Cover makeover: Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles

“Tales” is a three novella anthology in the Gunpowder Chronicles world which released in 2019. I originally requested an “object” cover since it was an anthology and the cover that Deranged Doctor Design came up with was amazing. There’s a library with a scroll and an opium-looking pipe with a dragon design. Steampunk-y gears in the background and the whole thing was awash in gold. :

Original cover: Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles- library with desk and scroll with red ribbon

Despite getting everything that I asked for and more, I didn’t feel as overwhelmed as I had when I saw the previous covers. After spending some time watching the reader response and sales, I could sense that there was a similar lack of enthusiasm. Beautiful cover, but wasn’t quite drawing readers in.

Undaunted, I thought — alright, let’s try a 3D box set so readers know they’re getting three stories in one volume.

3D Box set: Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles cover with library and scroll + 3 spines showing in the box: Big Trouble in Old Shanghai, Island of the Opium Eaters, Love in the Time of Engines

Then a little research and word on the street showed that other fantasy authors had been through this as well and overwhelmingly preferred “character” covers to object covers. Lesson learned!

I didn’t have much time to test out the 3D cover because I had already enlisted DDD to re-vamp the cover. I provided some character details and sample models and suggested that multiple heroines could be depicted on the cover. The concept design they came up with was AMAZING. Look at those costumes — they were not a part of the original model photos.

Mockup version of cover: Two heroines with Chinese courtyard in background and gears in sky. Girl with glasses holding book on left, girl in armor with weapons looking down on right

I was just in LOVE with the girl with the glasses. Isn’t she awesome? And they have her holding a book too — my little geek heart was going pitter-patter. I thought she was a perfect depiction of studious Anlei in “Love in the Time of Engines”.

I loved this cover as well. The colors, the mood. That backdrop is amazing with the Chinese courtyard and the gears above it. But the two ladies might imply a sapphic story, and I didn’t want to confuse readers.

It seemed other authors were also wrestling with how to depict anthologies as some vendors prefer or even require 2D covers. So I requested that the designer move to a triptych design and the final design, once again, blew me away.

Final version of cover: Three heroines in three color bands, blue, orange, green. Girl in suit with weapons, girl with glasses holding book, girl in leather with two knives.

The cover totally reminds me of a superhero movie poster. I call it my girl power cover. It depicts three different stories with three very different heroines.

I might play with a 3D box version of this cover, but for now I’m going to try this makeover out and see if it makes people stop and click.

The Princess Shanyin historical erotica series makeover

My historical erotica series written under not-so-secret pen name, Liliana Lee, has a whole new look. A poll was sent out in the monthly newsletter and readers overwhelmingly preferred the “person on the cover” look vs. the “object cover” design. With the new look, I’m hoping the rebranding will appeal to literary erotica readers (of which I’ve always been one.)

The Princess Shanyin Series

A scorching saga of power and desire, inspired by the true story of an imperial princess famous for keeping a harem of thirty male concubines.

The Complete Obsession Saga

Princess Shanyin was my first independently published series over six years ago. The previous covers looked very similar to steamy and erotic titles at the time they were released. I used to read Black Lace books and I was thinking of the dark, moody, and sensual look of those covers. I’m hoping this new look speaks to the emotional journey of Princess Shanyin as well as the historical and intrigue elements that are also woven into the erotic plotline — Black Lace meets C-drama, if you will.

The books are currently available exclusively on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited for the next three months.

There’s also a new mini-short story in the Shanyin series to celebrate the rebranding. Sign-up for the Jeannie Lin/Liliana Lee e-mail list here and you’ll receive the short story “One Night in the Princess’ Harem”.

Cover: One Night in the Princess' Harem: Free short story. Historical erotica