Is An Image Worth A Thousand Words?

Our guest this week is Sue Viders  talking about  book covers. I took one of Sue’s classes a few years ago and I am so glad she could find time to share some of her knowledge here. Readers thank you for visiting my blog. Please feel free to comment at the end of the post. Your thoughts are very much appreciated.

Is an image worth a thousand words?

If it is a cover for an ebook… then YES! That is the goal.

The cover for my first dip into the world of fiction took many turns and twists as it was being developed with the final result a complete surprise to everyone including me. Grin.

When I started writing about Meg, I envisioned a soft image of an art gallery or a bookstore, similar to the hundreds of other cozy covers I had seen. But somewhere deep in my gray cells I knew that I really didn’t want that image on the cover. It was too much like everything else that was already out there.MatMV-frontFinal-2 (2)

I wanted my cover to stand out. To be unique. Different. Memorable.

Ah. How to do this was the problem.

Working with a cover artist I explained what I wanted, but the illustrator wanted a short synopsis of the story so he would have a better idea of what the cover would need to look like.

Okay. Didn’t have a synopsis so spend a couple of days writing one…

Send it off and about a week later got four designs.

Ugh. They were awful. They looked like all the other covers I had seen in my research of possible cover designs.

So I sent him a long letter explaining that I wanted something different that all the other cozy covers out there. He wrote back saying they looked like that so the readers would more easily be able to grasp the genre when they saw the image.

Made sense.

Too bad I didn’t agree.

So he tried another batch of designs. Hmm. Not bad, but still what I had in mind. I wanted a cover that said “artist” and also conveyed that the artist worn “earrings.”

Got back images of beautiful silver and gold earrings. Nope. That didn’t work either.

Desperate I googled images for artist’s, art studios, art materials and finally art tools.

Yes. Under art tools there were a zillion images of paint brushes. Right. The image came to me and getting out my colored pencil, in about two minutes I had the design. A paint brush with earrings.

I sent it to my illustrator. He loved it and said “This is going to shake up the cozy world” and laughed.

He cleaned it up added the color and the titles. We agreed, after several tries, on how the wording should read to let the readers know it was going to be an ongoing series.

And we were done.

Next step. Show the cover to a few of my beta readers and friends and family. Interesting reactions. A few really loved it as they said it was eye-catching and truly different… oh how I loved those comments. However the rest, especially my family hated it and wanted me to change it. “Too different” they said.

Good, I answered. Just what I wanted. Something different.

So you will either love it or hate it, but, and this is the bottom line, you will remember it. And after all isn’t that the goal of a really good cover?                                                                 ~~~


Her favorite art professor murdered on campus.
Unwanted radio voices sounding in her ears.
And drug runners circling closer and closer.

Meg Jamison, a widow in her mid-fifties, a bit overweight and trying to paint colorful images for an upcoming art show, is terribly frustrated with her new hearing aid earrings. They just won’t work right. But when her youngest motorcyclist son gets pulled into running drugs and all she has are broken frames for her artwork, the darn hearing aid turns out to be a lifesaver.

Tracking down a killer, while fending off pesky calls from an overbearing sister-in-law and learning how to deal with a younger would-be lover, Meg manages to balance all the bouncing balls and help everyone, including herself, in this lighthearted cozy mystery.


Sue Viders is the author of 25 books, articles and columns, all nonfiction, for artists and writers. Her books for writers include Heroes and Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes,(see the new cover on Amazon) and 10 Steps to Creating Memorable Characters and are both now in digital formats.

But her favorite product for writers is her Deal a Story card game. Based on the Heroes and Heroines book, the game includes 101 cards in six sections. The game is played/the storyline created simply by picking one card from each group: Hero, Heroine, Villain, Plot, Genre and Flaw and immediately you will have the beginnings of a story.

Her latest project is the Whole Writer’s Series, a set of e-book guides and workbooks for both the nonfiction and fiction writer. Also in the works are mini books of Dottie’s lectures, taken from her numerous online writing classes.

If you have a question or comment, please leave it below and thanks so much for stopping by.

4 thoughts on “Is An Image Worth A Thousand Words?

  1. I hate book covers that have heroes and heroines with a different color hair, style, or length from that in the story. Also don’t like a scene depicted on the cover that is suspenseful if the book is a light romance.


  2. I imagine designing a different cover for a cozy is difficult, because most of the cozy covers are a brand of the genre. A cover is what attracts me to a book. Generally, you can tell what the content of a book is by the cover i.e two men, one woman- menage, dark alley and bats- paranormal, guns with a bulls eye-thriller or crime novel, Characters running-suspense. In my opinion, when the cover doesn’t reflect the content or the characters the reader is disappointed.


  3. Ruby… thanks again for having me here in your blog… I enjoyed writing about my cover and I also enjoyed reading other writers comments about covers… they are both “spot on”… the cover sets the tone for the book and should convey to the potential reader what the story is about…

    Whether or not this will happen with my cover is anyone’s guess, but I wanted something DIFFERENT… so I’ll check in again in six or so months and let you all know if this image was successful. After all that is the point of a cover, to help sell the story.



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