Designing a Book Cover

One of the great things about owning your own indie publishing company is that you get to control the cover art. I know they say don't judge a book by its cover, but everyone judges a book by its cover, even me!

After choosing a title, the cover is the next important thing. It's what first grabs the reader's attention~ or not. Being my own boss means I have to own the losers along with the winners, but it also means I can change a cover if the original idea isn't working, which I've done many times. The Clockwise Collection, my middle grade books, and my sweet romances have all had more than one cover design.

I love this part of the book creation process. With my next Rosa Reed Mystery new release, Murder at the Dude Ranch, I started with a search of 1950s style cowgirls, and when I saw this photograph, I knew it was the example for this book.

vintage cowgirl, 1950s fashion
colored illustration 1950s cowgirl

Once I have my basic idea, I contact my illustrator, Amanda Sorenson, and she comes back with a sketch. We discuss needed changes if any, and when we agree, we work on choosing the right colors. 

Next, I send the illustration to Steven Novak of Novak illustrations, and  he puts the pieces of the cover together using photoshop. We decide on the background and font colors~in this case, choosing from a palette popular in the 1950s~ and the rest follows the three panel template with the cover and title fonts that is already part of the series.

Add the cat drawing and the stars and VOILA!

Murder at The Dude Ranch is the 7th book in the Rosa Reed Mystery series, where Rosa discovers she's a long way from London.

Murder's a wild ride!

Rosa Reed takes a much needed break from her thriving private investigative work by joining her cousin Clarence and Aunt Louisa for a weekend getaway at the Black Stallion Dude Ranch near Santa Bonita, California. It's the beginning of 1957 and Rosa is ready for a fresh start. Newly single, all she needs is time on the trails, and cuddles from her tabby cat, Diego.

The peace and quiet of ranch life is soon disrupted when a horse returns from a trail ride without its rider. When foul play is determined, Rosa finds herself thrust once again into a murder investigation alongside the handsome detective Miguel Belmonte.

Suspicion falls on many of the guests—the failed investment banker, the laundromat owner, the heiress, and to Rosa's dismay, her own cousin Clarence. 

Can Rosa prove her cousin's innocence before the cows come home?

Releasing April 29, preorder available now.

Rosa Reed Mystery series, Murder at the Dude Ranch, cozy historical mysteries, vintage crime, 1950s fiction

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