew The Hanged Man’s Noose would be in good hands!

I mentioned earlier that the process was collaborative. The first step was a series of very rough sketches, from which the publisher and myself would select a “winner.” Here’s what that looked like:

Preliminary cover sketches by Craig Jennion for The Hanged Man’s Noose.

After a  bit of deliberation, we selected the one marked with an “X.” That decision allowed Craig to come up with his initial cover concept:

Preliminary cover by Craig Jennion for The Hanged Man's Noose.

Preliminary cover by Craig Jennion for The Hanged Man’s Noose.

We were almost there. Almost. The blueprints represented the building plans of the greedy real estate developer. The cocktail peanuts and napkin are something you’d find in a local pub like The Hanged Man’s Noose (ah ha . . . maybe you didn’t know the book was named after a pub!). But the wood was too light, as was the drink (in case you’re wondering, that’s a Treasontini, the Noose’s signature blueberry martini). I sent along a photo I’d found on Pinterest that was my idea of a Treasontini.


My inspiration for the Treasontini, a blueberry martini and the signature drink of The Hanged Man’s Noose.

This was what Craig Jennion came back with. I hope you like it as much as I do.

The Final Cover by Craig Jennion.

The Final Cover by Craig Jennion.

The Hanged Man’s Noose is scheduled for release on July 21st. Click here to receive the first four chapter free and get a 35% off coupon to buy the book!

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22 responses to “My Publishing Journey: Cover Reveal

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Susan! (yes that OTHER book sounds very disappointing.) Wish I could make it to the SinC Pot Luck but not this year!

  2. Looking forward to this, Judy (having just cancelled my library hold on that OTHER much anticipated July release, now that the reviews are out).

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Shari! Guppies Rock!

  4. Shari Randall

    Love learning more about this process and love that cover! Can’t wait to learn more about the Treasontini. Best wishes from a Guppy,

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you so much Marian!

  6. Marian McMahon Stanley

    Great cover and process!

  7. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks June! I’m going to put the recipe on my newsletter — which, if all goes according to plan, will go out later this week!

  8. Very nice Judy, I could use one of those drinks right now 🙂

  9. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Kristina. Ditto! Can’t wait to read Descent!

  10. Kristina Stanley

    Love the cover and congrats on your release date. Can’t wait to read Hanged Man’s Noose!

  11. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Edith! I have no clue about how other publishers do it, but I loved the collaborative approach used by BRP.

  12. Love the cover, Judy, and glad you got to collaborate so much on it. That doesn’t always happen!

  13. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Susan. Here’s hoping!

  14. Susan Van Kirk

    Judy, this cover looks great! And, of course, covers help sell books. So this cover should work quite well. Congrats!

  15. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Val!

  16. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Sheri! Yes, it is awesome!

  17. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Minerva! If you sign up for my blog, you’ll automatically receive the posts by email. I also interview other authors to get their take on the experience. I knew so little when I joined Guppies a couple of years ago. They are a remarkable group and have helped me so much.

  18. eightpawswriting

    Awesome! I know the fluttery feeling you have in your stomach! It’s the birth of your new baby! So excited for you.

  19. mfinkley2014

    so glad I found you in the guppy forum. I just posted a question about publishing. will add your blog to my favorites so I can return and learn about your publishing journey. Minerva.

  20. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks DA! It’s all starting to feel real…a long way from that night at Bloody Words in 2012 when this was all just a dream.

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