Be honest: You totally judge books by their covers. And if you don’t, congratulations, you’re a less judgmental person than I am.
A sub-par cover by itself may not be enough to turn me off a book completely, any more than a gorgeous, exciting, distinctive cover will guarantee I love the story behind it. But I’ll take the latter over the former, any day!
For the cover of my first fairytale novella, “The Swan Prince”, I had the following criteria:
One, it had to be pretty. Because I like pretty art; and my “Wilderhark Tales” series, while it might occasionally have to deal with some less-than-attractive circumstances, has an overall pretty vibe.
Two, it had to feature at least one main character. Because I judge books by their characters more than I do by their covers. My characters are the stars of this production, and I want to show them off!
Three, it had to stand out from the crowd. Because individuality is a big deal to me. I don’t want book covers that look like a thousand others or follow a trend. I want book covers that say Danielle E. Shipley wrote ‘em. …and not just because they’ll be wearing my name.
And, oh, yeah, four: It had to look better than anything I could put together on my own.
So, with all that in mind, here it is. BEHOLD!
What I can’t take credit for: The wow-some art. That was created at my commission by the majorly talented Yana Naumova, known on DeviantArt as yanadhyana. She also drew up a set of fantastic character-themed bookmarks, which you can bet will be finding their way into some giveaways, soon… ^^
What I can take credit for: The insertion of the words, their font, color, and placement chosen with agonizing care. Not as impressive as the scene behind the words, I know…but hey, that scene’s inspired by the story I wrote; that counts for something, right?
In any event, here’s what it says on the back cover:
* * *
Catching her leg in a bear trap proves the least of Sula’s worries.
Haunted by an enchanted monster
from a past she dare not reveal, and hounded by
the perilously perceptive young village doctor, Villem Deere,
the headstrong girl of the woods gambles with fate
by binding hers to that of Sigmund, the captivating orphan boy
with mysterious nightly business of his own.
The Swan Prince
Book One of The Wilderhark Tales
<> ~ <> ~ <>
An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;
A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;
Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp
whisked down a giant beanstalk –
all within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.
You’ve heard the stories –
of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist
the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns
appearing just in time for a midnight ball;
of frog princes, and swan princes,
and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.
Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.
Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales.
Know them now as Wilderhark’s.
* * *
“The Swan Prince” is scheduled to release on May 31st (never mind that I really don’t want to wait that long! 😄 ), and will be available in paperback and e-book formats. Is anybody else excited? Because I very much am! (If you need an outlet to help contain your zeal, feel free to add “The Swan Prince” to your “to be read” list on Goodreads. Not the same as owning the book now, now, now, I know, but it’s a start!)