Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cover Talk

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
How do you look at a book's cover and know that it's a dragon book - if there's no dragon on it?  Or in the title?

That's the problem I faced when I decided to re-release a book after I got my rights back.  I didn't want a cheesy photoshopped dragon graphic, and I wanted to keep the existing title, The Fire Within. I browsed other dragon titles, and most of them had some kind of little winged dragon in the background, and that just wasn't what I wanted.

None of the dragons I could find looked anything like the Keldari dragons in my head.

Someone suggested adding scales to the hero, since he was a shifter... but I couldn't find a dark-skinned man believably from a desert that fit Zahak.  I ended up finding my heroine, Eleni, pretty easily, though.

But she wasn't a dragon shifter, so no scales for her.  I was back to the drawing board!

I finally settled on asking the artist to use lots of flames on the cover in hope that might convey "dragon" rather than "arsonist."  It's still not obviously a dragon book, but I think Eleni is beautiful, I love the rugged desert in the background, and the flames fit the story.  

There are still things I'd change with this cover.  I had it completed more than two years ago, and I've learned a lot since then. I don't think the title or my name are very readable, so someday I'd like to go back to the designer and pay for an update.  But for now, it was more important for me to finally get this crossed off my list and available once more!

What else would scream "dragon book" to you?  (Because I have another one I want to write next year!)

P.S. Wait until you see the new gorgeous cover that Angela Campbell made for my next re-release, Beautiful Death!

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Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better.  Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves.  Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast.  Dare to look beneath the mask with delicious BDSM in a wide variety of genres with Joely on her websiteTwitter andFacebook.  Be sure to check out her free reads!


  1. I think the flames work. They look magical at least and signal that it's a paranormal.

    I have a YA fantasy with a dragon shifter coming out in May (and no dragon in the title). I'm waiting on tenterhooks to see what the publisher does with the cover.

  2. Very happy to see you're re-releasing this! And also Beautiful Death! :D

    1. Thank you, Angela! Just mad at myself it has taken me so long to get them back out.

  3. Looking forward to seeing the new Beautiful Death cover!


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