We’ve all heard the old saying about not judging a book by its cover, but the fact is everyone does it. Even if we don’t think we’re influenced by the design of a book, our subconscious mind uses it to make a snap decision about whether to pick it up and read the back, or scroll down and read the description on the website. Covers give us a shortcut, a way to tell at a glance (literally) the genre of the work. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a romance novel has to have a couple gracing its front though, there are plenty of ways to set the tone.
Whilst I think the Noah’s Ark covers do a great job of getting the core message of that series across (it’s the end of the world, and we’re all at sea), my earlier Dreamshifters trilogy has proved more problematic. The first book in the series, Parallel One, went through several iterations of cover design before settling on this, which was its jacket up until today:
Although I like that cover, it’s still doesn’t quite say contemporary fantasy. The other two books in the series strayed even further from the message they needed to portray.
Part of the problem with getting a suitable cover for Dreamshifters has been that the genre of the series is not easy to define. At its heart it is a contemporary fantasy. Set in London, everything is ‘normal’, in as much as there are no dragons, shape-shifters or vampires. The only element that sets it apart from a straight murder mystery is Jessica’s ability to shift between parallel worlds. That might sound like a major bit of fantasy, but most of the worlds Jessica visits look a lot like ours. The real story is her quest to find a killer, and to avoid being killed herself. So in that respect, the novel is almost more murder mystery than fantasy. Add in a small dose of romance, and you can see why it can be hard to categorise.
Today, Parallel One and it’s siblings, Parallel Ties and Parallel Lies, are all relaunching with brand new covers. Thanks to some awesome work from Dane Low at Ebook Launch, the trilogy has been suitably reclothed. Dane has managed to convey all of the key elements — Jessica’s discovery of her power, the contemporary feel, and the murder that drives the narrative — in a beautiful and evocative design. I’m delighted with the result. Here’s the new look:
Book one in the trilogy, Parallel One, is currently free at most retailers (ebook edition; paperback edition price is $11.99)