Guest Post: What’s in a Cover by Julie Ann Walker + Giveaway

What’s up, all you romantic suspense junkies out there? Julie Ann Walker here, tickled pink to be joining you today, and talking about those smokin’ hot covers we all love to drool over on the shelves of our local bookstore, or on the screens of our favorite e-Readers.

Now, it’s said you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But, hey, I can’t be the only one who’ll buy a novel based solely on the bad-ass hunk on the front, now can I? And publishers know this, they depend on it, in fact. So today, for you, I’m pulling back the curtain on my own covers. Letting you in on the secrets — and the thinking — that goes into making a book “shelf-ready.”

Here’s how it will work. In the first cover of each set, you’ll see where my publisher started. And what will follow will be a shortened version of the round-robin, quick-fire questions that resulted in the final product. So, without further ado, I give you some covers for Black Knights Inc

In Rides Trouble covers

Q: Does this cover look a bit dark and dreary to anyone else? We want readers to skid to a stop when they see this on the shelf.
A:  Hmm. Maybe we can punch up the color. Make the title pop!

Q: Does the placement of that knife look dangerous, or is it just me?
A: Hell yeah it looks dangerous! If he squats the wrong way, he’s liable to slice into his femoral artery or cut off something much more important! *snicker*

Q: This series plays up the motorcycles, right? So, why the heck can’t we see the danged bike?
A:  Let’s move the cycle up. More bike and less city!

Q: Does this guy look just a bit too polished? I mean, he is supposed to be masquerading as a motorcycle mechanic, after all.
A:  Let’s dirty up his T-shirt a bit. Make him a grittier!

Rev It Up covers

Q:  Do we really like this red background? I thought we decided to go for a color scheme that was a little more neon?
A:  Let’s do a blue background with hot pink lettering!

Q:  Anybody else think the city is too distracting? We don’t want anything taking attention away from the handsome hunk!
A:  Let’s push it back, and off to the side! Let the hunka-hunka-burnin’-love shine!

Q:  What’s with the dead tree branch in the upper right-hand corner? It makes this look like a dystopian novel.
A:  Gone!

Q:  I don’t know about those tattoos. Romance readers tend to equate tattoos with a paranormal series, and this is romantic suspense.
A:  Gone and gone! *sad face* <– (That was my sad face, by the way. I love me some kickass tattoos!)

Thrill Ride covers

Q:  Does that lettering in the title match the lettering in the other books in the series?
A:  Nope. It’s a bit different. Let’s change it for consistency’s sake.

Q:  Once again, is that big building in the background taking too much away from the delicious piece of manliness?
A:  Perhaps, let’s nix it. Manliness for the win!

Q:  This cover is vastly different than the previous covers. Don’t we want people to recognize “the brand?” Shouldn’t be try to keep the covers the same?
A:  Let’s see what we could do to make the cover better match the previous covers. Oh, yes! Just look at those abs! *MEOW!* <– (Again, that was MY meow.)

And there you have it, folks! How a book cover goes from point A to point B. Now, I want to hear from you. Did my publisher make the right decisions? Or would you have kept some of the original concepts?

Thanks to Spencer for having me on today. It’s been a blast!

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. Look for the first three books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels(August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) and Rev It Up (October 2012).  Thrill Ride debuts April 2nd, 2013. For more information, please visit or follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.


Thrill Ride giveawayThank you, Julie, for joining me here today.

But wait, there’s more! The wonderful Julie is offering one lucky reader a signed ARC copy of Thrill Ride (which releases on 4/2)! All you have to do is leave a comment telling us which of the Black Knight covers you prefer — the original or final copy. I’ll choose a winner on Monday, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won!

Thrill Ride giveaway winner #UPDATE: Congrats, Danny! Please go to my contact page and send me your address to claim your signed ARC of Thrill Ride!

88 thoughts on “Guest Post: What’s in a Cover by Julie Ann Walker + Giveaway

  1. Edith Torres says:

    Loved the covers, they were spot on! Loved that you made them pop so’s to stand out. Your first with the knife in his belt that way, not so much. That all the males were standing was very good!

  2. Kristin says:

    I am liking the new covers. I agree with the first two but I’m sad to see the second one change. I agree with the buildings in the background but I liked him straddling the bike. LoL

  3. Valerie says:

    I like the final covers for Rev and Trouble, but for Thrill I like both covers (except agree the bldg in the original is a slight distraction).

    Your publisher sure has a rough job culling through all of the layouts and poses. ;)

  4. lisa w says:

    Overall I like the new covers better, esp for in Rides Trouble. The new coloring for rev it up is great, but I kinda miss the tats.

  5. Deb_B_Me says:

    I like the final cover coz it stands out more on “In Rides Trouble”, the final cover on “Rev It Up” which I just read & gave you 5 stars on Goodreads :) and the original cover with the hot guy sitting on the bike on “Thrill Ride”. However, they all are great I just like the brighter colors that stand out more :)

  6. Wendy says:

    I have to admit…I really liked the Orig cover for Thrill Ride. Well really only because I could see his face. I really LOVED that. Plus you could see the big beautiful bike more.

    I love how you guys critique back and forth. What a great collaboration!!! Looking forward to some more of the Knights for sure!!!!!!

  7. Ruthie Haldi says:

    I prefer the final cover on In Rides Trouble, however, I love love love an inked up hotty so I kinda like the first cover for Rev It Up, and something about that hunk leaning on his bike makes me wish for the first cover of Thrill Ride, but the stories themselves make the boys on the cover look good!

  8. Raonaid Luckwell says:

    Personally I would have kept the tattoos on the second cover – but that is just me. I don’t associate tatts with paranormal. Tattoos are a common occurrence now a days…

    And being raised by a biker and being around his biker friends, tattoos are common with bikers (my dad being the exception. He said they were fake battle scars)

    Wish on the last cover his hair was longer, love long hair… But overall.. Glad you pushed for more motorcycle being seen. But can’t wait for Rock’s book (feels odd saying that since my one year old puppy’s name is Rock and my SON named him. LOL)

    Can’t wait for Ozzie and his reindition of Paradise by Paradise Light. It’s on my ipod and waiting for him! LOL

  9. PA DePaul says:

    I love your covers! I have to say for In Rides Trouble I like the final, but for Rev It Up I’m mixed on-I like the picture of the man with the tattoo but the colors of the final. On Thrill Ride I like the original best.

    PS. I second Brian’s post–I too offer to be there during the photo shoot to…ah…assist! :)

  10. Elizabeth H. says:

    I love Rev It Up’s original cover the best! I thought it was interesting that it was said that romance readers equate tattoos on covers to paranormal romance. I don’t think that at all. I love the tats and the red cover on this guy! Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win!!

  11. Delaine McLafferty says:

    I really like the cover with him sitting on the bike. It just grabs your eyes but I think the hair is a little short and a hint of a tatoo would be great. I love the abs on the other one but side by side but it doesn’t catch you eyes as well. Love these books can’t wait for new one in April.

  12. Michelle Proietti says:

    I love all the covers for these books, new and old. I love whats inside even more :P. But I’m a sucker for tattoos so if I had to pick a favourite it would be the original Rev It Up cover. That being said on the original for Thrill Ride he does look good on that motorcycle.

  13. Lori P says:

    In the end your book covers are great, but I’m so missing the tatoos and who doesn’t love a man leaning over the front of his motorcycle?

    • Julie Ann Walker says:

      And there you go. As soon as I’m convince we should’ve left the original cover for REV IT UP, tattoos and all, I hear someone say they’re happier without them. Hmmm. What shall my publisher do for my next cover? Decisions, decisions…. :-)

  14. Jamie Bailey says:

    In Rides Trouble- I love the final Copy
    Rev It Up- You cant go wrong with the sexy tats! Leaves the other kind of plain.
    Thrill Ride- Wow! Toss Up!
    Can’t wait to Read it!!!!!!

  15. Brenda Crider says:

    The Black Knights Inc. is one of my all-time favorite series!!!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these books. Unfortunately my copy of In Rides Trouble got stolen with my purse! The officer could not understand why I was more upset losing that book over my black coach purse…are you kidding me!!!!!
    Anyway…fantastic covers for fantastic books!!!!!

    • Julie Ann Walker says:

      Dang thieves! I had my wallet stolen last year, and more than the $200 in cash the culprit made off with I was pissed about the headache of having to cancel and replace credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards, driver’s license etc. So, I feel your pain, Brenda!

      On a happier note. I’m so glad you’re enjoying BKI. Those boys and girls sure are fun to write about!

  16. Cindy O says:

    I love all the final covers – except………………………. Thrill Ride. The others it was just “props” that were changed but for Thrill that’s a drastic difference. I guess I should say its the guy that I like the best on the original Thrill… Looking forward to this book!!!!

  17. Julie Ann Walker says:

    Yeah, it was a drastic change. And while I like both covers, I can understand my publisher wanting to make sure to remain true to “the brand.” There are always so many factors to consider… I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to worry about it. I just get to have fun writing the books! LOL!

  18. Susan T. says:

    Love the final covers n In Rides Trouble and Thrill Ride. I love the original on Rev It Up. Maybe next book will have alpha male with tattoos, a girl can hope.

  19. Kandice Simmons says:

    I love the new covers, but I so wish you would have left the tats in place on Rev It Up! They were sexy!! Glad you changed the guy on Thrill Ride….he looked kinda depressed on the first cover, but very hot on the final cover!

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