Covers in Color by Holly Bush

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree!

When I began self-publishing my historical romances back in 2011, I did not have a clear vision of the sales ocean I was dipping my toe in, and even with some significant marketing background, I did not have the experience or understand the particulars about product placement in the book biz. I scanned the Amazon and Barnes & Noble book site pages for hours and hours, recording and cataloging what covers drew my eye. I had virtually no budget, as I’d not sold any books at that point, for models or photos or the software to design a cover and in 2011 there were few, if any, sources for pre-made book covers.


Romancing Olive’s original black and white cover was put together by my daughter using borrowed software and a $10 photo. The second black and white cover for Train Station Bride and the third, Reconstructing Jackson, were also done in much the same way. At the time I was not convinced I could compete with the gorgeous color covers coming out of New York, so I decided to go the opposite direction and be the black, tan, and gray, amongst the violet, chartreuse, rose, and periwinkle.  I’m not sure I took the correct path, as one does not get a do-over in like circumstances, but I do know I attracted the attention of some reader/bloggers that have been very helpful to my writing career. One told me that the reason she picked up Train Station Bride was for that exact reason – it stood out from the other covers and she was fascinated with the picture I’d chosen.

When I published Cross the Ocean, I knew that I needed help, professional help, to get to the next level and was fortunate to meet a talented cover designer, Jenny Toney Quinlan from Historical Editorial. Jenny created Cross the Ocean’s cover in sepia tones, as I requested, to match up with my other books covers. I asked her then to see what the cover looked like with the original colored photo. That color cover done by a professional changed my mind.  As we all know, the book itself is the most important thing in publishing, however, in today’s crowded market standing out from the rest on an electronic screen full of visuals, even if it is just a small deviation from what is the current standard, can be the beginning of the ever elusive breakout.

Jenny has continued designing my covers and there is no doubt that her artistry and work contribute greatly to the success I’ve been fortunate to have. I particularly like the four covers she designed for the Crawford Family Series.

Many thanks to Stephanie for inviting me to indiebrag!

The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of authors whose books have been honored with a B.R.A.G. Medallion. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.