Cover Reveal for RECORD SCRATCH by J.J. Hensley

Ah, book covers. They can be such a source of stress for traditionally published authors who may have a limited amount of control of what image graces the cover of his or her book. Of course, by the time my first novel got picked up for publication, my wife and I had all sorts of ideas and were more than willing to share them with the publisher. When I finally got the long-awaited email letting me know it was time to select the cover art, I let them know our mental warehouse was overflowing with concepts. Fantastic concepts. Brilliant concepts. The publisher let me know the warehouse could remain locked up, was in a bad neighborhood anyway, and that perhaps it was a good idea for me to set fire to it in order to collect the insurance money.

However, they did let me know they had five draft covers they were considering. I asked if I could see them and they reluctantly sent them my way. I told them I preferred the one with the black background and yellow font. As you can see, my opinion was invaluable.

The relative success of my first book let to a two book deal with another publisher. A few months prior to the publication date of my second novel, the publisher contacted me to let me know it was time to select the cover art. Not one to step into the same pool of quicksand twice, I wished them luck with the selection process. They replied back and wanted to know if I had any ideas I wanted to share.

I excitedly rushed to my wife and said, “They want our ideas for the cover art!”

She said, “That’s great! Do we have any ideas?”

I said, “…No!”

But, we eventually came up with a concept and I hurriedly sent it off to the publisher. The next night I realized I had discussed the overall concept, but never mentioned the color scheme we envisioned. When I told them that black and yellow was the way to go, they apologetically told me they had already sent it off to the cover artist and since they knew I must like black and red, that’s the direction they chose.


By the time the release date of the third book was approaching, the black and red covers had become my brand, at least in the region. So, my third book was black and red and I assumed that would be the case for all eternity.

Then I signed on with Down and Out Books and I made a few suggestions for the cover of my novel Bolt Action Remedy. They politely ignored my dumbass ideas and cranked out an awesome cover.

This time around I kept my mouth shut, didn’t submit any ideas, and kept the faith. In my opinion, my faith was not unjustified. Here is the cover of my second Trevor Galloway novel, Record Scratch.

This book will be released in October 2018 through Down and Out Books. You can follow me on Facebook at, on Twitter (@JJHensleyauthor), or through my Goodreads and Amazon pages to get the latest updates on the preorder and publication dates! And check out my blog Yinz to Y’all (


J.J. Hensley