Why I Changed My Beautiful, Artist-Designed Book Covers to Something More Simple


I was, and still am in love with my original book cover designs for my Montgomery Vale series. The colors are vibrant, Montgomery Vale is dapper and handsome and the backgrounds convey the stories.

Ado Ceric, the artist behind the covers, came up with a design that was exactly what I asked for. I really enjoyed the process of seeing my vision come to life in the hands of a true artist.

So why did I change the book covers to more simple ones?

Because being in love with your book covers is not enough to keep them. They must accurately depict:

  • The genre
  • The story
  • The mood

Your book covers should follow strict guidelines as to what readers expect from a genre. When you reach for a John Grisham novel, you expect a “thriller” type cover with someone hiding, running, being chased, frantic movement, mystery, etc. That is what readers expect. They want to know exactly what your book is about when they see the cover.

That is where I failed.

Yes, my first Montgomery Vale cover is exciting with the downing of the Hindenburg, but it missed on conveying the type of book that it is.

And yes, authors do read their reviews and appreciate the five-star ones especially, but we can also learn from the 2-star reviews as well.

After reading a few of them, I saw that my old, beautifully designed covers made the reader think my book was for kids, or young adults, when in fact, it is a historical thriller for adults.

That was a big miss.

Apparently, the comic-book like images made people believe they were buying another story, and perhaps turned off readers who were looking for historical thrillers. My audience is historical thriller readers and they may have passed my book up because they didn’t identify it as such.

My new design is much more simpler, but it accurately depicts:

  • The historical nature of the story
  • That it has a lead male character
  • That it is for adults
  • That it’s intriguing; just who is that man with his back facing us?

Currently working to update the paperback as well.

So do you think the new covers fit better? Would love to hear your thoughts.



Patrice Williams Marks (www.PatriceWilliamsMarks.com) is a screenwriter turned historical fiction writer and how-to reference book writer. Her first successful book was a short story called THE UNFINISHED about a man brought back to life for 72 hours to testify against his killer. Patrice is also known for her Amazon bestselling novel, THE ABDUCTION OF NELLY DON. It is based on a true story set in 1931 Kansas City and features an infamous kidnapping, organized crime bosses and a politician who put everything on the line to find her. But you may know her from her expertise in crowdfunding with her Hacking Kickstarter, Indiegogo book and Kickass Kickstarter Gods follow-up.