BLUEPRINTS by Barbara Delinsky

If you’re reading this blog, you’re currently looking at the cover of my new book, BLUEPRINTS, which debuts this coming June. What do you think? Does the cover draw you in?

This isn’t an idle question. It’s one that my publisher and I have been asking ourselves since this cover became “the one.” We think it works. But then, we’ve already read the book. You all won’t have read it when you spot the book on sale next June. So will this cover lure you to buy?

In life we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what we do when it comes to our reading. The cover sends a message about what’s inside. In that sense, it’s a crucial marketing tool. I’m lucky. My publisher thinks enough of my work to put thought and effort into my covers. Take BLUEPRINTS. We went through numerous renderings of the cover before reaching the one you see here. Along the way, a great deal of time and thought went into not only the BLUEPRINTS storyline, but the fact that the book is coming out in June for summer reading and that the cover of its predecessor, SWEET SALT AIR, was phenomenally successful.

But wait. Let’s back up a little. Readers often assume that the author picks the cover and presents it to the publisher along with the finished manuscript. Nope. I have a say in the final choice, but the cover is the responsibility of my publisher’s art department. As I said above, the cover is a marketing tool, and the folks in the art department are expert marketers. I am not. A case in point was the cover of my non-fiction breast cancer book, UPLIFT. When I first sold it to my publisher, I had very specific ideas of what its cover should be. I wanted something bold and strong and not afraid, since that was what the book was about. I wanted red. That’s bold and strong and not afraid, right? Well, they gave me red, and it looked like blood. After that, I shut my mouth, backed off, and let them do their job.

Their job entails finding a cover that will stand out on the shelves. Sometimes covers come from stock photos – photos that are already in existence and for which the publisher pays a nominal fee. Anything more than nominal, and they’d be just as well creating art for the cover themselves, by hiring either an artist or a photographer. Mind you, stock covers can be beautiful. Unfortunately, if the publisher doesn’t pay for exclusive rights to a photo, it can also appear on the cover of another book. This happened with the trade paperback cover of my book, COAST ROAD. I adored that cover until I saw it several months after the publication of my book on the cover of a competing author’s book.


In the case of BLUEPRINTS, the creative director of the art department listened attentively to my editor as she described the book, then overrode all preconceptions of what a Delinsky cover should be and devised the current one. It is entirely different from those earlier versions. Actually, it’s entirely different from the look that many other summer reads will have. I love this about it. I love the coral cover, which suggests feminine without being girly-girly. I love that the title is hand-drawn, while my name is in the same typeface as it was on SWEET SALT AIR. I love the overall mood here, which is both soothing and suggestive. I love that the in-progress painting job and the roll of blueprints against the ladder suggest the content of the book.

So let’s discuss that content. One of my characters is an architect, hence the blueprints. Home renovation is a backdrop of the book, hence the ladder and paint job. This is a mother-daughter story; does it bother you that there’s no hint of that on the cover? There are also two amazingly hot and heart-filled love stories in the book, but no hint of these either. Should there be? The cover of SWEET SALT AIR was scenic. One of the earlier renditions of the BLUEPRINTS cover was scenic as well. Personally, I felt that a scenic look didn’t work with the title, while this one does.

Naturally, the book cover can’t capture everything. And the front cover blurb covers a multitude of omissions.  AND there may be a problem if one of the major account buyers says that he or she hates this cover and will buy far fewer copies of the book if this cover is used. That happened to me with the cover of NOT MY DAUGHTER, in which case my publisher ditched what I thought was a gorgeous and different cover to go with the more trendy girlfriend look.  That’s the original on the top and the final beneath it.

Not My Daughter cover                    Not My Daughter.10.8.b

All that aside, I happen to think my BLUEPRINTS cover is a winner. What’s your opinion? Yes? No? Maybe?