Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Dear All--

Hmm. So, my editor at Random House called this morning to tell me they were going to have "the cover conference" for AN ECHO IN THE BONE tomorrow--and did I have suggestions, opinions, preferences?

He'd earlier suggested the possibility of re-covering the series--he's a new editor, and of course would like to contribute something significant in addition to his editing skills on the new book--and I'd said I was agreeable, providing the new covers were an improvement. At the same time, I don't have any greata objection to continuing with the jewel-toned iconic covers, if we _don't_ have a better suggestion. (Not that I can think of a suitable icon for _that_ title, right off the top of my head....and what on earth color would we use? Pink? A pale, leafy green? (Not yellow; I hate yellow, and besides, yellow books don't do well--accepted wisdom in marketing circles. ))

John (the editor) suggested something more pictorial/historical, which I said I was open to--provided there are no humans on the cover. To which he said that would make it more difficult--he rather likes the later editions of George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman" novels, which have a sort of graphic-art version of the main character in various situations--and he doubted that putting a rubber duck on the cover would impair sales to any great extent.

"Regardless...." I said. "Besides, we can't put rubber ducks on _all_ the covers."

The last time this subject came up, I'd just been seized by the shape of ECHO, and in the grip of this enthusiasm, suggested (to Doug, whom I happened to be talking to at the time) doing a new cover series in which the covers were done in attractive deep colors, with the underlying "shape" of each novel done in a striking abstract style (possibly embossed) on the front. This caused Doug to make faces, so is possibly not as inspired a notion as I thought. [g]

Anyway--since y'all obviously have a personal interest in what the books look like, I thought I'd ask whether anybody has any strong opinions, suggestions, whatever. No telling _what_ will happen--as John assured me, this cover conference is merely the instigating point of the process; no final decisions are expected to emerge tomorrow--just some ideas to pursue.

So if you have ideas...let me know!


  1. Dear Diana,

    I'd do each cover different but they also should have something in common--maybe a golden stripe, somewhere, or something like that! I thought the German "Die Suende der Brueder" from the Lord John series, the cover was just awesome with the golden letters and the um...wapon (?) in the front of it--maybe they could do it a bit similar to that.

  2. I don't know what Doug had against stylized story shapes on the covers, that sounds cool to me. Kind of like an inside joke, but pretty even for those who don't know the meaning.


  3. I like having something on the cover that only means something to you once you have read the book and you have an 'aha' moment as you realize it's significance. But I also really like to jewel covers. Having a person on the cover is risky, in that it might look romance novel-ish. Can i use that word?

  4. Diana,

    Personally, I am most aesthetically drawn to the jewel-toned covers of the books with the single icon/symbol. They're very clean and elegant. (And there are still a few rich jewelly colors left untapped: how about a deep amethyst-type purple or a darker, more wine-like red? Not to mention the option of throwing a black cover into the mix sometime.) Of course, not knowing the specifics of the plot of 'An Echo in the Bone' -yet-, *anticipatory grin!* I am afraid I have no (helpful? lol) suggestions to venture for the image that accompanies your covers. They're wonderful as they are, though!


  5. I like the jewel tones as well plus the idea of putting the shapes on the cover - an inside secret is a great idea.

    What about putting the Fraiser plaid on the books as a tie-in?

    - Christa

  6. Personally I like the Jewel toned ones. The cover of Outlander was the reason I picked it up. I agree with Kelly, I find it clean and elegant.

    I would HATE to see people on the cover.

  7. Dear Diana,

    I personally LOVE the covers the way they are. They really do look clean, fresh, and totally unisex for your male readers. Although, if it's book sales your new editor is seeking, I have an compulsion to have matching books in a series, so I'm likely to go buy the entire series *again* in the new cover.

    If they do get changed, I do like the idea of having them

  8. I like the covers your books have right now.

    But I want to add a more general point: I like to have all the books in a series with the same kind of cover. Not only it does look nice, but it also turns them into some kind of coherent whole, it emphasizes the being part of one common story.

    If you put on new covers at the 7th book, I - as a long time reader and faithful buyer of your books - would feel a little cheated. I'd have to buy the whole series in the new cover (again!!, if I may add), and then the new ones would not be the actual books I enjoyed so much while I was reading them, the books I held in my hands while I discovered the story.

    I understand that your new editor wants to show his dedication (and that he wants to sell more books and would probably be glad for me to buy the first 6 books again), but isn't there another way?

  9. I like the jewel-toned covers fine, but I adore the UK covers. If your editor just has to redo them all, my vote is for something similar.


  10. Hi Diana:
    I say keep with what is working. I personally like the design of the book covers so far and you should continue in that style.
    Perhaps a deep red/burgundy would fit in with the jewel tone theme.
    I think a good symbol would be something like an eagle or maybe the double-headed eagle of the Freemasons to echo the importance of the Scottish people to the creation of the new nation.

  11. I say stick with the jewel tones. I think they look more elegant and like others have mentioned it gives the series continuity. However, it would be nice to have the shape of the book somewhere (maybe on the spine. No matter what it looks like, I'll still buy it! By the way, Diana, does the local bookstore (The Poisoned Pen, I think) do presales? I'd like to preorder Echo (if that's an option) from a local bookseller. Just a thought.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. I too have to cast my opinion toward the current covers, both the US and UK versions. The one thing about the US ones, if you must change them...perhaps, instead of the iconic graphic on the front, what about using something recognizable from the years each book is set in. Dragonfly culminates with Claire returning because of Culloden. What about something that symbolizes Culloden, probably the single most important moment in the book, really. Does that even make sense?

    Because I really love the jewel tones. It's the thing that attracted me to them in the first place. Though I've not seen the UK versions 'up close and personal', they do look wonderful on the web so those are also an attractive thought for the US covers.

    Just throwing ideas out there.

    Sorry about the earlier delete but you can't edit these silly things! :P

  14. Dear Sandra--

    Yes, you can certainly preorder ECHO from the Poisoned Pen. I'm going down there to sign books tomorrow, in fact, so will ask them if they have a particular webpage set up for that as yet.

  15. Hello!
    I really like the current jewel-toned look, with a single symbol. But... my books already don't match as they have been collected randomly over the years. :) Perhaps we would like a new look just as well! And you know we love the idea of a secret, as the story shape idea would be.

  16. As someone who's been reading your novels since they had covers I had to hide (*grin*), I appreciate the newer, more elegant ones.

    The first thing that popped into my head at this post, though, was how lovely it would be to incorporate appropriate antique maps or relevant historical documents into the designs.

  17. As people mentioned above, I'd also *have* to buy the whole series again just so all the books matched. :-D

    I really like the look of how they've been done thus far, so I vote for the style that's already in place.

  18. Well, the Australian books have already changed once. I bought the whole series with the new covers. and versus and I do like the US covers, maybe if yellow is out, ECHO could be Black or a dark Purple...? Changing the covers is hard on the people who love collecting a 'set', but maybe your editor could bring out a whole new set in hardcover or Trade with a different design, once the new one is out?

  19. I agree with everyone above. The first thought that came into my mind for a change is more of an eye catcher on the binder part of the book. (I hope that is the right term) That is usually the first thing I see in a book store and if something catches my eye I pick it up and look at. (I don’t have one here with me right now-so not sure what is on them, currently) I am always attracted to the deep rich elegant colors—yet simple, when browsing.

    The simple images that come into my head when I think of your books are herbs, vines, crests, down and dirty beauty, scars, clocks with the insides showing (I know real technical), and most of all family unity. Then again, I am not known for my creativity. That’s my two cents worth. 

  20. How about using celtic knots/designs worked in the shapes you see for the books? Keep the clean, deep shades in the background (jewel colors as they are being identified) Not so abstract as to make Doug grimace, and still with the vision you have for each one.

  21. I fully agree with you on the 'no humans on the cover' thing. I can't stand that.

    I like the idea of keeping one thing on every cover the same, and the idea of tying in the Fraser plaid with them some way.

    Echo in the Bone - let me think..... I also like the idea of black. Onyx is a jewel, so it's a jewel tone........ hmmm, black with the Fraser plaid, and a leg bone? No.... I'm not real hot on the idea of a bone being on there though - seems morbid to me.

    Anyway, good luck! I'm sure we'll love it not matter what - well as long as you stick to the 'no human' thing ;-)

    Thanks for asking for imput - it really does mean a lot to know you care what we think!

    April N.

  22. I just had another thought - the one thing to tie in with them all, if you like that idea, could be Claire's rings.

  23. I like melanie's idea. A basic jewel tone with celtic interlace that somehow incorporates the "shape" of each book could be beautiful. For Echo maybe a rich ivory colour (like a bone, obviously I'm none too creative)
    I'm all in favour of buying the whole matching set, I figure I owe it to you by now since my current mismatched collection was pieced together from used book stores, gifts and outright theft from libraries. They're getting a little the worse for wear and a nice new matched set would look a lot prettier on my shelf.

  24. I have to say that I'm fond of the jewel-toned covers - they're stylistically clean. The pictures for the book come from the reader's imagination.

    Also - I hate it when cover styles change in a series because then my older copies don't match the new ones, but that's just a personal peeve. I would still buy the new ones, no matter what.

  25. I'm all for the jewel tones. How about a rich, deep amber to match Claire's eyes. The idea of the interlace patterns with the shape of the book is great also. The burgundy is nice too.

  26. I'm obsessed with the trade paperback, something about readability for me I guess. So whatever you decide I hope it's jewel tones and goes with that set of covers. :) I also love the idea of the clock or watch where you can see the insides, though I'm not sure that would symbolize Echo...well it's a good thing they pay people to come up with this stuff! :)

  27. Jewel tones, jewel tones, jewel tones! I love the jewel toned book covers. Don't change them! They're gorgeous and I think they perfectly and accurately represent the books.

  28. How about a ripple effect on the cover of the Echo book? Was that not one of the descriptions you gave when explaining how you decided on a title? It might look cool,and you already had thought of it!!

  29. I like the idea of incorporating the shape of the story into the cover design.

    Additionally I really like what someone suggested about having the cover design somehow connected to the historical time period and/or to the major event of the book. For example Voyager could somehow incorporate a ship or the sea or something that gives the feeling of traveling.

    Someone mentioned something about herbs. For some reason that idea really appeals to me. Maybe an intertwining of a plant with Claire's rings? Or a a plant intertwined with a claymore? I would love to see the standing stones somehow incorporated into a cover design too.

  30. Diana,

    As soon as I read this post (before I read through all the comments), the "icon" that popped into my head for the cover was that of the ripple effect as Lena mentioned. The ripple goes back to how you visualized & described this book, and I think readers will connect its imagery with the title & the story.

    Of course, that assumes that you will keep the current cover layout. I do like the current one with the simple "jewel-tone" color & iconic image. I agree that the possible colors mentioned of deep red or black would be suitable choices. I really like the previous suggestion of a rich ivory color, evocative of a bone. You might also consider a glossy light brown, something along the lines of cafe au lait.

    It won't matter to me if you change the cover art or not. My personal collection is a hodge-podge of paperbacks, hardbacks, originals, & jewels. I won't repurchase the series Rather I will buy the new book when it comes out, read it, and squeeze it into my bookcase next to the others (most of which you signed 5 years ago).

  31. Diana,
    Have you ever noticed how when someone quickly turns their head, it appears as a swirl of colour? I think a close up of a certain red headed Scot's hair caught in sunlight in the heat of battle would be very evocative.diacer

  32. Diana,
    If you are planning on a series of letters from Claire and Jamie to Brianna and Roger, then handwritten letters in a fuzzy, sepia, aged effect might be a nice background for the usual gold icon and lettering.

  33. i like the jewel tones also, but i also loved your idea of having the shape of the book being somewhere on the cover.

    i like the ripple idea, and the color "bone" or ivory as a jewel tone for "echo". lots of good ideas here.

    i am also one of those nerds who would probably buy the series again so that all the books matched =)

  34. I completely agree with Patricia.

    And I took pains to get the English paperbacks with the same cover as the German hardcovers, so yes, I want all my books to look the same (and it looks very nice in my book case also :) )

  35. Personally, I like the jewel tone icon covers. Classy, elegant, with the icon suggesting some element of the story. You could still smuggle the shape of the story into the icons, if your graphic artist is imaginative enough ('g').

  36. Dear Diana---
    I, and I suspect many others, would buy the book(s), even if there were rubber duckies on the covers, [g]! However, being a North Carolina native of Celtic descent(& a practicing Celtic Pagan), I was quite struck by the beauty of The Fiery Cross cover, with the embossed Celtic stag brooch on the "Fraser red" background. Plus, the brooch/kilt pin was significant to the book's content.
    I love the series so any cover is fine with me...oh, wanted to offer---I'm a former labor & delivery nurse, so if you need kernels of astounding birth stories, let me know!!{G}

  37. I absolutely love the current covers on all your books. I also agree with you and several others - there should be no people on the cover. The only other suggestion I have is maybe something along the lines of landscapes - a circle of stones for Outlander, a tree with brightly colored leaves for Drums in Autumn, a snow-covered forest and hillside (Fraser's ridge) for Breath of Snow and Ashes...

    I personally wouldn't change the current covers, however. They are simple, clean and very elegant.

  38. Echo makes me think of waves like a ripple in watter...

    Having said that, I must also say that I bought the original Outlander paperback with the double cover of the plaid, pearls, knife and clock with Claire looking out and that opened up to more (supposed) scenes from the story. could put anything on the cover as long as your name is on it, it will be in my eager hands ASAP. lol

  39. Diana,
    I also like the jewel tone covers with the simple graphic. I have male friends to whom I have given the books. I would feel awkward giving them a book with a person on the cover, especially knowing how some of the early covers were. ; ) I think they are more apt to give the books a try that way. Actually, that is the way some of my women friends are too.

    I will ask my closest male friend what he would like to see. He loves your books!
    Thanks for giving us a chance to voice our opinions! : )

  40. Yes, keep the jewel tones. I can read them in public without embarrassment! They don't give people preconceived notions about the contents either, which should make them appeal to a larger audience. For those of us who know's true that a rubber duck front and center would not dissuade us!

  41. Another vote for the jewel tones. They're elegant, unisex, and look wonderful on my bookshelf

  42. The series of covers that featured still life with tartan and landscape seemed very nice to me. Something like that again would be quite appealing, if the foreground objects had something to do with the story. I personally would love it if some plot-relevant medicinal herb or other vegetation were in the foreground as well, but I'm a geek.

  43. The series of covers that featured still life with tartan and landscape seemed very nice to me. Something like that again would be quite appealing, if the foreground objects had something to do with the story. I personally would love it if some plot-relevant medicinal herb or other vegetation were in the foreground as well, but I'm a geek.

  44. Diana,
    I love the current covers. When I go to the book case and see all of the Outlander books together...sigh..they just look beautiful. If you change it now...ahh the flow will be broken. Does this make any sense to anyone else?

  45. Dear Diana~

    I'm with everyone on the NO People covers. Too evocative of the bodice-ripper books and Yours are Not Those! Also don't want any images to suggest the appearance of the characters EXCEPT those from the graphic novel. They will be wholly acceptable (to me) because they have been created from your vision.

    Love the jewel tone covers, adore the idea of the shapes -- caltrops included. Landscapes, historical maps, armory, flora, anything intelligent but not textbook. I'm one of those that enjoys the sensation of textured paper for my books, less refined or modern, more reminiscent of the story's age or era.

    Thank you for asking our opinions. Whether your publishers take any of this to heart is another matter. Just suggest that quality always has its appeal, even to (the) hoi polloi.


  46. Another vote for the jewel tone covers for pretty much the reasons stated.

  47. Dissenting vote, I guess. I preferred the tartan with landscape/still life art. Those are very evocative for me, and I like that I can go back and look at the art again and see things that I'd missed before. Kind of like reading the books: even though I have read all of them multiple times, I always catch something new each time - some nuance, some turn of phrase that I didn't remember from the previous reads. I like that in a book. :)

    Like everyone else here, I'd buy it if it were wrapped in a greasy old newspaper.... but I find the original cover art more interesting than the iconic version. JMHO,of course.

  48. I'm voting for the jewel tone covers, plain and simple. For "Echo" i can see either the deep wine red or a luminous ivory or even - following the trend begun with "Breath"'s silver - maybe a metallic gold (not yellow!) or bronze?

    It would be nice, though to have something on the spines that ties the series together - a tartan ribbon, celtic border or even a stamp with the Frazer crest on it (and even the volume number - "Being the Seventh Volume of of the Outlanda Saga" or something similar to help new readers know right off the bat that it's a series).

    And then of course, there could be a similar (but not the same) device used on the Lord John books as well.... :)

  49. Oh, dear - change the covers? Please, no! I love the jewel tone covers, and the trade paperbacks as well. I want all my books to match, too. Very selfish on my part, but there it is.

  50. Diana,
    I have to say stay with the jewel tones, they are so lovely. This will be my first time buying the brand new hard cover so I would like them to match those that I have already.

  51. Hi Diana,

    I do like the way the books are now, although I do have some of the older versions too. If anything was going to change, I think having a Celtic design as a border or on the spine would be lovely.

    Maybe a caramel/brown colour for the background and silver lettering. The 'graphic' could be a gem/jewel.

    Hope the meeting goes well.


  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. Please keep the covers as they are. The simple icon with the solid coloured cover are beautiful. Not to mention, they look great on the bookshelf together.

  54. Another vote for the simple jewel tone covers. I think they look the cleanest and appeal to both men and women. I like them as much today as I did when they first came out. I wasn't crazy about the silver ABOSAA cover though, it was just too shiny and didn't go with the others. For "echo", since the title suggest war, I would think a grey would be nice.

    I'm sure since it's me, you thought I would like some more graphic laden humorous cover. *g* I could do one for you if you like! :-)


  55. The Oct 20 post was brilliantly insightful on your creation of a shape for each book The caltrop should inspired the right illustrator to use that shape in a front and back cover abstract/construct with "echoing" and a monochromatic jewel tone for the new book. Then the illustrator could work backward through the series, using the shape which informs each book in a similar manner with unique jewel tone. How about a pack of book covers for those who require a coordinated appearance? Stand firm on not allowing depiction of places and characters on the cover which diminishes the classic work.

  56. Hi Diana,

    I concur with all of the comments praising the jewel-tone covers. They are beautiful! As far as the graphic goes, (and forgive me if this is unbearably cheesy), but what about a stylized bodhran as a play on the word "echo?" Drums do echo, of course! ;) There are a lot of comments about the word "bone" in the title, so I was trying to think of something different. Perhaps the bodhran image would tie in with Roger and Bree's storyline in this book? Cheers! :)

  57. I had posted last night but it never appeared, so I will post again.

    I think a bronze cover would be pretty and in keeping with the silver cover of Book 6. I was thinking about echos and I pictured a lake and the vibrating rings of water that form when an object has been thrown it. I think the circular ripples eminating from a point of entry, embossed, would be beautiful. The object could be visable as well...a dirk, a gem stone or something germane to the book.

  58. What about the shapes of the books? 3 triangles, dumbell, etc. I think they could be very attractive. :)


  59. I like the jewel-colored covers with the simple logos very much. They are elegant and aesthetically pleasing. I usually don't like books with pictures of people on them because the artist never captures the characters as I have visualized them.

  60. I just had a look at the George MacDonald Fraser "Flashman" book covers and, quite frankly, I don't understand the editor's view of them. They look like teen novels straight out of the '50's!

    I agree with the vast majority of contributors that the jewel-toned book covers are the nicest: elegant and classy. For the next cover colour, I liked the latte-like bone colour, as well as bronze and grey. The bodran is a great idea, as well as Claire's rings. How about the Ancient Celtic Man's face?

  61. No people please!

    I'd like to see more Celtic symbols, perhaps raised and embossed. Solid colors, but not necessarily jewel tones.

    And just because there are no people on the cover doesn't mean there couldn't be other things. Some particular scenery from the book.

    Each book seems to have had a starring 'place' as well. Scotland, The stones, France, Jamaica, America, Fraser's Ridge, Lallybroch, Culloden, The Artemis, etc. I love covers with beautiful artwork that looks romantic. (In the dreamy, mysterious sense.) And Lord knows you've got enough material in that vein in each book.

    The Fraser plaid on the spine?

    Why not bones for Echo?

  62. jewl tones covers are beautiful, it is how I find the books on the shelf. the shape on the spine - now that I know it - is a great and tasteful idea. please, NO people. why change somehing tasteful that works?

  63. Same ol', same ol' here:

    Jewel tone, yada yada...
    No people, yada yada...
    Matching set, blah blah...

    I mean, c'mon. Tell your editor that some of us buy all your books as first edition hardcovers the nanosecond they come out. I already have a weird-looking set of your mismatched books on my shelf. Going to a third type of cover now would, well ...

    Don't make me come over there and smack him.

    Linda M Au

  64. Diana, did you have any idea what a stir you'd start with this question? ;) *g*

    I went back in and looked at my shelf. I really do love the jewel tones. And they're instantly recognizable. I do like the idea of something on the spine, a Celtic design or piece of worn tartan, but the same thing on each spine to tie them together.

    And I know, I shouldn't say this, but I agree about the shiny silver cover on ABOSAA. That one annoyed me. It just looked more like a Christmas book without that elegant cover...

    However, if you'd like to wrap them in fish wrapping, I'd still buy them! :) And my cat would love you!

  65. I quite like the older covers I have on the first four - the cover of Voyager with the ship in full sail is my fave. And the dragonfly, the tomahawk. I'm not such a fan of the clock in particular, but I love how there's tartan on every cover.
    I have the Firey Cross with the new, red cover, and I don't like it so much.
    I do love the silvery cover for Snow and Ashes though - it does fit quite well.

  66. Dear Diana,

    You are a brave woman (huge smile) and certainly not ego driven, that fact proven by asking your fans for opinion on the new cover art. Not to mention that it creates even more work for you in review and comment.

    Truly ... I love the entire collection of book covers-all series and countries. Every time I see a change in design work it draws my attention and I admire them all.

    I have heard "don't fix what isn't broken" however I am a person that believes in change and it excites me to add another book to my collection. I do not view the difference in design as a hindrance to my collection, which is extensive, I see it as a treasure of its own next to others that I admire so much. I think it is cool to be excited to purchase a new book that you have read half a dozen times just because the cover is different.

    As for change... I go for the dichroic glass effect. Example-for Voyager, the rare "black diamond/cargonado" tones with the shape of the book incorporated. That would be a great cover and meaningful to the story and lives of Jamie and Claire. Dichroic effects in jewel tones changing for each book fitting to the "shape" and "story line".

    Thanks again for being "real" to your fans.


  67. Like the others, I like the jewel tones with the single symbol.

    But, please, please finish the series before someone can make it into a movie and re-release the books with actors on the covers. That is one thing I cannot stand! I want original covers - not some cover with the "in" actors of the day plastered all over the cover.

    Thanks for listening to our input!

  68. I agree with all those who would like to keep the covers of the same type as the current jewel tone covers. They are much more attractive than cheesy landscapes or people who are never as attractive as what you imagine those in the book to be. Do the colors have to remain jewel tone? If the shape of the book is a caltrop, then perhaps a color that represents something more violent, or dark could be used. Not sure what color that would be... I guess it depends on the chosen graphic for the front. But, I would imagine a deep or dark color would work.

  69. Can you stand one more vote for the jewel tone covers? I also like the idea of the circles in the water (I apologize - I can't spell consentric...I *might* be able to say it *g*) Circles like ripples in a pond. I do humans on the covers. Then again, like others have said, it doesn't matter what is on the cover as long as it is on my bookshelf!

  70. I do like the jewel tone covers - and have just invested in the entire set in hardcover (it's not sold here in Oz, and luckily I got in just before our dollar plummeted). I'd be rather sad to have a mismatched set, and wouldn't be especially happy about that (since I've now bought every book twice - plus all the gift copies of Cross Stitch I've bestowed - not to mention the audiobooks...).

    As others have said, the jewel scheme is far from exhausted, either in possible colours or style. The silver one, though, is more prone to wear than the matte ones. Celtic knots are a promising idea.

    The landscapey photostyle covers used on the paperbacks here are nice, but I suspect would be less appealing to blokes. I don't especially like the US crowded tartan and stuff covers.

    Maybe the editor can play with the paperback covers, but leave the hardbacks for the hardcore loyal fans with the current style?

  71. I vote for the jewel tones too!

    For some reason I keep thinking of bats when ever you say echo (maybe since my son is studying echo-location) so I keep thinking black and white(for the bone part). My mind is thinking literal images today. But I would also gather that black and white don't make for great sales.... but since we buy everything you write anyway, it doesn't make a difference to me! Just no people... I've had nightmares about the bad Jamie cast offs.

  72. I don't buy hardbacks, primarily because books I love I read over and over and replacing hardbacks gets expensive. And to keep my money tied up in a complete set of hardbacks means I have less disposable money for more books. Besides that, I also don't lend hardbacks, one tends to never get them back.

    Just because I don't buy hardbacks doesn't mean I'm not a hardcore, loyal fan and I don't think that's a fair assumption to make.

  73. Dear night--

    Hey, I have hardcore loyal fans who can't afford to buy books and get them from the library or borrow them from friends. [g] I couldn't care less what format people prefer, as long as they enjoy the books. (Mind, the _publisher_ probably cares, but I don't.)

  74. :)

    I can't tell you how many sets of the PB I've run through (or how many I've given away as gifts *g*) but I have to say, had I found it necessary to replace hardcovers, I might not bother. I'd simply keep what I have and not read them anymore, wistfully petting them occasionally on the off chance that I would be reading something in them through osmosis.

    As for giving a set of the hardcovers, *sigh* I wish. But that's just not financially possible.

    And I would think any really wonderful author *points finger at you, Diana* would feel the same, not caring about the format so long as his/her readers loved the stories. :D

  75. Dear Diana,

    The only area I feel strongly enough about to comment is: NO PEOPLE, please! No rippling muscles, no flowing hair or heaving bosoms, no lips parted in breathless get the idea. It's a sad fact that most of the time your books are sold in the "Romance" section (ok, everyone--don't get me wrong--I'm all for a little romance); put a picture like that on the front and it will only serve to categorize it as such further. Your books are so much more than that!

    Thanks for letting me rant, and for asking your loyal fans to voice their opinions.

    Many thanks for your wonderful tomes.

  76. Dear girl--

    Mm, no, actually they aren't normally found in the Romance section anymore. I got B&N to move them a couple of years ago, and Borders has been slowly moving them for quite awhile now--but the last few people who've mentioned looking for my books in a Borders have found them in "Literature." [g]

  77. Hi Diana,

    I live in a country that gets the UK versions of your books and really like the current covers. ABOSAA was particularly beautiful.

    I am only familiar with the US jewel cover of Outlander. It is a very sophisticated and mature cover. The jewel colours also tie in nicely with the theme of gemstones that runs through your books. I don't know what colours have already been used but perhaps the remaining books can be given colours that relate to the jewels used in the story, e.g. Jamie's ruby ring, Nayawenne's sapphire, the emerald, the black diamond, Mr Forbes' stolen chrysoberyl, etc?

  78. Diana,
    I was recently in Scottsdale on a business trip and was excited to visit the Poisoned Pen during a conference break. The jewel toned books grouped together is such a striking display. I would hate to see that changed. I'm not sure about the shape thing...but as long as covers are clean and sharp I'll usually bite. Thanks for all you do!

  79. Diana, not to hijack this, but can you give any info at all on this article?

  80. Nightsmusic.
    Sorry this it OT too Diana, but some of those commenters on that article...I do not 'heart' them! ;)

    What DO most native Scots think of your books? Just curious now. Sorry.

  81. Hi Diana
    I will let my blogger identity photo do the talking for me :)
    Janelle N

  82. Please do not change the cover on the new book so it doesn't match the other Outlander novels. I like this series lined up on my shelf looking like they belong together. (Because they do!)

    Thank you,


  83. None of my editions match anyway, so what's one more style change? {g}

    Ummm...where did the "rubber ducky" come into it? Did I miss something?

  84. I like your covers! But if they are redone, Please no faces. I like to get my own picture in my head.

  85. Bugger, I cant afford to buy a whole new matching set if there are new covers!

  86. Hi Diana
    I would go with the black cover, with concentric circles emulating from the center in maybe a silver or bone colored type, similar to the other jewel toned books. It would have all the symbolism that your readers would know!


  87. I just saw color 222 from the link on the compuserve forum. Let's just say, I went to my DG shelf, imagined Echo in it's reserved place, and said, "OOOOOOH!" It's wonderful! Thanks for the input and the final choice.

  88. Diana,
    I asked my male friend, who has all of your books, about his thoughts on new covers. His reply, "No way! I like them the way they are. I don't want to feel that I have to hide in my bedroom to read them. I would feel that way if they had other covers on them, especially people!"
    So... they is one male prospective on the subject. ; )

  89. Dear Shannon--

    No, the eighth book is black with jewels. [g]

  90. Beth--

    My editor said the book would probably sell if we put a rubber duck on the cover. [g] We hope he's right, but still...

  91. He's right.

    OTOH, it would probably also confuse people. (g)

  92. Dear Beth--

    Yes, I shudder to think of the avalanches of email that would result. [g]

  93. My mom bought Outlander when it FIRST came out and I still LOVE that cover. It's so intricate and pretty. And it looks respectable. I agree with the others that I would not like to see people on the cover (you can never get those 100%) but I also love the idea of having something that makes sense after you read the book. Just one old item skillfully drawn perhaps.

    The jewel tones are ok. I'd probably like them more if I wasn't in love with the first Outlander cover. My mom still has the book. It's falling apart and all taped up b/c its been read so many times...

  94. It's been said before...
    The first six books look so nice together on my shelf, the design is great, and it would simply feel weird for the seventh book to stand out too much. Why change a winning concept. :) I vote jewel, not because I'm not open for change but because I really like the original design. Keep it simple, clean and somewhat uniform. :)Perhaps a map as "symbol"? I dunno.

    Good luck with the writing!

    Emma, Sweden

  95. Someone said that a nice ivory color would be good...I agree....ties in the whole bone might show dirt easier, but it could look very nice with perhaps a celtic knot or symbol on the front, like the other covers? I do agree with everyone else though - humans on the front doesn't sound like a good idea.

  96. Oh gosh, please don't change the covers! I already have three different sets of "the" books, paperback (US), paperback (UK), and hardcover (US). I haven't got room for another set! :)

  97. So much talk about the cover. If cover design was skipped (just the title DIANA GALBALDON) perhaps the publishing date would be moved up. After all, sales are assured (we are all admitted addicts).

  98. Covers are so important. I almost didn't read _The Magicians and Mrs. Quent_ by Galen M. Beckett because I thought the cover was so awful and I bought _The Monsters of Templeton_ by Lauren Groff because the cover was so wonderful.
    The jewel covers are good but I think it might be nice to have a new look? For instance, I'm excited about the graphic novel in part because it will bring a new element to the series and a new way of 'seeing' or experiencing it.

  99. Dear Denece--

    No, I'm afraid that skipping all talk about the cover would merely result in a dull cover. [g] I'm still *writing* the book; they can't publish it 'til I'm done. That being so, they might as well think about the cover, the marketing, etc., etc. while I'm working.

  100. Dear Diana,

    Like others, I think, "If it's not broken....". I personally really like the jewel-toned covers with the simple icons.

    What's just as important to me is the heft, weight and the texture of the cover paper. I really like the texture of the jewel-toned covers. What is curious to me is why the cover of A Breath of Snow and Ashes is in shiny Silver, which neither matches the other jewel-toned copies in either hue or feel. I don't like the silver as much as it shows more wear. I've read the series three times now, (since Sept 1st) and my copies of the first 5 books hardly look read, but the silver is showing some wear. Will there ever be a reprinting of A Breath of Snow and Ashes that will match the rest of the jewel-toned covers?

    Additionally, I love the Lord John books and also appreciate the fact that they also match in style. They all look very nice together on my bookcase.

  101. The first Outlander book I have I think is the first edition one that has the the images of the plaid, dirk, pearls and broken clock. I did find myself while reading the book looking at these images. I don't know why I did maybe it was just to see what the pearls looked like, and being an Oklahoma girl, I had no idea what a dirk would look like. So, I must admit I do love this cover. I'm not saying it should be repeated, the rest of my books are the jewel colored ones and they are fine. But why not incorporate something from the story into the cover? Just a thought.

  102. Dear Jen--

    Well, see, you mention looking at the pearls on the cover. Presumably because you encountered the pearl necklace in the story.

    OK. The necklace on the cover doesn't look anything like the one described in the story, aside from the fact that it -is- a pearl necklace.

    Cover illustrators almost never -read- the books; they take a brief description supplied (usually) by the editor, and half the time, they don't pay any particular attention to that, either. (I recall one "step-back" cover for a (very good) romance novel set in the 18th century, featuring a marquis with black hair who'd been kidnapped and sold as a servant, and a blonde heroine in charge of her widowed brother-in-law's children, living in the wilderness in Colonial America. What did the cover illustration show? A brown-haired man wearing--I kid you not--jeans and a plaid shirt, leaning on a shovel while ogling a brown-haired woman in a pink gingham dress with puffed sleeves and a poke bonnet to match.]

    For that matter, I've seen the Polish book-club edition of THE FIERY CROSS--which (again, for reasons unknown) shows a partial torso-shot of a man in a short-sleeved plaid shirt embracing a young woman with long black hair. Who _are_ these people?!?

    But that's the major reason I don't want illustrations of elements or people from the book--odds are, they'd be grossly inaccurate, but everyone would _think_ that was exactly what I meant them to look like, because after all, they're right there on the cover! [rolling eyes]

  103. I have the first four books in the old covers, and the whole series in a mix of paperback, trade paperback, and hardback. It would be fun to have a matching set, but it's not a financial priority.

    That said, I also vote to continue the current covers, with an ivory one for ECHO. And for the object on the cover, how about the box that contains the letters to Bree and Roger?

    (A common motif on the spines wouldn't be terrible, though.)

  104. I love the covers as they are but if a change is really wanted I have a thought. Maybe each cover printed to resemble the 'fabric/textile' in common usage for the time frame of each book? Graphically imitating the texture of wool, silk, homespun etc. while keeping the jewel tone colors of prior books.