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March 01, 2017


Hank Phillippi Ryan

I love those covers… They are so authentic! And you instantly tell what you're getting. And what a wonderful title Nine Coaches Waiting is, don't you think?

Dean James

I agree, Hank! And the title Nine Coaches Waiting is so mysterious. It comes from the play "The Revenger's Tragedy" by Cyril Tourneur, and the book is divided into nine parts.

Laura DiSilverio

As you know, Dean, I'm a huge Heyer fan to this day. I also loved all the romantic suspense authors you mentioned in my teens, although I don't re-read them like I do the Heyers. Thanks for sharing the covers which are works of art in and of themselves, apart from the books.


I'm with you, an intriguing cover catches my eye and I'm more likely to read it first.

And yes, similar looking covers certainly help us figure out genre, too. A co-worker told me she couldn't tell when I'd switched from one book to another because the covers all looked the same to her. I was reading a lot of Berkley books at the time. The same could be said for Henery Press's books. They definitely have a feel to them that is similar.

Elaine Viets

Thanks for spotlighting an important but often ignored part of the publishing industry -- the cover artists. Geer's work is distinctive and deserves recognition.

Triss Stein

Anyone who says the cover doesn't matter has never watched people choosing books in a library or book store.The cover telegraphs a message about the book, and what they pick up to consider depends a lot on what the cover is telling them. It could be a mood, a setting, a story element, but "thrilling suspense" shouldn't be getting the same cover as "sweet romance" which shouldn't be getting a cover that says "heartrending tragedy." A message that does not serve the book fails the writer and the publisher. And the reader!

Kristin Lundgren

I am also a fan of cover art. I will own multiple copies of a favorite book if I like the different artists. I too loved Heyer's works in PB form, and Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Eliz. Peters/Barbara Michaels, Velda Johnston, May McKintosh, Elsie Lee, and so many others (forgive misspellings). And I loved the HC Art of MMKaye's six RS books set in exotic locales, like the houseboat in Lake Dal. While my boxes of HC Whitneys, and my boxes PBs of the Gothics (incl. RS) are buried deep in my storage unit by overly enthusiastic offspring, I haven't forgotten, and my one wish is to get all my books out, or at least accessible. I hope I can afford a 2br when I retire with the 2nd room as a library/guest room. Art draws me to a book, esp. new authors. An interesting cover in SF, YA, or cozies will get me to pick it up and read the blurb and reviews. I have never really thought about following an artist, although I know I did, for if it was Fawcett Crest, it had an entirely different look than the Signet Regency covers I loved. I hated the covers from the later period regencies, and other publishing houses. They seemed cheap and simplistic, and I never felt sure of the quality of the writing.

Dean James

Thanks for all the great responses! It's obvious that cover art really does resonate with many readers.

Marilyn Watson

Yes Geer is my favorite too as I sit here and look at a cover of Mary Stewart. I bought these old paperbacks both for the story and the Cover which I collect older ones like Leslie Ford for that also.

Dianne S Meyer

And it still does. That's why the publishers' covers continue to have colorful covers, and smart rebinding vendors use scans of the original book jackets on the guaranteed binding formats. Kids and others LOVE them.
Wonderful blog.

Anne Murphy

Does anyone else remember the late Bill Deeck's wonderful slide show on cover art? He presented it at a Malice Donestic many years ago and I was amazed by the number of artists who had gone on to illustrate works for children.

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