Promoting a Book by its Cover

Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here. Since I’ve been playing around with independently reissuing some of my older titles and publishing a few new ones myself, I’ve become acutely aware of the importance of matching the right cover to each book. Unless you are extraordinarily skilled in this area yourself—and I definitely am not—the best bet is to hire someone with the experience and resources to do the job right. For me that person is Dave Fymbo at Limelight Book Covers. With the exception of the very plain cover for the e-book of A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, Dave has designed all the covers for the nonfiction and children’s books I’ve brought out over the last year and a half. It was a no-brainer to ask him to help me come up with a cover for my newest venture, a collection of short fiction featuring a character who first appeared in one of my Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries.

She turned up again in the second book in my Deadly Edits Mysteries.

Valentine Veilleux is a photographer who specializes in creating custom calendars and travels the country in a RV to get to various gigs. At one point I hoped to make her the protagonist of a new mystery series, but when that didn’t work out, I started writing short stories in which she could solve crimes. Two were included in a collection of short stories, Different Times, Different Crimes back in 2017. When I had written another short story and a novella, it seemed to me that the time was right to combine them into The Valentine Veilleux Mysteries. At that point, I hired a freelance editor to catch any problems in the text and contacted Dave.

My original thought was to put a calendar on the cover, since Val specializes in custom calendars, especially those featuring cats and dogs. That wasn’t as eye-catching as I’d hoped.

Since he designed the cover for I Kill People for a Living, one possibility was to echo that look.

Dave also came up with several variations of Val herself. I tend to shy away from showing what my sleuth looks like—I’d rather let readers form their own picture. One was too cartoony.

Another showed too much of her face.

This one had possibilities.

Then I realized I had another problem. The books Val appears in were written as Kaitlyn Dunnett. The two stories previously published came out under the name Kathy Lynn Emerson. What to do? What to do? After trying things a couple of ways, here’s the final result. If all goes well when the book launches later this month, this cover will help promote Val, Kaitlyn, and Kathy.

What do you think? Would you be attracted to this cover?

Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-four books traditionally published and has self published several children’s books and three works of nonfiction. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Her newest books are Murder, She Edited (the fourth book in the contemporary “Deadly Edits” series, written as Kaitlyn) and, as Kathy, I Kill People for a Living: A Collection of Essays by a Writer of Cozy Mysteries. She maintains websites at and A third, at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, is the gateway to over 2300 mini-biographies of sixteenth-century Englishwomen, now available in e-book format.


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11 Responses to Promoting a Book by its Cover

  1. Dru says:

    I love seeing the evolution of your cover design. I like the one you choose. Are these cozy mysteries? Do you have a release date? Would love to include it in my weekly release on my blog.

    • kaitlynkathy says:

      Hi, Dru. They are definitely cozy. I’m waiting on final proofreads, then will format through an outfit called Draft to Digital. I’ll give you a heads up as soon as I have a definite date. Thanks.

  2. Brenda Buchanan says:

    I very much like that last cover. The red hat really makes it pop and “Kathy Lynn Emerson writing as Kaitlyn Dunnett” covers the necessary basis. I look forward to reading it!

  3. John Clark says:

    That cover definitely works.

  4. Julianne Spreng says:

    Immediately made me think of The Eyes of Laura Mars. Maybe someone who saw more than she should while innocently snapping photos. Intriguing!

  5. Judy Moore says:

    I like the final cover.

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