The hero isn't always the good guy, or girl.

close up of Down in Blood cover

A Deeper Look: the Down in Blood cover rebrand

By now, you’ve seen thumbnails of the new covers for the Destroyers series. Multiple decisions needed to be made to get the look more consistent with the genre and each book. Previously, I leaned heavily on using a graphic stripe and blurred content. That got thrown out because no other book in the sub-genre used an element like this.

Then I began to look at the cover model. She didn’t fit the grittier image of the other covers. Because the book is told primarily from Michelle’s point of view (rather than flipping between the protagonists as in other books) it would not work to put Ice on the cover.

Putting a female lead on the cover is problematic because it is proven to generate lower clicks. Despite numerous industry asks for a strong female lead, this does not translate to sales. Yet, putting a man on the cover, when it truly is HER story, wouldn’t do. So I began a new search. One for a tougher woman. Someone who has seen the inside of a prison. Someone haunted by the past. A beautiful woman because she’s tough.

Image: close up of cover model choice – female stares at the camera, a breeze blows strands of hair across her face.

The wind in her face was the deciding factor. Now that she is free, and has felt the wind in her face, she’ll do anything to keep it.

Next was the hand clenching her arm. This is an important detail – readers will know why. But it also hints at her inner pain. The things she is keeping inside. The very same things she must conquer to be whole.

Image: close up of the stock photo. The model is clutching her arm.

While it is hiding under the title, I made certain it was visible.

Now let’s look at the background. I’m a big fan of symbolism. Previously, I used a leather texture on the title text. Since I changed the texture for all the books in this series to be the same (for consistency) I could no longer hint at the jacket. However, the model is wearing one. Plus one in the win column on the trade-off. This opened up possibilities. What should I put there? What is important? An idea formed. I searched for images of prison bars.

Image: close up of cover showing the sunlight streaming in through prison window bars.

But the light streaming in signifies she’s still IN prison. Isn’t this true of all of us? Might we all live in prisons of our pain or past trauma? It certainly is a vital part of this story.

One more detail made it to all the books. The Destroyers MC symbol. If you look closely at each one, you’ll see the bottom rocker changes. Michelle’s book gets the Nomad symbol, because of Ice.

Image: close up of book cover showing the Destroyers MC skull and pistons logo with “Nomad” bottom rocker.

There you have it. A deep dive into the thought process that went into this cover.

Image: the full cover for Down in Blood by Calia Wilde

Start reading the book by buying or reading it on Kindle Unlimited here.