Help me Choose my Next Book Cover

Help me Choose my Next Book Cover

At one point I’d been optimistic and hoped I could have the next installment in the [easyazon_link identifier=”1503368092″ locale=”US” tag=”austauth0d-20″]Constant Love series[/easyazon_link] published before my next trip to Great Britain. As I’ll be on a plane when many of you are reading this, though, that obviously hasn’t happened!

My itinerary for this year is based around Heritage Open Days and London’s Open House, where buildings across England and in London, respectively, are opened up for free. Some of them aren’t usually open to the public, and those are the ones I’m trying to focus on. I’m not sure how much picture-taking will be allowed inside these sites, but I’m looking forward to sharing whatever I can once I’m back, and you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook for posts while I’m traveling.

For now, though, I thought I’d solicit some help in choosing a cover for the book, so at least I’m making SOME progress beyond taking a copy of the current draft on my Kindle to proofread.

I’ve had a set format for the covers of the books in the series, each of which features a photograph I’ve taken, and this one has proven particularly tricky. As the title indicates, A Season Lost is set largely during 1816, which was referred to as the “year without a summer.” Actually, though, it was really about three years of agricultural depression beginning in 1816 that were directly caused by climate disruption following the eruption of Mount Tambora, in Indonesia. This was the most powerful volcanic eruption captured by humans, at 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, larger than others you may be more familiar with, like Krakatoa in 1883 (VEI 6) and Mount Pinatubo in 1991 (VEI 6).

The climate disruption manifested itself in different ways around the world, but in Britain, it largely resulted in winter-like rainfall, hail, and even snow throughout the spring, summer, and autumn months. Fields were flooded, ruining crops, and for crops that weren’t ruined, it was difficult to get enough sun for them to grow. This obviously has a huge impact on Pemberley and therefore the Darcys, in addition to Longbourn, Rosings, and Clareborne, the estate the Bingleys have purchased near Pemberley. The year without a summer and eruption of Tambora impacts other characters in other ways, and one of the things that I’m excited about in this novel was actually getting one character in a position to hear about the volcano – although it was many years before the link between the eruption and the climate disruption was actually understood.

What it means for the cover, however, is that I need some indication of rain or a disrupted climate, and this proved tricky. It’s easiest to take a good photo with good light, and that means sun! I suppose I’ve got one more shot if I get some rain on this year’s trip, but for now, these are the contenders, and I’d love your feedback on which one you prefer!

Option A: Derbyshire Fog. I took this photo on a very foggy day in the village of Eyam (aka the Plague Village) in Derbyshire. As a horse is involved in one subplot, there’s some relevance to having one in the shot.
Option B: Cloudy church. This one was taken in Matlock, and as one of the characters is beginning married life as a clergyman’s wife, definitely has some relevance to one of the plotlines.
Option C: Foreboding clouds. I think this one had the most dramatic clouds…it was taken on the edge of the Chatsworth grounds, so the landscape could definitely stand in for Pemberley.
Option D: Clouds over house. This one was actually taken in London, as clouds were encroaching on one of the Georgian townhouses there. But I think it’s non-specific enough to stand in as Pemberley or perhaps Rosings, where some of the key plotlines are launched, so to speak.

So which one would you choose? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. If it helps you make the choice, here’s the working summary of the book:

As the “Year Without a Summer” threatens estates across Britain, Elizabeth and Georgiana both go on journeys that take unexpected turns – journeys that will threaten the lives of those they hold dear.

Three of Elizabeth’s sisters find their lives changed by childbirth, while on Pemberley’s grounds, a surprising romance emerges.

A story of love and family, and the third instalment of the Constant Love series.


87 Responses to Help me Choose my Next Book Cover

  1. I vote A or C, with a slight preference for C. I read the beta version in and it was so good, by the way. Can’t wait for the kindle version!

  2. C is definitely the most visually interesting, so that’s the one I’d pick. I think with book covers, the most important thing is to have an image that captures and holds the reader’s attention (more so than having a shot that perfectly fits the story). It’s interesting to me that so many people are voting for A, because I think that one is the least visually compelling. The upper half of the cover is just solid gray, and that’s what my eye is drawn to — a blank canvas. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the image (though I still like C better) but for me, the proportions are off. If you want to go with this shot, I’d either shift the image up so we see less sky and more landscape OR put the title at the top, so you lose some of the sky. But I still think C is the best option. 🙂

    • Thanks for the great feedback, Jennifer! The popularity of A has surprised me a bit, too. I think unfortunately I was out of photo to shirt it up anymore…I can’t recall what was below when I took the picture but there might have been something modern that I had to avoid. That’s been a common challenge in shooting the photos for the series. I can’t move the title unfortunately as the series format is pretty baked at this point.

  3. Thrilled you are getting ever closer to publishing Sophie! There are two front runners for me:

    A. Portrays a gloom and darkness settling in but the contrast of the dapple grey horse stands out like a beacon to help Elizabeth and Georgiana find their way through
    C. The dark clouds moving in portending troubles ahead

    Good luck in your decision and enjoy your trip!

  4. I choose option C. I find that the way the clouds are closing is indicative of a season of problems, be it weather or personal – trouble is coming.

  5. I like ‘A’ the best. The look is so subtle but we are left with a sense of a cold dreary summer morning in Derbyshire. I can see in my minds eye Elizabeth walking across the pasture with the weight of the world on her shoulders trying to think of the best way to help her family. The fog just lends itself to her state of mind. Best of luck with your new book. I very much look forward to reading it.

  6. Decisions, decisions. Glad it isn’t me having to make the final choice. I’m going to say D or A, with B as my least favorite. Good luck!

  7. A OR C are good as you can easily get lost in fog and I like the horse also the big dark cloud gives a sense of a year without summer !

  8. Definitely for me it’s A. It jumped out at me straight away. You get a real feel of ‘a world gone dark’ from this one. The addition of the horse shows that life is still ongoing.

  9. From the snippet given about the book, I believe I would choose option C because it looks like summer with a dark foreboding overhead.

  10. I prefer D but it does have bits of blue sky so I would go for A as the one that seems to depict misery, despair and endless, endless rain. The expanse of grey sky and mist shrouded background does it for me.
    Enjoy your trip Sophie and I look forward to the pictures. It’s lucky you weren’t here a few weeks ago as your chances of gloom and rain would have been non existent! Now? Well it depends on how long you are here and where you are going but you do stand a chance.
    Have a lovely time.
    (Every now and again they do let visitors in Lyme Cage but I haven’t heard if that’s happening this year. I’ve never been in but both my brothers have.)

    • Thank you for your feedback, Glynis! I’ve been reading about the weather there and yeah, it sounded actually hotter there than it’s been here (and I’m used to 90-100 degree summers, but it’s been more like 80s and thunderstorms this year). Hopefully I’ll get a LITTLE gloom and rain but not too much. 😉

  11. I prefer C. With the gray sky depicting something foreboding about to happen, or the grim state of what is. It looks like the clouds are taking over the light of day. The green terrain with trees gives a sense of vast uncertainty but hope at the same time.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Cheryl! As I said in a previous comment I’ve been surprised with how many people have preferred A — it’s much more of a contender than I’d expected it to be. 🙂

  12. I like A. It looks to me like the most threatening to crops etc. I think the others could just be any old cloudy day. They are all beautiful though.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Maria! I’ve also been surprised at how many people prefer A…I though I would be the only one who liked that one, so it’s interesting to hear that’s not the case. 🙂

  13. I think any of them would work, but D is the darkest one and might be most fitting. I love this series.

    • Thanks, Deanna, I’m so happy to hear that! I thought D was sort of the dark horse so I’m pleasantly surprised to see how many people prefer that one…although that makes the ultimate choice even tougher.

  14. I think you should use option A. When I think of seasonal changes, I think of the effect changing seasons have on nature. Just a thought. Robin Anne

    • Thanks for the feedback, Robin! I think that’s been one of the tricky things about doing the cover — the weather of 1816 obviously had a huge impact on nature, but that’s impossible to capture without going back in a time machine. 🙂

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