book cover

A Book Cover for Quicksand (Jaya Jones Book 3)

Here's the fantastic book cover the Henery Press team created for the third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery:

http://henerypress.com/books-humorous-mystery-series-book/quicksand/

I love how the new cover is perfectly suited to the new story (isn't the illustration of Mont Saint-Michel gorgeous?) but also has the same style as the first two books in the series.



Here's a teaser from the Henery Press email blast that went out this morning:

Art Thieves & Adventure

Take a trip to Paris this spring where you'll find an art thief, a con man, and an ancient treasure. (Along with a page-turning love triangle!) QUICKSAND, the third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, has it all. Look for the next big adventure when it releases March 10, 2015!

QUICKSAND: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
http://henerypress.com/books-humorous-mystery-series-book/quicksand/
A thousand-year-old secret room.
A sultan's stolen treasure.
A missing French priest.
And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame...

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into France's colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.




The Accidental Alchemist: a gorgeous book cover, plus Alchemist mugs

My next book, The Accidental Alchemist, comes out in January, 2015. This month, the fun has already begun -- check out the gorgeous book cover! 

The Accidental Alchemist is the first book in a new series, and I'm working with a new publisher (Midnight Ink), so I didn't know what to expect. Therefore I was absolutely thrilled when they hired one of my favorite illustrators (Hugh D'Andrade) to design the cover. Isn't it awesome?



Here's the book jacket text:

A modern tale of ancient intrigue from a USA Today bestselling author

When Zoe Faust—herbalist, alchemist, and recent transplant to Portland, Oregon—begins unpacking her bags, she can't help but notice she's picked up a stow away: a living, breathing, three-and-half-foot gargoyle. Dorian Robert-Houdin is no simple automaton, nor is he a homunculus; in fact, he needs Zoe's help to decipher a centuries-old text that explains exactly what he is. Zoe, who's trying to put her alchemical life behind her, isn't so sure she can help. But after a murder victim is discovered on her front porch, Zoe realized she's tangled up in ancient intrigue that can't be ignored. Includes recipes!

"Zoe and Dorian are my new favorite amateur-sleuth duo!"
—Victoria Laurie, New York Times bestselling author


I was so excited to see the beautifully illustrated cover that I knew I had to do something cool with it. The book is now available to pre-order, so I decided to make mugs -- and give everyone who orders the book a chance to win one!


Each month from now until the end of the year, I’m giving away a mug to someone who has pre-ordered the book. Yup, the earlier you order the book, the more chances you’ll have to win. Simply email me at gigi [at] gigipandian.com to let me know you’ve ordered The Accidental Alchemist, and you’re entered to win a mug.

Pre-order the book:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound
Directly from the publisher, Midnight Ink



Cover Reveal: Pirate Vishnu

The folks at Henery Press have come up with an awesome book cover for my new Jaya Jones treasure hunt mystery!

A century-old treasure map of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast. Sacred riches from India. Two murders, one hundred years apart. And a love triangle… Historian Jaya Jones has her work cut out for her. 

The treasure hunt begins February 2014...



Read more on the Henery Press website or on my website.

PIRATE VISHNU: The Second Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery — Cover Art!

UPDATE: Pirate Vishnu was acquired by Henery Press in a three book deal for the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. Along with a new cover design, the release date is being pushed back a few months, until early 2014. I'm thrilled to have such a great publisher backing the series!

My second Jaya Jones novel comes out September 3, 2013. It's now four months before the book comes out, so Advance Reader Copies have arrived! Here's the cover art and details about the new book:


PIRATE VISHNU: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

A century-old treasure map of San Francisco's Barbary Coast.
Sacred riches from India.
Two murders, one hundred years apart.
And a love triangle…

Historian Jaya Jones has her work cut out for her.

1906. Shortly before the Great San Francisco Earthquake, Pirate Vishnu strikes the San Francisco Bay. An ancestor of Jaya's who immigrated to the U.S. from India draws a treasure map…

PRESENT DAY. Over a century later, the cryptic treasure map remains undeciphered. From San  Francisco to the southern tip of India, Jaya pieces together her ancestor's secrets, maneuvers a  complicated love life she didn't count on, and puts herself in the path of a killer to restore a revered treasure.





The book is available for pre-order on Amazon and more details can be found on my website.

I had so much fun writing this book that I can't wait until it comes out! It feels funny that I'm heading to Malice Domestic this week to promote Artifact, when I'm most excited about talking about Pirate Vsihnu. Don't get me wrong. I'm having a great time with Artifact out in the world. But I've been focused so intensely on the latest book that it's a bit of a challenge to switch gears!

One of my favorite things about creating a world of characters is when readers really click with what I was going for. Advance reviews are starting to come in for Pirate Vishnu, and it was such a kick to find Jaya compared to two favorite characters of mine: Vicky Bliss in the books by Elizabeth Peters, and Joan Wilder from the movie Romancing the Stone.


"Move over Vicky Bliss and Joan Wilder, historian Jaya Jones is here to stay! Mysterious maps, legendary pirates, and hidden treasure—Jaya’s latest quest is a whirlwind of adventure."
—Chantelle Aimée Osman of THE SIRENS OF SUSPENSE

I'm getting ready for the Malice Domestic mystery convention, taking place in Bethesda, MD this coming weekend. I'm on the Treasure Hunt panel on Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m., signing at 5 p.m., and featured on the New Author Breakfast on Sunday, May 5 at 7 a.m.

A Book Cover's Unintended Consequences

Once a book leaves a writer's personal computer and goes out into the world, it no longer belongs to the author. Readers give a novel a life of its own through their personal interpretations.

In the few months since Artifact has been out, it's been fascinating to read reviews that focus on different aspects of the novel that the reviewers found compelling. I'm lucky the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive so far. But what I didn't expect was the reaction to my book cover.

I love my book cover. And from the enthusiastic comments I receive from readers, they love it as well. Then what am I talking about, you ask? I'm referring to the reaction from people who aren't my core audience of female traditional mystery readers.

As a graphic designer, I was able to design my own cover art. Part of a designer's job is strategy. One of the key questions a designer begins with is identifying the target audience. Therefore I studied the book covers of recent mystery novels I enjoyed that I knew had a similar target audiencebooks where I thought if a reader liked one of those books then they might enjoy mine, too. Here's a picture of a few of those books. Notice the similar elements in these books and my own cover.


The problem?

I may have been too narrowly focused. While my book cover has been successful at signaling to fans of "lighthearted, fun, well-researched, puzzle-plot mysteries with a strong-willed female protagonist and a dash or romance" that Artifact is for them, it turns out that the book has the potential for broader appeal.

Here are a few things that clued me in to this unintended consequence of creating a cover for my core readership:

1. ForeWord Reviews is a literary magazine that reviewed Artifact. They have gave it a great review, but in their email blast that promoted the review, they began:  "Don't let Artifact's cover discourage you. It's a classic mystery that will appeal to those who enjoy complex puzzlescomplete with quirky characters, suspense, and romance." Ha! I'm happy they decided to read and review it in spite of the cover. 

2. I've been doing a bunch of events this fall to promote the book. On numerous occasions, men came up to me after I spoke to tell me that my treasure hunt mystery sounded like something they'd love, but that they'd never pick it up based on the book cover. I admit I assumed it would be women who would be my primary readers. But looking at the reviews of Artifact on Amazon, roughly half of the reviews are from men. Live and learn!

3. This is something I already knew, but didn't realize would be an issue: the book cover looks like it could be a Young Adult book. The book is definitely YA-friendlythere's no sex or violence or swearing on the pageso it's appropriate for young teens. The cover is very appropriate in that sense. But I've learned that some people won't pick up a mystery if they think it's specifically for young adults. And the flip side is that some readers enjoyed it as a Young Adult book and wondered why it wasn't categorized as a YA book.

Book covers are completely subjective, of course, so no cover is going to please everyone. Even if I could go back in time, I'm not sure I would go back and change my cover. Though I may lose some readers because of the cover, I'm also able to find mystery readers who have a greater chance of enjoying the book once they pick it up. There are so many books published each yearI read some statistics that put the number at over a millionthat it's important to stand out quickly to the people most likely to appreciate a particular book.

Lastly, styles of book covers change over time. Here's an example of the book cover of one of my favorite books, Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters. You can see how it has changed over the decades.


Will Artifact ever get a new cover? Who knows. For now, I'm having a lot of fun hearing from readers who've found the book, regardless of why they picked it up.

Gigi 

A Book Cover and a Launch Party

It's an exciting week. I have both a book cover and a book launch party date! Here's the cover for Artifact, the first book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series, which comes out August 28, 2012.


When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she’s not the only one on the trail....

The launch party will be Saturday, September 8, at A Great Good Place for Books, a wonderful independent bookstore in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland. More details to follow as the date approaches.