The Making of a Book Cover: Prep Work

By CrossRiver editor Debra L. Butterfield

Puzzle piece of Road to Deer Run book coverAs Road to Deer Run (book 1 of the Deer Run Saga) approaches its Dec. 10 launch date, we at CrossRiver Media thought it would be fun to share with you what went into making the book cover.

In this day of technology, I expect creating a cover is much easier than it was in Charles Dickens’ day—did they even create art for the cover or did it simply carry the title?

Here are options we considered:

  • an illustrator,
  • having our graphic artist piece together images,
  • a live photo shoot.

We opted to do a photo shoot. Never having done a live shoot, we were in for a real surprise.

Our first task was to meet with author Elaine Marie Cooper. We discussed ideas for the cover and got the details needed concerning character physical features and costumes. The Deer Run Saga is a trilogy, and so we gathered information for all 3 books.

Author Elaine Marie Cooper

Author Elaine Marie Cooper

From that information I created what we call a creative brief, a document that puts all necessary information in one place for both the photographer and myself as the project manager. The brief guides the photographer in capturing the poses we need.

Road to Deer Run takes place during the years of the Revolutionary War. That meant finding costumes that fit the period. We all knew this was going to be the hardest aspect of the project.

If I lived in the New England region, finding costumes probably would have been a breeze. Revolutionary War reenactment groups would have the uniform items I’d need for the lead male character, Daniel Lowe. But…I live in the Midwest. Plenty of Civil War uniforms to be had, but not Revolutionary War uniforms.

Undeterred (optimism and perseverance required in all creative endeavors) and with creative brief and notepad in hand, I headed to the local Rolling Hills Consolidated Library for a visit with Raye, the reference librarian.

Raye, reference librarian


Raye is a vibrant individual and always resourceful in helping me find what I need. We had a great conversation, and she gave me several suggestions along with names and addresses of places I could check.

Armed with this information, I gathered my notes and headed out to find costumes. …

Come back tomorrow for part 2 of The Making of a Book Cover and the 2nd puzzle piece to our new cover for Road to Deer Run.

In the meantime, sign up today for our newsletter. Our November issue will include Mary Thomsen’s cornbread recipe, an excerpt from the book, and a discount code to purchase the book.

About Road to Deer Run

The year is 1777 and the war has already broken the heart of Mary Thomsen, a nineteen-year-old colonial woman from Massachusetts. Her brother, Asa is dead — killed by the King’s army, so when she stumbles across a wounded British soldier, her sense of right and wrong is challenged. Should she help a soldier of the enemy who took her brother’s life, or let him die, cold and alone?

The war has also broken British soldier Daniel Lowe’s spirit. A severely wounded prisoner of war, he escaped his rebel captors while on a death march to Boston. As the pain in his injured leg worsens, he wonders if the young woman looking down at him is an angel or the enemy.

Need and compassion bring these two young lives together, but will the bitterness of war keep them apart? Or can they find their way to love and forgiveness on the Road to Deer Run?