How we got a cover for BLUEPRINTS


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?

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  1. Diane Oliver on December 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I love your writing so much… that the cover could be solid white with black title and author and I would still buy it. You and your writing are the draw, the reason I buy your books. Haven’t missed one in years and years and years.

  2. Wynema Mott on December 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks so much for knowning I can always count on you to write a good book. I also have 2 immune disease, CIDP and Addisond disease. Reading is my excape.

  3. Wynema Mott on December 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Sweet Salt Air was great.

    • Anna Saul on December 21, 2014 at 1:24 am

      I like the cover but as everyone else has said I read all your books, so would buy it anyway. But if it was an a new author to me I think the cover definitely would have an impact as to whether I looked into buying or not

  4. Marilyn Barker on December 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Seeing your name on a book would draw me to your book. But this picture would draw me to your name.

  5. Kortney on December 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    love the cover

  6. Judy Jackson on December 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    It didn’t grab me the first time I saw it onFB. Now that I have read your explanation, I get it and it’s beginning to grow on me. I would read anything you wrote, even if it came in a plain brown wrapper!

  7. Pat on December 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    While I adore your books I’m not in love with the cover, love all the others shown. If I were to choose a book by the cover not knowing the author I probably wouldn’t purchase it.

  8. Pamela Johnson on December 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I think it is a great cover. And I will be interested in looking between the covers.

  9. Kathleen O on December 21, 2014 at 11:09 am

    There has not been a book of yours that I have not liked.. and I am looking forward to reading Blueprint…

  10. Donna on December 24, 2014 at 6:30 am

    if I had never read a BARBARA DELINSKY book the cover would matter but I’ve read everything you’ve written so the cover does not matter except it has your name on it. I know it’s a marketing tool but your work is the best marketing tool to me.

  11. Jody Keleske on January 2, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    What an informative blog you’ve given us about book covers. Reading is joyous learning, and you’ve given me that many times over. In the question of a cover drawing me in or not, I would have to say only to a small degree, perhaps not more than 30%. The draw for me first and foremost is the author. I read so very much that I’ve come to know who will give me the novel that inspires me to forget sleep because I need “just one more chapter.” I am more likely to scrutinize a cover, front and back, read a page or two (or in the case of books read the reviews), before I purchase a new (to me) author’s works. Your work is a given; I haven’t missed one yet. Thank you for your fine work. Lovely artistry.

  12. Susan Ratcliff on January 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    It would make me pick up the book and look at the back to see what it is about… but just seeing your name does that to. I love your books

  13. BRIDGET on January 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    When I’m shopping for books, I always go to the authors that I read all of the time. It doesn’t matter what the cover looks like, they are the ones that I buy. However, if I’m browsing to find someone new to add to my list, the cover will definitely play a part in my picking up the book to at least see if it is something that I would like.
    I’ve read all of your books and they are great!! Thanks for such wonderful writing!!

  14. Marie Mason on February 19, 2015 at 1:06 am

    I like the cover, it by itself would make me pick up the book to see what it was about. That and the title. If I had never read anything by you. But, as I have been a fan for many, many years, I anxiously await your new publications each & every time! You are one of my very favorite authors and I thank you for all the reading pleasure you have given me.

  15. Sasha Williams on February 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Love the cover…but I don’t think the cover matters so long as your name is on it.

  16. Eve Tutty on March 5, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I love the new cover but it could be just dots and I would buy it.Your book topics are always so different and make a person think.I wait always to find out what the next will be about..I thank you for the books past and in advance the books of the future.

  17. Carla Percia on March 8, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I really like the cover. It’s soft, enticing, and suits the title.

  18. Lynn on March 11, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Well, if I am totally honest, this particular cover would not have made me pick up the book if it were by a different author. Sorry. However, as many other have already stated, just the fact that your name is on it, DEFINITELY would have! I have not read one of your books that I have not absolutely loved and I have read approximately 30 of them. I cannot wait to read this latest one. If we go back to the cover, however, it is really just a personal preference. I naturally tend to gravitate towards books whose covers look like the story is going to be about a beach, a lake, summer, etc. which a good majority of yours happen to have 🙂 Thank you for continuing to write such amazing books!!

  19. Gail Wald on March 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

    The cover for Blueprints is perfect.. The color is soft and the simplicity of it says everything that it should about the book. All of your books are the best and I can’t wait to read this one in June…

  20. Donna Barkley Fleming on March 16, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Barbara thank you for some great novel along my lifes path. I am a published author now myself and choosing the cover art was a huge challenge. Your name will bring you lots of readers who know your work, but that cover art would not entice me to pick it up unless I knew your work. I am a mother who has a very competitive daughter so this is a great pull for me and it has nothing to do with a pale wall and a ladder. You have so much more experience than I do, but I am a voracious reader. I have also sold books. Change that cover art.

  21. Elizabeth on May 25, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Having just finished reading the ARC, I think the cover is excellent for conveying the book’s topic. I almost always choose books based on the cover, if I don’t know the author, and I would pick this up for sure, although I’ve been reading your books for about 15 years. Personally I’d like stronger colors, but the actual picture is wonderful.

  22. Elizabeth on May 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I am hoping you can tell me how many books you have written total in your career and when the first was published. I’d like the info for the review I am writing of Blueprints.

    • Barbara Delinsky on May 26, 2015 at 5:54 am

      It’s 21 New York Times Bestsellers, Elizabeth, plus another 60 prior to those. Thanks so much for your comments here and for reviewing BLUEPRINTS!

    • Barbara Delinsky on May 26, 2015 at 5:56 am

      Oh, and I wrote the first in 1981!

  23. Rita Jones on May 25, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I’m not in love with the cover, but I think the new book sounds wonderful!

    • Barbara Delinsky on May 26, 2016 at 4:58 am

      Have you seen the NEW cover, Rita? This one is for the hardcover edition that came out last June, but it you check out my BOOKS page, you’ll see the trade paperback that’s coming out next Tuesday (5/31). Its cover is entirely different and really, really pretty!

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