Cover Art

The going statement is that writers have absolutely no say over what goes on their covers, but my publisher did ask me to send some images that I thought might be useful for the covers, though they already had many images in mind. I wish I was more artistic! I sent a couple of images that have inspired me in terms of the period and clothing but now I’m wondering if I should have sent more in the way of setting and location? Then again, I was a afraid of sending too much since they have an art department that thinks about these things and I’m so not a graphic artsy person that I didn’t want to mess with it.

Of course there’s the swordwoman in red that I use as my avatar. I’ve always loved that since my heroine starts and ends the book wearing a red wedding dress. It’s also very flowing and dramatic.


There are a couple of other artists I found on deviantart whose style I quite like.

schumy330’s work captures the ethereal quality of Tang dynasty costumes. Her portraits are so fresh and innocent.

Feimo is a bit edgier and more seductive

I’m quite excited to find out what the covers will look like. It has me quite giddy. That also means that soon, hopefully soon, I will have definitive news of a release date. 🙂


  1. Dara
    Feb 08, 2010 @ 10:25:47

    Those are lovely! I really like the last one, but the first one is amazing too!

  2. Jeannie Lin
    Feb 08, 2010 @ 16:01:36

    Dara – The last artist is probably edgier than what the other covers in the line I write for look like, but I do like his work. DeviantArt is yet another one of my online timesucks.

  3. Dara
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 09:28:18

    Same here! I have a whole file on my computer devoted to artists’ take on the Yuki-onna. There are some that a little, well, more risque than what I viewed her as, but there are lots that are simply beautiful.

    I’m sure your cover will look fantastic–I’m really looking forward to when you announce your release date!

  4. Victoria Dixon
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 11:55:57

    Jeannie, if I had my vote, I’d go for the first picture or something very similar. To me, it’s edgier than the others, but you have a romance with a kickass heroine, so edgy may not be what they’re looking for. It does tie in with your online image nicely. That’s a bonus. Graphically speaking, you want something striking that pulls the eye into the cover. Designs that draw the eye into a circle or spiral (which never end) are always good bets. Have you seen the cover for Guy Gavriel Kay’s new book? It’s the Tang Dynasty horse statue you’ve doubtlessly seen. It’s quite beautiful, but more static than what you would want. But it does use a photo rather than artwork. Just kinda thinking outloud at you. 🙂 Good luck with it and I envy you the fact they’re letting you have input! Let us know what the decision is!

  5. Jax Cassidy
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 17:46:21

    I can’t wait to see the cover they give you. I think the images you chose are awesome. I especially like your avatar and Feimo’s seductive image…I totally dig it.

  6. Jeannie Lin
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 04:43:35

    Victoria – I haven’t seen Guy Gavriel Kay’s cover yet. I’m eagerly anticipating that release and reading Tigana now just to get a taste of him. It’s been a great plunge back into epic fantasy.

    I love my sword girl in red. I found that picture before I ever wrote a single word of Butterfly Swords and used it in a collage to inspire myself (Candace Havens suggests it as part of her Fast Draft process). It’s just me, but I’m really hoping for a sword on the cover. LOL

  7. Jeannie Lin
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 04:45:41

    Jax – Feimo has a picture on deviantArt that totally reminds me of a character in my follow-up book (uncontracted). He doesn’t necessarily look just right, too young and pretty, but the attitude is spot on. The spirit of the picture is perfect! I’d buy it if a print was available. *sigh*

  8. Victoria Dixon
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 06:18:01

    Yeah, you were right. I should have put the cover for “Under Heaven” on my blog and have done so now. You can go see it, but I haven’t done a new entry so you’ll have to scroll down.

    I like the idea of a sword! Maybe with a tiny blood spray or some hint of motion? Hee hee. Blood thirsty wench that I am.

  9. Jeannie Lin
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 16:36:15

    Oh, lovely! I like it the Under Heaven cover. Horses were very important to the Tang Dynasty and a sign of the ties to the people of the northwest. I’m really eager to read GGK’s book, though I’m afraid it’s going to throw me into a depression like when I read Lisa See.

    Now blood spray isn’t exactly romantic. 🙂 But it might lure a male audience. I’m hoping I have a cover that the fanboys (and girls) of wuxiasociety won’t balk at.

  10. Victoria Dixon
    Feb 11, 2010 @ 22:00:03

    Hmmm. Just talked with the hubby and I showed him your pics – he is a graphic artist and can appreciate how they manipulated the photo in ways I can’t. I mentioned your sword vs. swordwomen2 cover and we both think your swordmen2 (or something very similar) would be a strong cover. If you could either get the publisher to reproduce a similar effect or pay to use that picture and have the background removed, you might consider it.

    I also got depressed after reading “Snowflower,” but “Under Heaven” hasn’t done that thus far. Granted, I’m only 1/4 of the way through. LOL I could end up wanting to burn the book in a fit of jealousy, but it’s thus far made me think in several directions, all of them good. 🙂

  11. Jeannie Lin
    Feb 12, 2010 @ 09:38:47

    I’m lucky that the publisher has a good art department. That being said, I’m fortunate that they asked for input on the cover, but what they come up with may be entirely different. I’m in their hands!

    I did, however, go with the idea that less is more. If I only showed them the one I really want…better chances of getting something close, right? But I’m so not a graphic artist. I’m a word gal. 🙂

    After reading “Peony in Love”, I had that feeling of humility I get when I have to come to terms with the thought that I don’t have a story that beautiful in me. There must be a term for this writer envy.

  12. Victoria Dixon
    Feb 13, 2010 @ 06:35:08

    Yeah, it’s probably called Writer Envy. Sigh. I’m seeing so much in Kay’s book right now that I’d love to implement in mine, but my characters and situation are different and the techniques wouldn’t fit. Nonetheless, I wish I could do this and that, ya know?