If you’ve been reading my books and/or my RWTTD post, you know by now that I’m a cowboy fan. TV cowboys were my first love—second to Daddy, of course—and when I found my true love, he was wearing a cowboy hat. I’m pretty fussy about my cover cowboys. I don’t want them to come from the drug store or a street corner in Manhattan.
I’m pretty darn pleased with Ethan Wolf Track from THE PRODIGAL COWBOY (September Special Edition, available for pre-order). He’s dressed properly—except that’s supposed to be a battered straw hat—and even though you can’t tell he’s part Indian, well, that’s okay. He isn’t sure who his birth father’s people are. He identifies with Logan Wolf Track, the man who raised him, even though they’ve been keeping their distance of late. The cover scene is basically the one I asked for from the book. The landscape in the background is correct. But wait a minute. Is that a pickup? Look at it closely and tell me—does it look like he’s leaning against a pickup? It’s too small, right? And it’s supposed to be blue. But it’s the right scene, and I’m glad of that. Here’s the image I sent as a suggestion:
So today I have to do the AFS (art fact sheet) for my next Special Edition, and clearly, it’s not my favorite part of my job. I know story telling. I do not know story selling. I do think the hero cover is a good representation for my books, but I’m so committed to the details of the story that I can’t see the forest for the tree. One tree. At first glance I love it. Then I start picking apart the details. I forget that the reader is shopping for a book she hasn’t read yet, and what counts is the first glance.
I collect cowboy images just for this purpose—suggesting a “look” just because I have to—so please help me do this AFS today. Tell me which basic look you’d buy: