VOTING HAS NOW CLOSED. Click here to see the final version of the cover art.

I’ve done three possible covers for SUZEE DELIGHT. Posting them below, and would very much appreciate a vote on the one you like best.


Cover #2

Cover #3

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107 responses to “Possible Cover Art for THE SELLING OF SUZEE DELIGHT”

  1. Rebecca Anne Avatar
    Rebecca Anne

    I like the colour of cover 1,the text of cover 2 and the image on cover 3.

    1. Negomi Sitrath Avatar
      Negomi Sitrath

      But the text on 1 and 2 is the same…

  2. Garrett Weinstein Avatar

    All three say “romance novel” to me. If I didn’t already have some idea of what it was about, I would immediately dismiss this book based on any of those covers. The design of #3 looks the least amateurish, because you can actually see the artwork clearly, but your name is still covering up the middle of her face. That just looks sloppy to my eye.

    There should be some other artwork on the cover besides the model to indicate that this is a sci-fi story in the Cadence Drake universe. That’s my opinion as a reader who is already interested in giving you his money.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. Numerous reader comments, including yours, about the lack of a SF presence in the cover art sent me back the the drawing board. The final cover, which I THINK I have now, though I still have to run it past Matt, my cover editor, will go up once I finish the first draft of the story. 😀

  3. Jeannie Davide-Rivera Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    I definitely like no. 3 the best out of them, it is the most eye-catching. The first two reminded me too much of many of the automatic book cover makers lay-outs. Seeing the imagine of the girl definitely is more intriguing. That said, I have no idea at all what this story is about, and I saw someone mention it was SF. From the cover I immediately through it would be able the selling of a prostitute/human trafficking type book. If that was the look you were going for, then it is spot-on, but I am not sure how/if that connect to SF…I suppose now I will have to read the story to find out!

    1. Jeannie Davide-Rivera Avatar

      Geez…lots of typos, sorry. That’s what I get for trying to comment while stopping the puppy from chewing my laptop cord, and the baby from eating a flip flop! I live in a crazy house.

  4. Louise Avatar

    If the story takes place in the 40s or 50s, I would definitely use #1. It has that film noir feel to it.

  5. Marcia Avatar

    I would like to see smaller text to uncover her face. This would make me want to check out the book.

  6. Michele Avatar

    Out of the options, I like #3 the best. The colors really stood out in that image. I like the idea of #1 too – with the female figure half on, half off the page. But I don’t like that the text covers so much of the artwork that I can’t really appreciate the artwork. If you could go with the #1 concept while changing where the type appears, that could work better.

  7. Kyralae Avatar

    I like cover #3 as the graphic isn’t overwhelmed by the text. The graphic bothers me a bit as the lips and under the lips look grungy and I don’t think that is what you want to convey. Could be my settings but I have a high quality graphics card in an iMac and it is showing black streaks on the lips, under the lips and on the chin. I’m also not sure about her cheek and neck – is that supposed to be a tatoo or hair whisps?

  8. wednesday Avatar

    The character portrait pulled me in and makes me want to read the story because I wonder:

    1. Who is this woman?

    2. Why is she being sold?

    3. Is there a special meaning behind her makeup?

    4. Is the feather and the emblem beneath it a symbol of something that’s pertinent to the story? (As a reader, I hope so.)

    Obscuring her face in the other covers does nothing to make me want to know more about her, nor does the color have an impact.

    For the other two covers with the smaller images of Suzee, my logical mind notes the author and the story title and thinks, “Meh.” My emotions are not evoked by those covers.

    The cover needs to make me care about Suzee as a person, if that helps. The character portrait does that much more than “The Selling” title does. For me, no mystery at all is created by the lower part of her face being obscured in Covers #1 & #2.

    Holly’s name being laid over a portion of Suzee’s eyes/nose in #3 isn’t a problem; my brain fills in what’s missing.

  9. meham Avatar

    1) got me right away. She is entering the page bringing some anticipation. Not fully seen adds mystery. The color adds warmth which feels more inviting to care about a living person (whether she is alive or not). The blue is too cold and the black and white too —- OK so it’s not black and white but you see how I registered it.


    1. Louise Avatar

      I totally agree. Me too!!
      Something about her being in the background and the title at the forefront…the title is compelling, intriguing…especially with all the human trafficking stories in the media and entertainment lately. Then seeing a face behind it all…there’s a live human being behind the headline. I want to find out more.

  10. Jim Murdoch Avatar

    Definitely No.3. The lady’s face is what attracts the reader. The title is secondary, although obviously important. I like the balance of the two in 3.

  11. Vanessa Wells Avatar
    Vanessa Wells

    I like the text best on 3. Covering her eye didn’t bother me in the least.

    1. Vanessa Wells Avatar
      Vanessa Wells

      Also, I should mention that I WILL BE buying this based on name recognition. I’m waiting on the edge of my seat for the book, I’m hooked on the series, and I read extensively in the genera.

      Of course, you could put it in a plain brown wrapper and I’d still buy it.

      1. Vanessa Wells Avatar
        Vanessa Wells

        *Genre (darn auto correct)

  12. Kristen Avatar

    I had to go with cover #3, because we see the face clearly on who the book is about; her emotion, her looks, the style of who she is. One thing I’m not too fond of is how large the author’s name is compared to the actual title of the book. Being at the top, it adds emphasis, when really the first thing the reader should be looking at is the title, then the author.

    But as for looking at covers to automatically buy something, definitely #3.

  13. Torrie Avatar

    A) Lose the humongous name covering her face. B) The soft blue feels too laid back, casual. Red or warm tones would reinforce the assassination/danger theme. C) It conveys porn instead of science fiction. Adding a small “techie” element like a stylized piece of jewelry that’s obviously not from a feudal japan or even the modern era may be subtle enough to hint at the futuristic time period.

  14. melinda Avatar

    I like the third one best (the order of preference is 3, then 1, then 2). But I voted for “Other” because I thought that the text on 1 and 2 might look good on the #3 cover–IF you tried it without the curve. I don’t like the curved text on 1 and 2. Also the girl’s image on 1 and 2 is too small–it’s swallowed up by the text. I do think it’s a good choice of image, though.

  15. Zoe Avatar

    I love the art on cover 3, although the arrangement of the text seems a little awkward – the author name partially covers one of her eyes, and the title text seems artificially narrowed.

  16. Rachel Avatar

    I would say that #3 is the most eye-catching, but the text over her eyes is killing me, and it feels like a romance cover. I’m worried that anyone who bought based on just that image would end up getting something other than what they expected.

    I really like the idea of echoing the design elements of the Enter The Death Circus cover, so I would suggest going with #2 or #1 and adding a second image in the currently blank space–a relevant landscape, the Longview, just something to balance her out.

    1. Elise M. Stone Avatar

      I agree that since it’s a series, it should have the same look as the first book. Because that book was done in blue tones, I’d go with the red for this one to distinguish it.

      Agree with the type over the face. It just looks wrong.

  17. Robert Doucette Avatar
    Robert Doucette

    I voted for cover one. I thought it would be better to glimpse the main character rather than show a detailed “photo.” First, it allows the reader to complete the description of her once they are within the book. Also, as this is Episode 2, it is likely that readers of Episode 1 already have an image of Suzie in their minds. In both cases, it would be better to avoid having the reader think “That’s not what she looks like.” From a marketing POV, I would not want a potential buyer to skip the book because they did not like the way she looked.

    I also preferred the dark coloring of the first cover as a contrast to the name of Suzie Delight.

  18. Laraine Avatar

    I liked the third one best, partly because the other two were TOO MUCH typeface and not enough picture. Though I appreciate the title of the book and the name of the author have to be big in today’s publishing market, there is such a thing as overdoing it.

  19. Claudette Avatar

    Definitely #3 for me. It’s the only one that concentrated on Suzee and not the color overlay.

    Personally I don’t think you need heavy background color to draw in your readers. Good luck with the decision, although it looks like most of us so far have chosen in a big block for #3.

  20. Shani Avatar

    I liked the first one. Really wild how you did the font. I have never seen it done quiet like that before.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I used Art Text—a Mac program—to do the fonts.

  21. Sheri McGathy Avatar

    Three is more visual. I left a comment in the other voting section about the font design.

  22. Tom Vetter Avatar

    Number Three, and it wasn’t even close. One and Two bury Suzee in big print so that you have to hunt for her. Three looks like a sales offering, and I’m tempted to buy…

    Best of luck with her!

  23. Roe Avatar

    It’s a toss up with cover #1 and cover #3 for me. Although cover three stood out the most because of the image, for me the title usually captures my attention. I find the word “Selling” to be the most intriguing part of the title, but in cover #3 it seems to fade to the background. Perhaps other, with a decently large image but the title more bold like in the first cover.

  24. Renaud Avatar

    I would definitely tone down the author name. Guidance I was given was that if the author’s name alone sells the book, then by all means make the author’s name bigger than the title, otherwise, unless you have already topped the NYT best-seller’s list or won your Hugo or Nebula or whatever (oops I gave away my genre), make the book title bigger than the author’s name. I love what you have done and the service you provide but honestly, for the first time when viewing this cover, I thought “Who does she think she is?” And I was vaguely annoyed at having the author’s name hide the magnificently peacocked eyes of the girl. Nonetheless #3 is my favorite.

    1. Holly Avatar

      :D. This is SF, and after 30+ novels commercially published, when I moved to publishing my own work I decided that my name would go on top and be big. The folks who have been buying my stuff since 1992 look for my name, and I decided I wasn’t going to work to make them find it.

      1. Jenn Avatar

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with having the author’s name larger, especially if that is the part you are trying to really sell.

        But I do feel like the typography and the image are competing for the viewers attention. Maybe having more separation between the name and the title would help, depending on the placement.

  25. joan Avatar

    I definitely liked #3 best. I don’t like the curved fonts at all in the first two, and the words take up the whole space. However, I have to wonder since you used the face in the left half of the first two covers, why you don’t do it in a similar way for #3, but put it in the right corner/half instead? That way little of the wording will overrun the picture, and the eye will have that full circular, “read the words then see the picture at the end of reading” kind of thing that all my art teachers always told me to do. Just a thought.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’ve considered doing the face a bit smaller to drop it beneath the name.

      Have also considered flipping the image and moving the text flush right.

      1. Chris Avatar

        I think you should use the color scheme from number 3, but change some of the sizes and positioning. I think it would be best to put your name on one line so that it only comes down about as far as “Holly” does now. Then shrink the picture a little so that the face is below the title, but the image still extends to the bottom of the page. This will also give you a little wider black space on the left to make the title bigger. I agree with comment about “Selling” losing emphasis in the third cover. It might be better to put “The” and “Selling” on separate lines, reducing the height of “The” and “of” and enlarging “Selling”. You could take a little of the height from “Suzee” for “Selling”.

      2. wednesday Avatar

        Before you flip the image, you might want to consider cinamatography’s psychological principle/rule that a character moving left is moving into the past (backward), while a character moving right is moving into the future (forward/onward). Same principle works in marketing/advertising as a general rule.

  26. Tiny-Writer Avatar

    I know I commented when I submitted my vote, but just in case it was too long and the system hiccuped.

    Love the closeness of the girl’s face on #3, but the text overlapping it detracts from the whole cover, at least for me. I think the girl needs to be more predominantly featured here, less so Holly’s name. Not to knock you down, Holly – love you, your books, your courses – but the cover in my opinion is supposed to sell the story, not the author. With that in mind, smaller font for ‘Holly Lisle’, so it’s all on one line – preferably above the eyes, let the potential buyer see her eyes and connect with the girl. Just below chin line and in the same font size, ‘The Selling of’. This leaves her face fully visible and slightly more vulnerable, particularly with the idea of her being sold and the second part of her name. Then ‘Suzee’ and ‘Delight’ on two rows below, same font size as currently is. I would suggest the text go straight across, no warping. Anyways, good luck with this book, Holly. Cheers!

  27. Tanith Avatar

    Also, the popup ad when I came to this page, that pops up again after leaving the comment, is really annoying.

    1. Nikhi Avatar

      True, the pop-ups are kinda annoying. And the font is… a bit bold. 😀 sorry, Holly, but your name is wayyyy too big.

  28. Tanith Avatar

    3 is way the best from a design perspective, but they all look like geisha porn, not like science fiction, and the title reinforces that. And text shouldn’t cover the face – the face is what draws me in.

  29. Karen Avatar

    I really like cover #3, but would bring the font size down to give more of a feeling of space on the cover.

  30. Katharina Gerlach Avatar

    I voted for other and wrote a lengthy explanation. Don’t know if you got it though cause it doesn’t show up in the results.

    1. Holly Avatar

      It didn’t come through anywhere, Cat. Could you post it here?

      1. Autumn Avatar

        I can’t seem to scroll down the page and get to the comment button, so I’ll reply here. I also chose “other”.

        None of the covers tell me what genre this is. I truly can’t tell.

        I’m not a fan of the fonts, but I can’t give feedback unless I know what category this is going in and who you think the audience is.

        But I know the Longview is a ship, and I write space opera sci-fi. I can tell you planets / spaceships / stars will sell more books in sci-fi than a plain image of a girl. The font has to be right, too.

        But if you want it to match the branding on the first episode, I’d go for #1 or #2, because the font is the main grab on your first episode. 😉

        1. Ernest Avatar

          I agree with her. She seems to be on the same page with me on what I already commented.

  31. Sara Avatar

    3 jumps out the most but they all seem to need something more in the background.

  32. Ping Wan Avatar
    Ping Wan

    I like #3. The first one made me think it was a Chinese historical book from the red dress in the background. The second one gave me the chill of horror. The third one let me read all on the cover and want to read the flap to find out more. Hope this helps. Good luck and congratulations!

  33. chris Avatar

    I like three because of the drama of the image, the pale skin tone and forlorn expression, caught my eye immediately. the alignment of the typeface is bold without dominating the power of the image. I would be drawn to this on a webpage or a bookshelf. The only suggestion i could possibly offer would be to slightly darken the over-all image of her face, and pehaps hilight the reflections more strongly in her eyes, so that they draw you in… but hey! I ain’t one o them fancy art critic types…I just know what makes my cork pop ya know? best of luck, and good fortune with the book holly! p.S. Did you paint this? It’s
    beautifully done!

  34. Heather Gale Avatar
    Heather Gale

    #3 hands down for me! Loved the use of colour against such a dull background. The subconscious message I get from this cover is your possible theme; that Suzee stands out and is not afraid to be different. Another reason it’s #3 for me is the font – it looks organized. The curved font throws me off and I’m not sure what the intended message is, however it seems ‘really’ important. My only other comment would be, you could dilute the picture of Suzee perhaps, but I find it intriguing just the way you have her and would buy it with this cover. 🙂

  35. Charlotte Lenox Avatar

    I very much like the third cover, although what if you modified it somewhat, so that your name is a little smaller and sits on the woman’s forehead/eyebrows instead of partially covering her eyes, as it does now? Don’t know, maybe I’m just being nit-picky about the aesthetics. I really love the colors, and the larger image.

  36. Karl S Avatar

    While I voted on 3, I think there is something more lurid about 1. I think that you could add an element of that to 3 and would have even more of a winner.

  37. Aleta Kay Avatar

    I love #3. The contrast between the words and the image really pop, giving it an image that draws the reader in before even opening the book.

  38. Negomi Sitrath Avatar
    Negomi Sitrath

    The font size should be reduced on Cover 3 (my favourite).

    1. Jade Avatar

      I agree. I’d reduce the size of the name so that it’s not covering up her eyes so much. The first thing people usually notice about a picture of a person is their eyes. Uncovering more of them would draw a reader into the book more. IMHO. The color of the photo are vivid enough that I wouldn’t do a color screen like was done in #1 and #2.

      I would also make the title a smaller size so it isn’t so cramped. It’s a little hard to read. Or you could make the photo smaller and move it slightly down and right so that the type covers less of her actual face.

      Curved type tends to scream amateur design, particularly when the other text is straight.

  39. Juneta Avatar

    I liked the 3rd cover best, because it was richer and sharper. The name o the story includes a womans anme, and the cover gave a real sense of her, because I can actually see more details. It hints at mystery too. I think the sharper color combinations that trigger the feeling of mystery. I can see her expression, and she seems more real than just a thought like the other covers, so the image gets some sympathy and curiosity for me. The picture doesn’t dominate, but reveals enough to provoke an emotion. I would look at the book from the cover alone with #3.

    1. Juneta Avatar

      Sorry for the typos did not proof, oops. I think the image too makes you feel it is about somebody real hitting that universal people are drawn to stories about people kind of thing too.

  40. Elaine Milner Avatar
    Elaine Milner

    I am more intrigued by the face, which is shown best in #3, than by a bigger title.

  41. Misty Avatar

    Cover 3 definitely looks the most professional. It might benefit from some more attention to the font (a /very/ subtle drop shadow, maybe?).

    I like the technique described in this tutorial: http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/dirty-design-create-a-grungy-thriller-book-cover–psd-5698

    Skip the grungy stuff and go straight to the font. You wouldn’t know to look at the example at the beginning, but they’ve done a lot to the font for that cover. I found that the techniques in this tutorial really helped make the font “blend” with the background, and gave it an extra bit of polish without looking too cheesy like a more simple drop shadow sometimes can. 🙂 At least, that’s my opinion! Everyone has a different taste!

    1. Misty Avatar

      Oh, and I forgot to mention… Part of what’s not grabbing me about the first two is that there’s a really large “white space” in the background image. It feels like there’s something missing there. That design could work just as well if there was maybe some faint background image like a landscape of some kind. Or maybe if the text for the title was “off set” so as to look like part of the image instead of another layer. (Just my thoughts! Hope it makes sense!) 🙂

  42. M.A. Kropp Avatar
    M.A. Kropp

    I don’t like curved text. It is rarely done really well. I’m spoiled, though, hubby has been in graphics software for years.

  43. Tuff Gartin Avatar
    Tuff Gartin

    #3 jumped out at me instantly. The bigger image jumps out and grabs my attention. On the other two, the image is too much in the background for me. If I saw that face on a book cover in a bookstore, I’d pick it up and read the sleeve. The other two, probably not unless it was something I was already anticipating coming out.

  44. Melinda Avatar

    First, I LOVE your stories. I’m only commenting because you did ask for opinions. So in answer to your question, to be honest, none of these would entice me to click. I suppose #3 comes the closest, but the type on her face is really driving me nuts. I’m just not sure these covers fulfill the promise that lies within the pages. They don’t sell the story, to me.

    Just my humble opinion. No disrespect intended to the designer. I do love the girl…the colors and such are interesting…if I could really SEE them. But the type completely steals the show, and not in a good way. In a “I’m in Microsoft Word” sorta way.

    1. sky Avatar

      Agree completely with this comment. At least don’t cover her eye with the text. The type on #3 is best, but still too gaudy. And the overall feeling has a touch of angsty teen which I’m not sure you want… I do like the image in 3 though.

  45. Mary Hicks Avatar

    Cover number three is more original looking. The other two just feel like templates to me. 🙂 I like the text better on three too.

  46. Bonnie Avatar

    Please don’t use the bendy type. I also agree with Nancy. The image in #3 is much more striking.

  47. Anna Avatar

    Cover #2 had a quality of mystery that pulled me in.

  48. Anna Avatar

    Cover #2 has a quality of mystery that pulled me in.

  49. Carole McKee Avatar
    Carole McKee

    #1 jumped out at me more than the others. I would definitely go straight to the blurb to see what the book was about.

    1. Charlotte Alexander Avatar
      Charlotte Alexander

      Hi Holly! Liked 3 the best, but it really doesn’t give me the slightest clue what this book is about. Need a bit of cue – is this sci fi or fantasy? Title implies some sort of slavery but there’s nothing that indicates Suzee is under duress. Also, I’ve heard that photos sell best for advertising. Maybe that applies to book covers, too. I am intensely grateful that you didn’t cut her head off.

  50. Nancy Roman Avatar

    I love #3. And you have to remember that folks are buying now based on thumbnail images, so the larger the image, the clearer it will be.

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