Anatomy of a Book Cover: Golden Lies

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I recently finished my mystery, Golden Lies (Al Travelers’ Mystery Book #1).  The book presented special challenges for building a cover:

  • It’s set in the 1940s
  • It’s not noir

I wanted to make sure that the cover itself conveyed the historical aspect of the story.  That way, readers who wanted historical would be able to tell that from the cover.

The typical image is a man in a fedora.  That type of hat is a tag for the 1940s. Historical trivia: By the late 1940s, younger men were starting to ask why they should cover up their hair.  Some started to go hatless.

So I ended up making this cover several months ago:

Cover for Golden Lies...Man racing up stairs in shadows.
Golden LIes Cover 1

At the time, I was fussing because it was hard finding contrasting colors in the image to sample.  The blue came from a spot on the wall by his leg.  I accidentally rotated the image, liked the effect, and that’s what’s in the cover.

When I was doing my final cycling pass on the story, I revisited the color…and went “Ack!”

It had looked fine when I created it.  Now it looked really wrong for the book.

So I went hunting for images again.  I searched “1940s” only again.  Most of the images were:

  • Black and white
  • Gangsters
  • Noir

But I found one of a woman that satisfied what I was looking for.  The yellow text is from the wall, and the red text is from the dress.  I had to play around with the eyedropper tool to get different variations of the same shade. 

Golden Lies Cover: Woman in red standing next to window.
Golden Lies Cover 2

The cover is made using Adobe Photoshop elements (a pared-down version of PhotoShop) that works nicely for creating eBook covers.

Meanwhile, I expect to change the cover and the title for Giant Robots.

One thought on “Anatomy of a Book Cover: Golden Lies

  1. Pagadan February 4, 2020 / 2:13 pm

    I like the new cover–with the woman in the red dress–the best.


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