First Impressions: Cover Designs

Winter finally came a knocking here in Colorado, after a warm and dry last couple of months. Chilly temps and snow have made January feel like…January normally does. We even had our first decent sized snowstorm of the year, with about 8 inches, though it was more of the wet spring like the snow we normally get in March and April.

After six weeks of winter break, our daughter Dakota is back hard at work at the University of Wyoming. While at home she learned she made the Freshman Honor Roll after the first semester, which they say only a small percentage of freshman accomplish. We are proud of her, though she knows this next semester she’ll be challenged even more, with Calculus on her schedule! Though she does love math and is looking forward to it.

Last month I talked about being unhappy with the original Bubble Gum cover, recently updating it, with a much more dynamic cover that is getting lots of positive feedback. For the next book in the Jarvis Mann PI series, Tracking A Shadow, I had strong ideas of how I wanted it to look. Since the cover is what people see first, I wanted to provide an eye-catching first impression for the first novel in the series. After some research, I came up with a book designer who I worked with for this project, Victoria Robinson. I knew I wanted a somewhat menacing cover, keeping with the storyline of a woman being stalked, but leaving the culprit in the shadows since we don’t know who the stalker is until late in the story. Going through the process, she created several options off of the idea I provided of what I was looking for and we worked from there. I will share a couple of covers that didn’t make the grade, but actually, I thought weren’t bad. Here they are:

design_5  design_2

There were a couple different versions of the first one, most of which I liked quite a bit. The second one had a black & white noir feel to it, which also was appealing. Tough choices on both, but not quite as good as the final cover.

Then there were some that I didn’t like at all. Here are two of them:

design_8  design_6

As you can see both of these were too graphic for what I was looking for. This wasn’t a horror book, but a mystery/private detective novel in the classic sense. Which lead me to the cover I have today:


The sultry client, with the shadowy figure in the background looking menacing. A little bit Hitchcockian in the style. Feedback was positive on the cover and the book. Being the first full novel in the series, Tracking A Shadow hit the top ten on a couple of Amazon’s bestseller lists. And is available on Amazon in ebook, paperback and on Kindle Unlimited. Check it out and find out why reviewers proclaimed:

“Tracking a Shadow is part classic private investigator novel and part contemporary mystery”

“This was a humorous suspenseful tale about sex, money, power and greed”

“A remarkable plot sidelined with superlative characters contribute to the ambiguous shadow”

I’ve been hard at work finishing the editing of the next Jarvis Mann PI book, Mann in the Crossfire. Over the next week, I’ll be slowly revealing the new cover for the book on my website, Facebook and Twitter. Below you’ll see the first reveal. Not sure if you can make out much, but we’ll unblur sections at a time. Be sure to watch for it and let me know what you think. I’m pretty jazzed about this cover!

first cover reveal burst zoom effect

Continuing to talk about covers, I’ve heard from Amazon KDP support that they don’t consider my newly designed cover change of The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card, as being significant enough for the update to be pushed out automatically. I argued with them that a cover change is as big a change as you can have for a book, but they won’t budge. So if you received Bubble Gum before the release of the new cover, you have to manually request this update through your Amazon Account. Here are the instructions  they sent me on how to do this:

Go to this link on your Amazon page. In the search window type the same of the book, in this situation The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. Under Action click the box with the ellipsis. Next to “Deliver To” click “Others”. Click the drop-down under “Devices Selected” and check the box of all the Kindle devices you want updated, and then click Deliver.

To be honest I’ve had varying success in getting this to work. Sometimes I’ve had to delete the book first from the device and then do these steps. Even then it hasn’t always worked. Unfortunately, according to Amazon, this is the only way to get the newer version, which is a bit aggravating. I’ll continue to pester their support to correct the problem. Hopefully, they will make this process easier for future updates.

On Monday, February 4th I will be at the Elizabeth Library in Elizabeth Colorado for an Author Talks At Your Library session, where I will talk with guests about myself, my books, Jarvis and answer questions. Afterward, I will be meeting with people interested in buying any of my paperbacks. This will run from 6PM to 8PM. With any luck, we’ll have good weather for this event and a large turnout. If you live in the area be sure to stop on in.

randy weir flyer

There are several more Prolific Works giveaways this month, with The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card and other Mystery/Thriller/Suspense books free to download. The Cozy-est Mysteries runs until January 31st and includes 37 books in all. Click this link. Next, there’s the Criminally Good Reads Giveaway with 38 books running until February 6th. Check it out via this link. Then the Discover New Mystery Series which runs until March 30th, with all 51 books being the first book in a series. Try this link to see all the books available for free. Then there’s the Winter Giveaway with 18 books available until January 31st via this link. And then finally the Thriller & Mystery Giveaway which also ends on January 31st and features 82 books. Use this link to access them. Hurry up and check out all of these free books to add to your eReaders, as several expire soon.

I will wrap up this newsletter for now. Next month I will again talk about covers, this time for Twice As Fatal and share some that didn’t make the final cut. And I will have more news about the next Jarvis Mann PI book, including a preview of this exciting new Detective Mystery Thriller. Thanks again for reading and be sure to share the newsletter with your friends. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

R Weir



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