It was the best of covers. It was the worst of covers…
I revealed this book cover on social media last month, but I didn’t reveal the funny thing that happened during the design process.
We Three Kings follows the Weise/Wise family as three different generations of heroes make their fortunes through gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I wrote the contemporary romance alongside historical authors Crystal Caudill and Cara Putman.
So anyway, the three of us were all involved in coming up with cover ideas. We agreed there should be an old-fashioned ornament with the magi carved inside a star since it plays a part in each of our novellas. The designer took our suggestion and went to work.
When we received the first mockup, I was away from my computer and opened the image in an app on my phone. I was shocked to find the Christmas tree branch in a sepia tone and the ornament colored teal. There was also a note about possibly turning the string into a red ribbon, which would have clashed horribly.
It wasn’t how I’d pictured the book in my head. I expected Crystal and Cara to act just as shocked, but they were pretty chill with the whole thing.
At this point, I started questioning myself. I mean, authors are notorious for being picky, and I was apparently the pickiest of us three. I kept opening the file again and again, thinking, “Maybe I’ll like it better this time.” But I didn’t.
In a private chat, I prodded the other authors for suggestions on what might improve our cover. Crystal went photo hunting in an attempt to appease me and ended up finding a new photo set in a snowy forest with a star in the sky. I loved it and sent it in to our publisher along with a note that read something like:
I think a photo like this might work better, but if you keep the one you have, could you please make the ornament look more like natural wood rather than be painted teal?
I didn’t think that was too much to ask, since it’s what all three of us had wanted in the first place. A few moments later, we received a response that basically said:
It is natural wood. Are you all seeing teal?
Oops. The designer must have sent the wrong file. That would have explained a lot. But nope. Cara and Crystal had both opened the file on their computers to see this:
Which was why they weren’t making as big a fuss. Now THIS I could get on board with. I took a screenshot to share what I’d seen on my phone, and sent it along with:
It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.
After a good laugh, we were finally on the same page.
Our cover designer took the photo Crystal found and made a second option. Of the two designs, the one with the star in the sky felt like a better fit. And now I love our cover as much as I love our stories.
I’m not sure why the colors on my phone were so off, but if they hadn’t been, we might never have come up with our current cover. We took an unexpected route to get where we needed to go. Which is symbolic in itself.
Which cover would you have chosen?
I like the cover that y’all chose for the book better. It just seems to go along with the title more than the other one.
Happy Friday, Angela. Thanks for the back story on the cover. As a retiree, who loves pictures I understand how sometimes images might appear different on our phone. I often look at things on my computer screen, iPad, and iPhone. Love the final cover. As a German American I look forward to the anthology and reading about the Weise family. Weise (means Wise in English), plus the Wise Men. So very creative. I have always been intrigued by the Three Kings / Wise Men in the Nativity story. Best wishes. Enjoy your weekend.
I like both, but I lean a little more to the first one, the one you rejected. However, if I read the blurb, I might chose the one you did!
Angela Ruth Strong says
The one with the star is the one we used. Which one do you mean by the first one?
The dark one at the top is the one I don’t like. You’ve posted three pictures, the top one I don’t like, the middle one is the one with the teal, which I don’t like, and the bottom one is the one I like.
Angela Ruth Strong says
Gotcha. Hope the blurb helps!
I LOVE the night cover…I love that feeling of darkness with a shining star.
Lori Smanski says
good morning today. I love the cover with the star in the heavens. to me it depicts the promise about to happen/God in the heavens and the three wise men on earth
Bonnie Heringer says
I love the cover you went with! It’s way better than what the publisher sent you, either version–teal or natural.
That’s so funny that only you could see the colour as teal. I can see why you weren’t keen on the teal one but it does make you second guess yourself when everyone else seems fine with something.
I do like the cover you went with in the end, the night sky gives a lovely Christmas feel.
prefer the rejected cover
Babbling Becky L says
So glad your computer or something was off!! The first true cover is ok, but the cover with the dark blue sky and the brilliant star shining out of it is SO eye-catching!!
Debra Pruss says
I like the cover that is going to be on the book the best. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
I do like the real original. I like the light colour and the ornament hanging from the tree. Of course it helps to know the blurb for choosing the best cover.
The new cover is good too and looks like the an American Christmas.
I can see why you didn’t like the cover you saw the teal ornament looks plastic.
Dianne K says
I prefer the final cover, it’s more cohesive to me. The real star appears jarring and fades the background, completely understand you were underwhelmed by it
Marina Costa says
I have a cover which I do not like, but I had to bear with it, if the publisher explained to me his reasons…