Beyond the Book: the Cover that Never Was

 

Today, book 1 of the Billionaire Bad Boys series turns THREE years old!

Yep, THREE! This book has since given birth to two follow-up print books as well as a special Epilogue Christmas book that is an e-exclusive. Our beloved billionaire has also received the Chapters treatment, becoming an interactive game in an animated choose-your-own adventure format.

That’s pretty special.

And because Reese Crane remains one of my most special heroes, I wanted to share a beyond the book that was as special as he is. (Do you hear that Crane? You remain in my heart big time even though you made me work really hard to get to know you!). Today’s Beyond the Book features a never-before-shared secret…

The Billionaire Bachelor’s cover used to look very, very different.

Before we talk about the differences, let me first sing the praises of Grand Central/Forever’s art department. As a gal with a graphic design degree I know how hard it can be to come up with a concept. I understand that creating a visual idea from words or comp covers can be hugely challenging. In fact, as you look at the original cover you may think to yourself, “There’s nothing wrong with it.”

You know what?

You’d be right. The choice of cover was always about whether or not the cover was right for the character. Before I dig into what made me ask the lovely, incredible art department to change their beauty, let’s take a look at a side-by-side (or one-above-the-other if you’re on your cell phone) comparison:

the original cover draft

the original cover draft

the final cover

the final cover

They’re almost identical, right? So what’s the big deal? Is Jessica just a diva who must have her way? Or is there more behind the reasoning for asking the art department tweak their already beautiful cover?

There was a very good reason and it can be summed up in once sentence:

Reese isn’t that happy.

For our sakes, let’s call the yellow title/blue suit Cover A and the pink title/dark suit Cover B.

Cover A features a guy who has a secret. His smirk suggests he’s hiding something and has a lot of fun personality to unpack. There’s a lot about this cover to love. Like the city in the background, the watch (yummy), the idea of the suited hero dominating the cover. But I also knew our portrayed hero wasn’t quite right for the Reese in my manuscript. What to do?

I humbly suggested changes with the utmost respect. (Artists work incredibly hard and I would never undermine their hard work! If you leave a comment, please be respectful of the creators involved and keep it positive!)


Here are the suggestions I made:

1) Let’s change his face. A big ask, right?! His whole face? But I need that “I have a secret” look to be a touch more tortured, not a happy one. (“Happy” belongs to hero Tag in book 2.)

THE RESULT: I sent in an example of who would make a great Reese Crane and they used the stock art model’s head for the cover. Ingenious! Admittedly, when I wrote the draft of The Billionaire Bachelor, Reese was always clean-shaven. But I loved the look of his rugged scruff so much that I wrote it into the book. In fact, it’s the one part of Reese that “can’t be tamed” and Merina is repeatedly bothered but just how intrigued she is by his facial hair.

2) Let’s streamline the suit. Something about Cover A wasn’t quite hitting the mark for me in the billionaire department. The suit was a touch baggy and rumpled. I felt that a slimmed-down version of the suit conveyed wealth and sophistication.

THE RESULT: They nailed it! How amazing is that slimmed-down version?! Especially paired with Reese’s oh-so-serious expression.

3) Let’s change the cover title to pink. This suggestion wasn’t exactly mine. My editor left the publisher right before we edited this book together, but she mentioned her idea for a pink cover. Reason being, the first books in my other two series with Grand Central/Forever were pink. It’d become a Lemmon calling card! I loved that idea and mentioned it to my current editor. Again, nothing wrong with the yellow (hello, lemon-yellow!), but we had something different in mind at the inception of this series.

THE RESULT: Perfection. The change of the pink ushered in a change of background (no worries, that original background showed up on The Bastard Billionaire!) and a change in his wardrobe. P.S., that might just be the most gorgeous suit & tie I’ve ever seen!

 

The entire treatment of this cover and handling of the process has been a completely unique experience for me. Sometimes I make requests and they’re heard, but other times, the publisher goes another direction. Whenever I see The Billionaire Bachelor I smile.

This one was a true collaboration between art and author and it is to date, one of my most favorite covers.

Have you read the entire series?


Thanks for reading!

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