Alternate Covers – A Brand-Defining Process

Ronie Uncategorized 43 Comments

Last May when I visited my publisher, Bethany House, in Minnesota, I had the incredible pleasure/delight of seeing the preliminary covers designed by Kirk DouPonce of DogEared Design. they had considered for Conspiracy of Silence (Tox Files #1). Interesting to me was the fact that these covers were almost *exactly* what I’d asked for and hoped for with this  new series.

What’s even more interesting is that I’d already seen/released the cover for Conspiracy, so as my mind worked past the question, “Why didn’t they use these?” – I realized a few things:

  1. MERIT – Each cover I saw (posted below) was great, amazing even. One or two I’m a bit envious of admittedly. They all would’ve worked and been a good addition to my lineup.
  2. BRAND – The cover style I’ve come to be known with in recent years–in large part thanks to Kirk’s design genius–was not reflected (strongly) in these covers. Each one has great merit, but they are not “Ronie covers,” and that was fascinating to realize. I was so surprised at this, and “got” where my publisher was coming from.
  3. THRILL – I am absolutely content and pleased–no, THRILLED with the covers that BHP is using for The Tox Files. Next month (mark your calendars for February 7th!!), you’ll see the OHMYWORD! cover for Crown of Souls (Sept 2017). BTW: Rel Mollet saw it and forgot there was actually a story to go with it. Susan May Warren saw it and volunteered to be rescued by Tox anytime.

I’ve worked hard through the years to develop my brand, and that is readily identifiable in my plots (complex, compelling, intense), my writing style, and the covers themselves.

What do you think of these? I’ll number them, so you can comment below with ease–and VOTE to win a Tox Files mug and an autographed copy of CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE!! (Open to U.S. Readers only–sorry, but the shipping costs on a mug would be awful).

Alternate Cover #1


1.) Wow!! I hadn’t seen this until Randy B. BHP/BPG sent it to me yesterday. I’m super impressed with it–absolutely gorgeous. But I think I see why I never saw a mock-up. It’s probably the farthest from the RONIE KENDIG – Rapid-Fire Fiction brand. Also, it brings to mind a speculative story for some reason. That’s probably just me–maybe it’s the fonts and hues? It’s pretty awesome, though.


Alternate Cover #2

#2) LOVE the hues in this one. Though the hero’s face is nice, it doesn’ seem to work here. Overall, this is the closest to what I’d originally hoped for in a cover…and yet, I can see how it’s not a “Ronie” Cover.


Alternate Cover #3

3.) Okay, I can’t find anything that–to me–doesn’t work for the cover and story. Personally, I love gold/red hues in a cover. That and the “chilling” pale blue tones.



Alternate Cover #4

4.) Bam! There are the red/gold hues I love. But I the hero so front/center doesn’t really work for me. But I’m totally loving that ‘wave of fire’ behind the titling. And the gradation of color for The Tox Files. I also really like the font for my name better in this one. And yet, there’s something a little “commercial” about this cover, which feels ironic to say. Dunno.



Alternate Cover #5

5.) Okay, dudes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Jason Bourne feel to this cover. And yet…maybe that was what had the BHP team veer off, since the story is more paramilitary. But yeah. I’m in love. Haha. Note that the font of the title and my name are what translated into the final cover.

Alt Cover #6


6.) I really the more muted tones on this, but what I absolutely love on this one is the addition of the Codex on the bottom left.

I think that might be my only “disappointment” (perhaps too strong of a word) regarding my covers–The Warrior’s Seal, Conspiracy of Silence, and the soon-to-be-released Crown of Souls)–that there is no hint of the artifact that Wraith is out to recover.


Alternate Cover #7

7.) TAH-DAH!! ALMOST. haha. This is the final cover, but in a black/white alternative.




And to be fair – the final, perfect cover for





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Comments 43

  1. Stephanie C.

    I really like #4. Partly because it is similar to the final but mostly because I absolutely love the fire swirl.

    Thank you,
    Stephanie C.

  2. Chelsea

    So I loved the cover that came with Conspiracy. BUT if you’d seen these beforehand, I really think 6 could have worked as well. It’s just got this feel to it and (like you mentioned) it also kind of showcases the Codex

  3. Alison Routley

    I voted for #3 because it gives a wider glimpse of the narrative than focusing on the hero Tox does. I also like the colors and the fact that Ronie’s name is so prominent. I haven’t read Conspiracy yet but can’t wait to do so. I’ve never been disengaged or disappointed while reading one of Ronie’s books. Congratulations on this new series.

  4. Cindy Tuohy

    I think that #7 is the perfect cover. It is simple and yet you can see what is “inside the story” by this cover. The intense look, the setting…..Very well done! Good choice.

  5. Valerie McDonald

    Conspiracy of Silence is at the top of my current must-read list, and while I LOVE the final cover chosen, I must say that #5 is a close second for me. If I were unfamiliar with Ronie’s books, the cover and back description would have me picking this up in a heartbeart!

  6. Rosalyn

    I like #3 because it seems to have the feel of the story. I love the coloring, the action, and all the details. Saying all that, I also love the actual cover of the book! And I can’t wait until I get to continue this story! 🙂

  7. Susan P

    Oh wow! I am stunned by all of those! That is one reason I could never do cover art because I would never be able to come up with a final design because I’d be drooling over them all. LOL. I thought the same things as you did with each of them. The “Bourne-like” ones, the “commercial” feeling of the other, etc. I agree – the flame like flow behind #4 is super cool!!

  8. Connie Hendryx

    I liked #5 because of the sense of movement (like you said, Bourne-feel). I haven’t read the book yet…can’t wait!!!

  9. Marylin Furumasu

    I really like number 7 because it matches with the look of “The Warrior’s Seal.” Yet if I had to pick another I’d pick 3 because I like the look and the color combinations.

  10. Kim Potter

    I chose #4 as a good alternate. The colors are really good and I like how he’s looking up. (Maybe looking for help from above? 😉

  11. Eli O.

    My favorite is still the final cover. But out of the non-winners, #5 is my favorite for the very reason you mentioned–its Jason Bourne feel.

  12. Sarah Penner

    I love them all, but I think the one that stands out most to me is #6. Even before I read your caption, the codex popped. Plus, I love that Tox is running. It tells a bit of the urgency in the book. Tells the reader that it’s a fast-paced read, so strap in. 🙂 I love the one they went with though, it’s a total RFF book cover!

  13. Steffani

    #4 is the only other one that really feels like it could have been a ‘Ronie cover’. All of the others, though very nice, don’t scream ‘this is a Ronie Kendig book’ to me. So #4 gets my vote. Though I’m very happy the cover they actually went with was chosen!! It’s perfect!!

  14. Evelyn

    They all have their good aspects, though I agree the first one doesn’t have the right feel. If you could combine the coloring and the codex on #6 and the background and face on the final version…

  15. Jodi Jansen

    Number 6! But then I look back at the true cover and I go ahhhh, yes. Love what they did with the lighting contrast, it just intesifies the look on his face.

  16. Katie Donovan

    Ooooh! Love this post! I agree with your comment about the speculative feel to #1 – the font definitely gives it that feel. I think #3, #4, and #6 are my favourites among the also-rans. But LOVE the cover it has .

    Can’t wait for Crown of Souls reveal!!!

  17. Melissa

    Number 1. I like the colors and the running through the arch. I can see where it doesn’t match your brand though. I still like it though.

  18. Melodie

    I like #2 — it provides a feel for the setting and the character. However, I would have preferred a “natural” face instead of the blue tones.

  19. Sherrie Phillips

    I like the one that your editor picked. It gives us a visual to go by for the main character, and shows where the story is taking place. I like the coloring, as it looks military and a bit suspenseful.

  20. Dede

    I haven’t read Conspiracy of Silence yet, but I like alternate #1 because of the old-world feel of it. I’m looking forward to reading more of your books!

  21. Dy

    I chose number 6 because of the Codex, but I really like #7 in the black and white best of the chosen one. I like the face presented to the audience not going away from. 7 wasn’t a voice for me.

  22. Teresa S.

    I just love # 1. Can’t say exactly why but something about it just speaks to me! They are all awesome. You could not have gone wrong with any of them.

  23. Amy

    #6 – Because of the very reasons you listed – the muted colors and Codex being included. I do however like the fire swirl title in #4. But honestly, I’m glad the final cover was chosen. Cole’s handsome mug would make any one pick it up :-). Absolutely perfect!

  24. Jaquelyn

    I think the publisher chose the best! #3 totally reminds me of a Lynette Eason book cover! I think the running was what threw me off of the other covers. Tox is too awesome and stealthy for that. Lol.

  25. Sara R.

    I like #3 of the preliminary covers. Your publisher did a great job of keeping with your brand on the final cover. I look forward to seeing the new book in person.

  26. Hope C

    I chose # 6 because I like the Codex in it, but the final cover really does fit your “style” and makes the book recognizable as one of your works. I haven’t had a chance to read Conspiracy of Silence yet, but I am looking forward to it. I would love to win a copy!

  27. Gloria

    I voted for the publisher’s choice but I kept going back to number 2. I don’t know why but I thought it sort of covered the bases. I haven’t read Conspiracy yet. On my “to read” list.

  28. Kate Spurgeon

    The publisher’s choice works – the mystery or watching of his eyes. I see why it was chosen. My next choice would be #6, the codex as mentioned but also the build/stance of the male pulling you in to want to select this book to purchase.

  29. Delores Topliff

    An author friend of mine is letting me read her advance copy of this book and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve visited Israel 6 times for 89 days and teach Hist. of Ancient Israel and also Biblical Archaeology (& other courses) at the college level. This is the first of your books that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. You’re doing great work!

    1. Post

      Oh my gracious!! What a beautiful expertise you have there. I’m a bit envious!! Thank you for your very kind words about what and how I’m writing! So very encouraging coming from you!

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