His Wayward Duchess cover reveal, and why covers matter

Just a quick update about the book reveal of my upcoming Regency romance, His Wayward Duchess!


Duchess final 200x320


When Sylvester, the Duke of Strathavon, unexpectedly inherits the family estate, he decides to enter into a marriage of convenience with the plain, practical Miss Holly Millforte. Who better to help him set the crumbling estate to rights?

But Miss Millforte is much more than Sylvester (or even she) could ever imagine! When Holly turns the tables on him, charming London society and stealing his heart into the bargain, can their marriage take a most inconvenient turn towards love instead?

An old-fashioned comedy of manners in which adventure, blackmail, rakish cousins and true love abound.


It’s amazing how much a new book cover feels like Christmas morning – when you see it all ready, finished, and real.  You keep peeking at it again and again, because you can’t quite stop.

It makes the book feel so much more real too. In a way, more so even than having the manuscript on your hard drive does. It’s pretty peculiar.

I have a strange relationship with book covers: I make them myself, because I  enjoy it, and I figure that I may as well put all the time I spent mucking about with Corel Painter and Photoshop to good use. And yet there’s always this point – about midway through a cover, when the software just won’t do what I want it to, and I realise that none of it looks right anyway, and now I’ll have to start again because of the sheer awfulness of it… Then I spend a good few minutes just staring at the screen in blurry-eyed despair and seriously questioning my life choices.

Why, oh why, won’t Photoshop just listen to me? And why did I ever think this was a good idea?

Usually, this is a good point to go away from the computer for a while, in the hopes of coming back a little calmer.

Then finally it somehow manages to come right and the world is full of rainbows again, which is a good thing because there should really be an annual limit on existential despair. This is the part where I get to sit back and bask in a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Of course, next I want to show off  the cover to the whole world, and it takes some serious self-control not to email all the friends in my contact list, or tell the internet right away.  It’s pure giddy glee in the driving seat at that point.

I think all writers feel that way about covers to some extent, whether they make the covers themselves or hire a designer. It’s honestly one of my favourite parts of the whole process.

This makes me think about covers in a wider sense. Most marketing guides will tell you how important covers are. It’s all about packaging. Your cover needs to be eye-catching, and it has to look well made. It also has to be genre-appropriate, because a cover can serve as genre short-hand and if you get it wrong you can accidentally miss your mark with your intended audience. There are tips on how big your name should be, how big your title should be and what else you need to include.

Some writers get prickly about this because they feel that their story should speak for itself, on its own merit. Never judge a book by its cover and all that. This is a great sentiment in theory, but in practice it just doesn’t work. The cover is the first thing a reader sees – that’s inevitable. On the other hand, before they’ve read it, they have no way of knowing the sheer brilliance and scope of your magnum opus, even if you’ve spent the last ten years perfecting every last adverb. And the undeniable fact is that a good cover dramatically increases the chances of the reader checking out the blurb or reading the first paragraph.

So keep an eye on that new cover when you’re prepping your book – does it create the effect that you want it to? Does it do your work justice? Is it eye-catching?

Covers are definitely important – especially when you consider all the other books out there. You want to stand out, you want to be memorable and easily recognisable.

But cover reveals are also fun to do: which is why I’m so excited right now to finally able to share this brand new cover, in anticipation of launching His Wayward Duchess!




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