Marsha Canham's Blog

January 16, 2014

Cover choices

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 3:41 pm

Okay, so I’ve been going back and forth with options for the new covers for my three Scotland books, Pride of Lions, Blood of Roses, and Midnight Honor. I can’t decide if I want the series to look stark and not genre-specific, like this in option #1:


or if I want it to imply hot romance, as in option # 2:


or a combination of both, as in option #3


or the combination keeping the textured overlay, which I find oddly appealing as in option #4:


Any and all opinions/suggestions/advice to start over completely highly welcome, requested, needed *s*.



  1. This is for an e-book release, am I right? If so, I would choose the first option. The one without the clutch on the cover. It will be easier for people to see in the thumbnail view – which is what most of us ever see when we’re buying a book on our tablets/e-readers.

    Comment by Susan — January 16, 2014 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

    • Yes, it is for the ebook release, and whew…I was leaning toward option #1 myself, just wasn’t sure Romance Readers (who form my largest reader base) would like it.

      Comment by marshacanham — January 16, 2014 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  2. The stark is better. The Pride of the Lions series is as much historical fiction as it is romance. The racy cover cheapens what is a fantastic story. I would never have picked up the book if the racier cover had been presented.
    Along with the stark, some Scottish plaid would be appropriate.

    Comment by Lanna Dickinson — January 16, 2014 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  3. ONE!

    Comment by Bookworm — January 16, 2014 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

  4. I prefer option 1, I always think historical romance novels are undermined with the cliche porno style covers, they are brilliant books, and as with all good design, less is more!

    Comment by Dee — January 16, 2014 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  5. I think implying the hero or heroine is a good idea, but without the “steamy romance” implications. The clan crest is lovely, of course. πŸ™‚ I like the older-looking version of it in cover two. The Clan Cameron plaid could make a bit of an appearance, too, perhaps? One image in the book that comes up more than once is when Alexander has the sword in his bloody fist – I think? Is that book one or two? (blush!) But I think that is prominent and speaks of the background to the story, too.

    Comment by Sandi — January 16, 2014 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  6. I like #1, but would prefer to see a colored background or perhaps a touch of tartan. Agree with Sandy’s suggestion of the sword in the bloody fist image- that packs an impact. These books don’t stint on the history *or* the romance, so it can be a tricky balance when choosing images.

    Comment by Anna Bowling — January 16, 2014 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  7. I so much prefer option #1. it is classic. Timely. Still gives the feel of the Scottish with the emblem. I’m tired of and bored with all the man/woman romance covers.

    Comment by Denise — January 16, 2014 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  8. I like the 1st one or the 4th one. I’m gonna have to reread these again! such a fantastic storyteller.

    Comment by Jen Brown — January 16, 2014 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  9. I like #2. You’re appealing to the romance crowd as well as anyone who might want an excellent historical. You can’t go wrong with Jimmy Thomas on the cover. The first option in black and white isn’t appealing. It looks like a spy thriller.

    Comment by Phoebe Conn — January 16, 2014 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  10. Kudos to option #1. The nearly porno cover had me scrolling quickly away even when shadowed by the solid cover. Like a couple comments, I’m in favor of using a touch of the Cameron clan tartan as an accent to option #1 and I really like the use of Clan Medallion. I have all three books and love them although Pride of Lions and Blood of Roses are and will always be my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES!!!

    Comment by Kathy Raymes — January 16, 2014 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

  11. I like option 1. It looks very elegant. But I would add some image(s) to make it clear the Scottish/Highlander theme of the story. The romance part of the book can be suggested with some phrase at the bottom of the cover.

    If any of the other covers was to be chosen, I would remove that hand over the breast of the woman.

    Comment by Glymagly — January 16, 2014 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  12. Marsha I really love the first, even though it looks a lot like Diana Gabaldon’s covers for her Outlander series.

    IMHO…. There is much more to these books than the “steamy” sex. I really love the original covers. Couldn’t they just use those.

    Comment by Darlene Freeman — January 16, 2014 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

    • Unfortunately the copyright for original covers for the paperbacks belong to Random House and I can’t use them. I wasn’t even aware of Gabaldon’s covers until you made me go look LOL but they’re different enough to make me go *whew*.

      Comment by marshacanham — January 16, 2014 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  13. I like the covers with hunky guys on them. I USUALLY take a second look at those as opposed to generic covers. BTW…very excited you are publishing Midnight Honor. That is my ALL time favorite book!

    Comment by Julies — January 16, 2014 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  14. hi….for me 1 is the one….i get the book for your name….not sexiiiieeeee….pics…..go with #1……but i will still buy..with pics

    Comment by michael dougherty — January 16, 2014 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  15. I vote for number one. 1745 was a time of great turmoil and sacrifice in Scotland and I agree it needs a cover that reflects that time in history.

    Comment by Ruth — January 16, 2014 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  16. Honestly, I don’t like any of them for Pride of the Lions. The first one is boring. The naked couple really misrepresents the story. I would love to see some beautiful highlands on the cover.

    Comment by Phyllis Lamken — January 17, 2014 @ 1:26 am | Reply

  17. I like option #1

    Comment by Victoria Pagh — January 17, 2014 @ 3:52 am | Reply

  18. While #2, #3 & #4 have me on them πŸ˜‰ I would go with #5, another option πŸ˜‰

    – Cover option #1 isn’t colorful enough to grab the attention of most readers. Coloring plays a big factor in what grabs the attention of the human eye – I wrote an article about it; “The Importance of Color on Covers” for InD’tale Magazine: (

    – Whether you want your cover to be genre-specific or not, the cover image of the female model and myself in cover options #2, #3 & #4, isn’t going to get the attention of “your” audience, it will grab the attention of Erotica Romance readers, as that is a highly Erotica image, which means it also won’t pass Amazon’s new book cover guidelines without them automatically listing them as “Adult/Erotica”, even if you don’t list them as that.

    – In my professional opinion, if you are on the fence of having your cover genre-specific, I would go with something like this RNC Pre-Made Cover: (, as it only gives a hint to Scottish/Highlander, while still showing a connection of the two main characters.

    Or to be a more genre-specific, maybe one of these RNC Pre-Made Covers (colors, fonts and such can all be changed):

    Or, if you want to make the cover yourself, you could go with the same RNC stock image as above: bhjt9467hl ( along with some colored cover art (a sunset), and to be more genre-specific, you could add the clan’s kilt across the cover. If you put any text (book title, your name, blurb) over the kilt, I would put a translucent shadow bar under the text to not have the text lost in the kilt material, and to allow the book title to be seen better at thumbnail size, like the translucent shadow bar on these RNC Pre-Made Covers:

    I just looked at your current covers of ‘Pride of Lions’, ‘Blood of Roses’, and ‘Midnight Honor’, and I really like them! Very classic and mass-market looking!

    However, I assume you are re-making those covers, because you got your rights back and want to self-publish them, so you can’t still use the covers your former publisher made for them (too bad ;)). So maybe something similar; white background with something colorful on each one, and with the clan’s crest under the book titles like this other 3-book series of covers you designed:

    Or maybe making the crest clear, not faded, and enlarging it to about half the width of the cover, on top of the clan’s kilt that spans across the middle of the book, with your name above it and book title below it… Ok, that sounded interesting so I had to open Photoshop and throw something together to show you what I mean. Mind you I’m no cover artist, but something like this:

    Jimmy Thomas – RNC

    Comment by Jimmy Thomas - RNC — January 17, 2014 @ 3:52 am | Reply

    • For not being a cover artist, you did a great job. I like it enough I may pilfer the idea and use it *g* I do agree the color on white grabs the eye. And I did search through every single pic on your site looking for one that might work, as you can see I’ve used you on just about every one of my reissues. Thank you for your input and for taking the time with Photoshop. Hope to meet you in person in Vegas at the convention!

      Comment by marshacanham — January 17, 2014 @ 5:47 am | Reply

  19. I absolutely love Jimmy’s mockup– it evokes the same feeling as your original covers without looking like a copy.

    Comment by Hayden Braeburn — January 17, 2014 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

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