Cover Discussion with Laura Wright LaRoche

Hello everyone, Paul here again.  In a recent post I discussed the importance of book covers and whether or not they lead to sales. In case you missed it, you can read it here.  I also would like to take a moment to inform you of the spooky Fangs, Fur & Fey Giveaway Hop that runs October 2-8. We will be giving away a copy of Michael Dahl’s Troll Hunters to one lucky US or Canada resident. Now, I’d like to look a little more at book covers today.  I mentioned Laura Wright LaRoche last time, and I want to share more of our discussion.  I personally found it very interesting and informative and invite your comments as to how you feel at the end.

What kind of covers do you do?

I do photo-manipulation, blending with graphic art and designs.  Using multiple photos, graphics, and personal computer generated designs to create the perfect cover the author envisioned.  I make front covers and full covers in any format needed by the author.

What is the difference between a front cover and a full cover?

A front cover is the image with title and name. What is used for eBooks. The full cover is used for print. It includes the front cover, binding, and back.

How do you decide a cover’s design?

Well, (and this might be a little difficult to explain) but as an artist, author, and photographer, I put myself into their stories and look around at what I see. This might seem difficult to imagine by just reading a few reviews and/or a synopsis, but it’s not. I have a ‘knack’ for feeling the mood, scene, and emotions the author is betraying within their words. All authors write differently, so I approach each one uniquely.

The genre sets the mood of the book (coloring, fonts, and style.)  I go through my stock photos searching for anything that reminds me of the story (this is the most time consuming part of making the covers. I have over 10,000 personal photos. If I don’t find what I’m looking for I will download royalty free photos to fill in the gaps.) Usually I grab about 20 different photos to place in Photoshop at the beginning. I then start cutting and pasting, making changes, throwing out and keeping different pieces and parts until I have digitally created a unique image using various items from several photos.
PhotobucketPhotobucketHow much input does the author have in the design?

The author can have full control or leave it up to me.  The most common cover I make are designs left up to me to create. I love making the covers either way!  I get to create and bring to life the authors imagination!  But when the author knows exactly what they want they send me the basic info of the story, pointing out the elements they would like to see on the cover with a short description of the scene, and what genre category it is. Sometimes they provide pictures and graphics they want to use. If the images are of high quality, I do what I can to make sure I use them. It is important to reflect the authors wishes as best as possible.

When the author leaves the design up to me, the items and information I get varies from author to author.  If the book is already published, I go to the web site and read everything I can.  Reviews are very helpful for a designer.  Next I read the synopsis, and some of the preview chapters provided if needed.  The genre of the book plays a huge role in the design. If the book is not published yet, the author provides some or all of the items listed: synopsis, reviews, key points, character description, genre, etc. . . I use the same insight used with published books.  If the author has a web site, I do visit and read.  You can learn a lot about their stories by reading about the author.  The author’s personality gives you insight to their work. Plus I’m just a curious person who believes you can never learn to much!

What are authors’ main requests for a cover?
1)      Something eye catching that screams “read me!”
2)      That perfect font for my cover design.
3)      Author name at top and title at the bottom.
4)      The title at the top with author name at the bottom. (number 3 & 4 are actually tied)
5)      Props/key items from the story reflected on cover.
6)      Bright/dark covers with lighter lettering.
7)      Main character on the cover.
8)      Something simple, yet professional.
9)      Make it pretty! (yes even male authors say this!)
10)   No visible faces.

Is there anything else you can think of that, in your experience, can enhance a cover to make it incredible and provide that all important favorable first-impression in the marketing/sales process?                       

There are really so many different ways to approach creating or enhancing a cover. First off, make sure the sizing of your cover is presented as a book. Covers are not square, or oblong.  Fonts are extremely important. You can have a beautiful cover with the wrong style of fonts leading the reader to misinterpret your book, and the reader might pass it up.  The title needs to be visible in thumbnail view. Not all covers, even ones I’ve made, do this. Sometimes the author doesn’t want it like that. I advise they should, but I always leave it up to them in the end.  Coloring really sets the mood of a book. These are just examples, but not the rule. (Examples: See images above: Red/black/dark blue: eerie, scary, horror. Pastels and primary colors: childrens, poetry, memoirs. Purple/green/yellow: romance, drama.)
I hope you enjoyed reading about the creation of my covers and helpful suggestions. I have seen so many beautiful to ugly covers on the market. Not all beautiful covers were created by a professional and not all ugly ones were created by an individual. As a mother I pick out the perfect coat to keep my child warm, and as an author I pick out the perfect cover to keep my creation inside.
“In a world of words, anything is possible.”  – Laura Wright LaRoche

Where can people view your work?

My personal site is LLPix Photography and Design.  Click the appropriate tab to look for covers or author products I offer.  My author information and books I have written are also on this site.
How can people contact you?
The best way is by email
Twitter  @WrightLaRoche

Well, that concludes our conversation and I hope you enjoyed it.  I personally found it very informative and learned a lot.  Again, I want to emphasize that your cover is your first-impression maker and should not be overlooked.  It plays a vital role in whether the consumer decides to look at your book and ultimately, buy it.  It tells the consumer of your professionalism and attention to detail.  Do not overlook or cut corners on your book cover.  I hope that you learned something and please, leave a comment telling us what you learned, what you wished you’d learned, or what you have learned in your experience.  I have to go now, I need to see if my book titles are visible in the thumbnail view!  Until next time, keep writing & keep reading!


Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. I loved this post!!
    I am an artist and this taught me so much. I have no ability to use Photoshop–and you look like you have noooo problem. Very cool how just by altering the color you can set the mood for the whole cover.
    Thanks to both of you for this totally interesting post. Much appreciated. 🙂 Penelope

  2. Thanks for stopping by Penelope! I loved what Laura did with the color. It is really fun to see what can be done with a cover. I appreciate your kind words and hope to see you back again soon.

    Paul R. Hewlett

  3. I see such a contrast between the mystery novel and the thriller novel. What a difference color can make!

  4. Hello Cynthia! Thanks for stopping by! I agree, I was amazed the first time I saw that. I really enjoy looking at great book covers, so this was a really fun post & Laura has been fantastic. Have a great day:)

    Paul R. Hewlett

  5. Loved this post. As a visual person the cover speaks to me, maybe even more than the first paragraph.

  6. Thanks so much for the comment and stopping by Suzanne! It’s great to hear feedback. I agree with you that the cover speaks volumes to me. Thanks again, hope to see you back soon:)

    Paul R. Hewlett

  7. Great post. I love how you put visual examples instead of just talking about covers.

  8. Thanks Crystal! I agree the visual effect. It really makes a difference. Great to see you here, hope to see you again soon:)

    Paul R. Hewlett

  9. Interesting interview. I have no artistic talent and appreciate those who do. Hopefully, I will be needing the services of someone like Laura in the near future.

  10. Thanks for the comment Ken! I am going out on a limb and predicting you will need someone like Laura by years end:) It’s great to see you and I hope to see you back soon.

    Paul R. Hewlett

  11. I used to hear ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ till I was in University and realized that book covers were really important, too. They don’t speak about the quality of the writing, but they do embody the publishing house’s style (or lack thereof). Titles and book covers are very important for first-time writers. So glad you hosted a designer this week. It’s been such an interesting read! Thanks for sharing these with us, Laura and Paul.

  12. Hi Claudine! Great to hear from you. I hope all is going well with you. How has the writing been going? Are things back to normal after your trip? I appreciate the comment and hope to see you back soon, if not I’ll see you at Carry Us Off books blog:) Have a great day!

    Paul R. Hewlett

  13. I have to say I’m impressed enough to ask Laura about doing my cover when I get to that point.

  14. Colors on the cover page states what kind of novel it is, i really agree that. In this post you have used same photograph but with different color combination, it changes the entire look of the book and grabs the peoples attention quickly. I loved your post.

  15. Hi Kelly! It’s great to see you here. Thanks for the comment, I agree. When I saw the covers Laura did and the difference the color makes on the same picture, I was amazed. It’s great to see you here and I hope to see you back again soon.

    Paul R. Hewlett

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