Danielle Hanna

Hearth & Homicide Fiction

Trying out Cover Art for Mailboat

Okay. I was working with potential cover art for my work-in-progress, Mailboat. First, the paragraph summary:

Bailey Johnson landed the coolest summer job ever: mail jumper on the historic Lake Giovanna Mailboat. Falling into the lake is pretty much a hazard of the job. Finding a dead body underwater is pretty much not. Turns out the first victim was only the ripple before the storm.

Now the cover art. I have two versions right now. You ready? Tell me what you think.


Mailboat beta cover artDSC00146











I know. Variations on the same theme. Still plenty of tweaking I could do, but they both seem to capture the essence of what I want. The water. The tree-lined shore. The mirror-like calm. And then I just sort of jar the whole thing with a blood splatter. Haha. Such a me thing.

The photo on the left is one I took on a camping trip last summer at Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota. The serenity of the photo is breathtaking and does an outstanding job of expressing the get-away-to-the-lake feel of the story’s setting.

The photo on the right was from just a few nights ago. Literally looked out my window, saw the awesome sunset, and ran down to the river. Yeah, it’s a river photo, not a lake photo. (Pity.) And it’s a shame there aren’t more trees. But you can’t beat the drama of that cloud cover. The photo is still unspeakably serene–and yet it hints at brewing danger.

Neither one of these designs is final. I’ll keep exploring shorelines and sunrises and sunsets, looking for that perfect shot. Maybe one of these is it. Maybe it isn’t.

But I do want to finalize a cover design as soon as possible. The story is already gaining interest wherever I mention it, and I’d love to have some bookmarks to help people remember the title.

So tell me your opinion. Which cover design do you vote for? And does either one even look like a novel you’d pick up and read? Thanks in advance!


  1. Danielle,

    I like both covers. You’re right about each of them conveying an idea of serenity.

    Cover #1 is better because the blood spatter is more clearly a blood spatter in this design. In the other design, it disappears into the clouds.

    Cover #2 is better because of the clouds. I also like the silhouette of the dock or boat canopy (can’t quite decide which it is) at the bottom of the image.

    You might try making the blood spatter brighter red in cover #2. See how that looks. It would be more jarring and would also add to the implied sense of peril (or impending peril) that comes with the cloud cover and lighting in this design.

  2. I like the one on the right a lot better. The colors are more eye catching.

  3. The first one, although photoshopping the dock in could be cool….

  4. Stephanie Prichard

    June 9, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    The one on the right. It looks more ominous, and the dock/boat canopy connects with the idea of a mailboat. The cover on the left looks like where I’d like to spend my vacation. 🙂

  5. I like the first option because the title is clearer and the blood splatters stand out more, making it clear it’s suspense. Great blurb, BTW!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2022 Danielle Hanna

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑