Judging a cover by its book

April 13, 2007

Oh, I deeply love getting an e-mail attachment from my editor when they’re working on cover art for my book. It’s really the first time you get to “see” your book as something other than scribbles on a page. Here’s the setting you created, or the mood, and sometimes even the characters. The versions below will be tweaked a lot before the book is ultimately published in February 2008, but here’s a sneak peek.

First, a version (also subject to change) of the back cover copy of the paperback:

Can a single moment change your entire life?

International lawyer Sophie Bellamy has dedicated her life to helping oppressed people in war-torn countries. But when she survives a violent hostage situation, she remembers what matters most–the children she loves back home. Haunted by regrets, she returns to the idyllic Catskills village of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, determined to repair the bonds with her family.

There, Sophie discovers the surprising rewards of small-town life–including an unexpected passion for Noah Shepherd, the local veterinarian. Noah has a healing touch for anything with four legs, but he’s never had any luck with women–until Sophie.

Snowfall at Willow Lake speaks from the heart about all the loves that fill a woman’s life, and all the ways that love is tested and made to grow. It’s the story of what comes after a woman survives an unspeakable horror and finds her way home, to healing and redemption and a new chance at happiness.

“With the ease of a master, Wiggs introduces complicated, flesh-and-blood characters into her idyllic but identifiable smalltown setting, sets in motion a refreshingly honest romance, resolves old issues and even finds room for a little mystery. The result is as appealing as the heroine’s Polish Apple Strudel, the recipe for which is thankfully included.”

–Publishers Weekly starred review for The Winter Lodge

 And here are two versions of the art. Opinions here! I would love to know what you think:

Snowfall 1


Snowfall 2











Snowfall v 3












The changes to the above are subtle. I love a work-in-progress!

Also: By popular request, I’m adding links to the recipes in some of my books:

Italian recipes from SUMMER BY THE SEA by Susan Wiggs

Summer recipes from LAKESIDE COTTAGE by Susan Wiggs

Bakery recipes from THE WINTER LODGE

  • To me, in the first photo the woman stands out more because she is in a white sweater and her legs are natural color. In the last photo, the couple is all in dark colors, and they sort of fade away from sight, overcome by the pale surroundings. The house is the same except for something white to it’s left which is eliminated in the second photo, the only bad thing is it looks sort of like an outhouse or a big sign. Hard to tell. If that could be taken out of the first photo I think that’s the one that would have the most impact. It just looks brighter! Thanks for taking my input, love the books, and that I get a real response from you!

  • I like the third one. I like the outfit better than the skirt in the second one and I like the fact that they’re connecting on the ice. What someone said about them seeming apprehensive in the first one is right on. Thanks for letting us share our opinions! 🙂

  • I like Option 3 best…I think a deep blue for your name would look best. The colors are a great back drop and I especially like “Noah and Sophie” skating together. Thanks for sharing but the wait is unbearable!!!!

  • I think that the #2 picture is the best.
    This is my first time here and I totally love your books.I have read many and am not sure I can pick a favorite,but yours are the books I turn to when my life gets either too boring or too upsetting.Thanks for the great reads.

  • I Love Your Books!!!
    I like the second option for it’s brighter color, the roof lines of the house seems to fit the setting better.
    I like the snow flakes, and the couple in the first option.
    I like her sweater in the third option.
    Over all my choice would be the third option. Thanks for asking!
    When I don’t have one of your new books to enjoy I reread the ones I do have over, and over again.

  • Must be option 3. In the first, the fellow who I assume is Noah looks like a limp noodle who does not appear particularly into the moment. The profile even seems to resemble me, which frankly is freaking me out.
    In the second, her sweater is washed out against the background.
    The movement and the color scheme of 3 pull it all together.

  • All three would definitely catch my eye, Susan. I like the position of the characters on the first version–their more tenuous link screams “getting to know you”, new beginnings, and hope (besides, this is Sophie and Noah, not Sophie and Nick, as another blogger pointed out).
    The brighter colors in version #2 are more eye-catching, as long as there is still good contrast between the sky and your name—Susan Wiggs has to pop!
    My heart likes the younger/virginal/fresher/pure white top that Sophie is wearing, although my brain asks if she needs the colored top so that she stands out better on the ice?
    Thanks for asking our opinions–very fun!

  • I ove the first picture! Itoo can hardly wait to read the book. This Lakeshore Chronical is a great series! I really enjoy your writing. Susan

  • How fun that you’re letting us give our opinions…I feel like I’m in a cool club 🙂 I love the couple and the house in the first one, but the trees and shrubs (that would go under the title) in the second two. The couple in the first one seems sweeter somehow, the couples in the other two seem like they’ve been together for a long time. Like maybe if it was Sophie and Greg…just kidding. But really, who ice skates in a skirt? Unless they’re in a competition? She looks cold! Thanks for letting us participate! Can’t wait to see the final outcome when I rush out to buy it!

  • I like the first one best. The house is different then the other picture, and seems more welcoming and much more in tune to the earlier descriptions in the other chronicles.

  • What a hard decision to make for you. I like #1 myself.
    They all remind me of a painting I have hanging in my livingroom done by my grandfather many many years ago from a Christmas card I sent him.

  • As a writer working on her first novel, I find your blog inspiring. It’s great to see what goes on following an acceptance from a publisher. Thanks for the inside look! And I think I agree with the commenter who posted before me–I like the third one best as well.

  • I think it depends on what mood you want to convey. In the first photograph, the characters seem to be apprehensive or uncertain as if they have just met. In the remaining two photographs the characters seem more actively engaged with each other. They appear to know and trust each other. Hope that is helpful. Thank-you for sharing the process with us. It keeps the unpublished motivated.

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