Book cover design and Halloween

It's October, which means Halloween, so I'm sharing what was almost the cover for my debut novel, THE LANGUAGE OF BODIES.

Book layout and cover design are super important. People do judge books by their covers despite the oft-stated advice not to, and encountering unreadable or unprofessional fonts, odd word or line spacing, non-standard front and back matter, and all the rest of the details which contribute to polish can also push readers away.

I've had training and experience in these kinds of tasks, so it was a bit scary to work with a publisher. What if I didn't like their choices? 

Luckily Woodhall Press created a lovely book design, and was happy to work with me on the cover. I'm sure other publishers have different processes, but for this book, I provided images and concepts about tone etc., and received back mockups. I offered feedback, and sometimes found it easiest to just create what I had in mind rather than trying to explain it. Showing versus telling, and all that.

The image at the top of this post is one of the designs I sent. I liked the idea of old, torn paper, and a vintage drawing of the human form. I liked that the words on the callouts didn't connect to the body parts which would typically be correlated. The Language of Bodies is odd, dark, connected to history, and a bit spooky, so this imagery resonated.

But this is the cover we went with:

It's completely different, and reflects the story's heart: beauty, darkness, love, pain. Both covers feel true and right for the book, while being near total opposites. So if you like spooky reads, have I got a book for you! But if you like novels which make you think, feel, laugh, and maybe even cry, I also have a book, and it's the same one.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Which version do you prefer? Which one would you choose if you were the author?


  1. Just finished this excellent book. Sadly, I had to read it in two sessions—my bad back needed some time for stretching and walking. It was so unlike anything I’ve read previously, and I am so thankful for the perspectives it provided. It is so well written. Tightly phrased but beautiful and gracious descriptions. And such a good story! Thanks for writing it!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your response to my book! You've made my day.

      If possible for you, I'd love a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or whatever other platforms you might use.

  2. I believe either would work well, good luck with your book. Look forward to reading it soon.


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