From Cover to Cover


I'm happy to see you. Although I'm still working on pulling the trilogy together, the Tiki Hut is alive and well. Drinks are on the house today!

Also, I'm still in the business of drumming up subscribers for my newsletter. You're all invited to join! Thanks so much to you who already have.

The newsletter will be sporadic, depending solely on book-related news and/or events. It will be as short as possible.

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Thanks in advance for your support. All you have to do to sign up is click here.

This month, I'm happy to share a special writer with you. His name is Tom Turner, and he's the author of the Charlie Crawford mystery series set in Palm Beach, Florida.

I first met Tom back in March, when he inquired about being a guest here. We agreed on May. When he sent me his post a couple of weeks ago, I almost fell off my chair--in a very good way.

So I'm pasting the whole thing I received from him below. I snagged his photo and bio from his website.

Once again, Tom. Thank you. And thank you for sharing blogging space with me.

Hi Carol,
Hope you like it.
All-time lamest cliche— You can’t judge a book by its cover. Oh, yeah? Newsflash! Everyone does.
My first book was traditionally published—boy, was it ever a bad experience. And the cover they foisted off on me… awful. So I decided to go down the self-publishing road. What immediately became apparent to me was that there were a million hacks out there—literally— whose books had five typo’s per page and covers that a kid in fifth grade art class could do. So to be taken seriously and not just sell a total of seventeen copies to families and friends, I needed to be scrupulous in my editing and bite the bullet for good covers. My first cover cost me $575, but it was worth every penny. My third one—by the same cover designer—just won an award. Just like typos, a bad cover screams amateur. Or worse— clueless, incompetent amateur. (Caution: A good cover can land you a reader but you then need to deliver with the rest of the package.)
Okay, the reason I came up with this subject in the first place, after racking my brain for a few days, was looking at Carol’s website. (No, she did not slip me a few buck to say any nice things, but fact is, her stuff is fabulous!) From the mysterious-looking, sexy babes on her covers—hey, how come there isn’t one on Never Say My Name?—to what’s got to be the best website header, she obviously works hard really to make it all great. So, bottom line, to stand out from the crowd—no easy trick—save you money and get a really good cover designer and edit, edit, edit… oh, yeah, and while you’re at it, it helps to write a good book. 
If you need a couple of good designers, email me:

Tom Turner

A native New Englander, Tom Turner ran a bar in Vermont after college, then moved to New York and spent time as an award-winning copywriter at several Manhattan advertising agencies.

After years of post-Mad Men life, he made a radical change and got a job in commercial real estate. A few years later he ended up in Palm Beach, buying, renovating and selling houses. On the side, he wrote Palm Beach Nasty, its sequel, Palm Beach Poison, and a screenplay, Underwater.

While at a wedding, he fell for the charm of Charleston, South Carolina, and moved there. He recently completed his third novel entitled, Killing Time in Charleston.

Tom asked why there isn't a sexy babe on Never Say My Name. 

The answer is because "Never Say My Name" is a short story that acts as a prequel to In Name Only. I wanted it to look different so readers wouldn't think--even though it actually says in the description it is a short story--that they were getting a full novel.

The lead characters in my books all smiled when I told them Tom thinks they're sexy babes. Gabe, Jake, and Dave, however. . . .

I'll be back here on Monday, June 5, with a big surprise. Don't miss it!


I'll drink to that.
Tom's right a good cover matters. I won't look twice at a cover that's not great. Fortunately, I've been very pleased with the covers of my books.
Bloody Mary? Good, chilly morning here. That would be great.

So true about covers and yeah, a poorly done (homemade-look) cover will turn me away because I automatically think the insides haven't been edited or proof, which I discovered it true (most of the time) over the years.
Bish Denham said…
I'll take a pina colada, please. Sad but true, covers do matter. And standing out is so difficult when so many covers are starting to look the same.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
A glass of Merlot, please.

Stock photo cover images are usually obvious. One's cover needs to be unique. I've seen too many covers using the same images.
Carol Kilgore said…
Alex - Same here, Alex.

H.R. - One Bloody Mary, coming right up! I agree.

Bish - We want to stand out in a good way. Here's your Pina Colada :)

Diane - There are a couple of stock photos that I see several times a year, year after year. Makes me a little crazy :)
Yay for Tom. We can and do judge not only books but everything by its cover. I once had (and won) an argument with my doctor on just that point. First impressions matter.
Where books are concerned my cover judging is much more likely to turn me away than attract me. )by which I mean a bad cover often means I never even pick the book up to explore further)
Great news, I will pass on a bloody mary though
Carol Kilgore said…
EC - Exactly. So important.

Jo-Anne - I'll give you a raincheck :)
Mason Canyon said…
A glass of chilled wine sounds good right now. Congrats to Tom and his great advice about book covers. The cover is what catches your attention first.

Hi, Carol :)
It's too early for booze, but I'd love a tall glass of peach iced tea. :)

I agree with Tom 100%. I think a good cover is very important, and top-notch editing is even MORE important. If we want to be taken seriously as writers, it's imperative that we deliver a professional product.

Looking forward to your trilogy!

Carol Kilgore said…
Mason - Here you go...chilled house white. It's about wine o'clock here right now, too :)

Susan - Peach iced tea, coming right up! True on both counts.
Jemi Fraser said…
Totally agree! Covers are so important - and I love both Tom's and Carol's! :)
Crystal Collier said…
Without a good cover you'll never get a second look. A good cover is worth every cent or drop of sweat put into it.
LD Masterson said…
Sadly, just water with lemon for me.

Speaking of covers, I don't read a lot of straight romance but for eye candy covers, they've got other genre beat. *fans self* I always stroll past the romance section on my way to the mysteries.

Will your newsletter signup thingy tell me if I've already signed up? I think I have.
Lynda R Young said…
Having a good cover is so so important.
Carol Kilgore said…
Jemi - Thanks, Jemi ♥

Crystal - Yes!

Linda - You got it! Must stay hydrated. All ranges of heat on those romance covers. Lots of eye candy, too :)

Lynda - So true.
VR Barkowski said…
Ooh, free drinks! It’s still early, so I’ll take a white wine spritzer or an IPA‚ whichever is most convenient.

I agree with Tom, although covers don’t have the impact on my buying behavior they once did. These days I have to read digital because of a shelf shortage. I’m not sure I’d even recognize the covers on the last half dozen books I read. it's usually the author or the blurb that captures my dollar.
Carol Kilgore said…
VR - One white wine spritzer, coming right up! I've been reading pretty much digital only for several years. Covers still impact my decision. I'll buy for story and recommendation over cover, but if the cover is bad, I definitely look inside and read carefully before purchasing. Or even before downloading for free or at a reduced price.
Carol Kilgore said…
Linda AGAIN - I forgot to say earlier that my signup thingie is supposed to let you know you already signed up. Just in case, I checked, and you're there. Thank you ♥
Lexa Cain said…
Tom is oh-so-right. Covers are everything, but it's hard to come up with the money... Yes, Carol, your colorful header and covers are terrific!
DMS said…
Tom really does have fantastic covers! Worth all the money if you ask me. I know I judge books by their covers all the time! Thanks for sharing! Great guest post. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Lexa - One of the things I've learned is it's important to find the best cover designer you can afford. HOWEVER, it's equally important that you like that designer's work, as displayed on his/her site. If you don't, find someone else. I'm glad you like mine :) I like yours, too.

Jess - Guilty here, too :)

Drinks? Caramel flavored coffee.
We always judge a book by its cover...even though they say not to!
With books flooding the market everyday, it's probably more important than ever to make sure your cover stands out.
Carol Kilgore said…
Michelle - Oh, yum. I think I'll have one, too! Waving back :)
I clicked the big blue button and am still waiting patiently for my sporadic newsletter. All in good time!

A good cover really does go a long way in showing that you're a professional. And since we write a lot of books, we just invested the time in learning how to do it (right) ourselves. Saves us a TON of money, and ends up looking better because we have complete creative control. The one time we commissioned artwork for someone from a cover, and it did NOT look anything like what we requested.

So never again.
Carol Kilgore said…
Beer - LOL! I told you it would be sporadic :) HOWEVER! This week, next at the latest. IS coming!

Since you guys do graphic stories, it makes total sense to also do your covers. Very smart, indeed.
Hi Carol, May I have a Kahlua Coconut Frozen Hot Chocolate to go? I'd like to savor it, as I walk along the beach. Looking forward to your newsletter, and learning more about your trilogy! I agree about the importance of having an enticing book cover.

Murees Dupé said…
Good luck with the trilogy. I know you will whip it into shape, no worries there.

Great advice Tom.
Carol Kilgore said…
Julie - I had to find someone who knew how to make your drink. I searched and finally found him all the way down at the other end of the beach surf fishing. It will be ready in a few minutes. Thanks for signing up!

Murees - Thanks! It's been a lot of work, but we're almost there.
Jennifer Shirk said…
So true!! A good cover makes a HUGE difference! Yours look great.
Kelly Steel said…
Yes, a good cover makes a huge difference.
Carol Kilgore said…
Jennifer and Kelly - Totally agree. Good designers are priceless.
Mark Noce said…
Fascinating to hear about his experiences with covers in both the published and self-published sphere. Very cool:)
Carol Kilgore said…
Mark - I thought so, too!