26 July 2013 by Published in: Uncategorized 10 comments

As most of my loyal readership knows, left to my own devices with covers, I’m like a hobo in a big box liquor store with a fifty dollar bill. Except slightly better dressed and groomed. Most of the time. Unless I’m hungover. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

And so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been tweaking the covers for the Assassin series. The first in that epic saga, King of Swords, is not only free for a limited time, but also has gotten a makeover. I messed with a lot of images on this one, including sticking a sniper in various quadrants, but in the end went with the simplest design, because it’s the most striking. I’ll post the also ran as well just so you can see where I was going with it.

Why am I fixing what ain’t broke? Because I want a more refined look for the series by the time we move into the Fall selling season. It’s not that I didn’t like the old covers, because I really did. It’s just that I like this approach better. Looks higher tech. More visually interesting. And most importantly, these new covers really stand out when seen on Amazon next to similar books in the genre. And that’s the main thing. We’re in a retail world, and in retail, it’s visual appeal on the shelf that gets the reader’s interest. You have to grab em in the first two seconds and convey genre, mood, level of sophistication, etc. or they flip right past you. To stop the reader, you need curb appeal. And I think the new covers have that.

First, we have the final one I went with:

King of Swords Small (1)NEW

Again, the goal was clean, simple, and direct.

Here’s the also ran, which I almost went with:

King of Swords 5b6 (2)

Now, never mind that the sniper looks a little like a scarface Chuck Norris (is that just me?) I can work with that. I just felt, in the end, that the cover was trying to convey too much in a glance, and was too busy. Maybe I’m wrong. I can always switch them if my first choice falls flat.

So what’s next? All the rest of that series will get the same treatment over the next few weeks. Oh, and I’ve hired one of the top male cover models to do a set of shots for my new one, BLACK, which should release end of August, and which I’m HUGELY excited about. Not just because of how it’s written, which is sort of Elmore Leonard/Dashiel Hammet meets Geronimo Breach with more humor, although I’m pretty stoked about how it turned out. No, it’s because the concept for the cover is so damned cool. I have high hopes for this new series, and I’ve already written book 2 and am working on book 3. The plan is to have four in that series out by Xmas, and a new JETJET VI. That’s aggressive, especially given the project I’m currently working on, but I think I can make it. Guess we’ll all find out.




  1. Fri 26th Jul 2013 at 4:44 pm


    Definitely stick with the top choice. You’re right. It pops where the one below it is too busy.
    I can’t wait until BLACK comes out!


  2. yoon
    Fri 26th Jul 2013 at 8:17 pm

    That’s strange. When did that circle become blue? When I just read this post in feedly, it was green.

    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 26th Jul 2013 at 8:44 pm

      I changed it to blue because Night looks better with its color scheme in green. So King’s now blue. Night looks pretty cool now. I’ll upload it shortly.

  3. Fri 26th Jul 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Blue looks good too.
    You know, the more I look at that second one the more I’m happy you didn’t choose it. The assassin looks nothing like El Rey. He’s old and has jowls. Looks more like my father-in-law from Ecuador. Not that there’s anything wrong with jowls, or aging and all that, but El Rey is young.

    • colle  –  Sat 27th Jul 2013 at 12:19 am

      As long as you’re keeping busy, happy and inebriated I’m perfectly happy with your choice. I do prefer the less cluttered version so glad you choose it.

      • Collette  –  Sat 27th Jul 2013 at 8:23 pm

        The comment above was mine. Guess tequila gets us all at times. Haha

  4. Sun 28th Jul 2013 at 9:41 am

    Good choice. Less is more when it comes to art that must look good in a thumbnail.
    Only releasing one new series before XMas.
    Sad 2 c u r slacking again 🙂

  5. Sat 10th Aug 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Please work your cute little butt off and get the next book out before I take vacation the 24th August.
    I’m suffering from withdrawal ….
    I know, I know, get a life but I LOVE your books.

    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 16th Aug 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Well, I’m hard at work, but BLACK won’t be ready for prime time till Sept 5 or so. Lo Siento…

  6. Sat 17th Aug 2013 at 12:01 am

    I will still be on vacation…up in Florida. PERFECT!


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