Cover story

Recently I had the cover of my novel Hot Property redesigned. The previous cover (above) was OK, but not particularly eye-catching. This time I wanted to make sure we got it right. When I say ‘we’, I’m referring to my husband Chris who is a graphic designer. He usually designs branding and creative campaigns rather than book covers, but he made an exception in my case. (Not that he had much choice.)

With the help of his intern at the time, Emily, we thrashed out what the cover needed to imply. Hot Property is about a group of expats aspiring to live the ‘sun, sea and sand’ dream on the Greek island of Crete. It’s about an idyllic lifestyle, idyllic properties, and not so idyllic characters.

After playing around with the images above, Chris felt that the colours needed to be warm – reds, pinks, oranges. The background needed to be enticing, inviting, a landscape you’d want to step into. But that on its own wasn’t enough. This novel is about romance, unrequited love, rivalry and fraud. There are lots of characters carrying equal weight, rather than one main protagonist, and the story is told from several different viewpoints.

I felt the cover needed to have an air of intrigue about it. Cue the key. All the images above and below were not used in the end, but lining them all up and eliminating them one by one was a good exercise. It helped to pinpoint exactly what was needed – and what wasn’t needed. I liked the way the key is dangling, tempting you to use it to enter the story.

Two separate photos were used in the end, both purchased from iStock, the image of the key being superimposed on a background of a beautiful looking Greek townscape next to the sea. The final result is below. I’m dead pleased with it and would like to say a big thank you to my husband Chris and to Emily for all their help. (Apparently he’s got a big pile of copywriting waiting for me, so that makes us quits.)