Cover Reveal: The Bystanders by Dawn Major

Finally! My long awaited, massively agonized over, painfully extracted both for my cover designer, myself, and my family and friends who heard me lament over the process of deciding on a cover, finally, my cover is here. My cover, MY COVER, my cover is here!

You are questioning why such an apparently simple design would cause so much grief and anxiety? Well, it is my first book. Nerves all around. In the end, I had a real heart-to-heart with myself. I said, “Self, what covers have stuck with you in your lifetime, what covers do you remember, and automatically associate with an author or title?” And in a less than a second, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger flashed before my eyes. Clean, classic, and utterly unforgettable. If Sherwin-Williams doesn’t already have Salinger Red as a paint color, they need one. Plus, The Bystanders, like The Catcher in the Rye, is a dark coming-of-age story.

Weeks and weeks of pouring over art and photographs, losing one, and then another cover designer who I had exhausted with my vision–my VISIONbombarding them with emails, peppered with photos and detailed explanations of said photos is OVER! I was told, “It cannot be done,” this vision of mine, “unless you hire models and create the scene.” Well, who has the money for that? I am no Grady Hendrix (God Bless him) who can not only charge for book signings but actually sells out. My book isn’t even out and I’m spending money?? Just so you know, the publisher was willing to pay for the cover. I wanted it now and I wanted the impossible.

So here is what I have learned recently about book cover designs. You can let your publisher choose, you can make suggestions to your publisher which may be taken into consideration (or not), you can hire an artist to illustrate your vision and those prices can vary depending on who you hire, you can go to one of those sites where you enter your concept and get cover designers to compete for your design (do note you must pay up front), you can go to one of those sites that offer well-priced but overdone cover designs, you can exhaust three cover designers until they tell you that it cannot be done (BINGO!), or you can do what I did which is most of the above.

Alternatively, you can keep it simple, and then go back to the one cover designer, Mandy Haynes from Three Dog Write Press, who listened to your vision with the patience of Job, who put up with your barrage of emails, I’m talking full-scale, air raid emails on nonstop attack for weeks–Let’s just call it for what it was: “Operation Destroy All Good Will”–and come up with this little gem of a cover in, yes, Salinger Red. Classic, Clean, Unforgettable. Mandy is also an author and publisher, so she gets it. You will be in good hands. But please to no deploy “Operation Destroy All Good Will” on her. The patience of Job, I say!

The Bystanders and Moonshine Publishing: Publication date is April 7th, 2023. Share the good news!

Comments (



  1. Mandy Haynes

    Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
    Congratulations to Dawn Major on her upcoming debut novel, THE BYSTANDERS, and for keeping her great sense of humor through it all. I’m so proud to know her and I can not wait to hold her book in my hands!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dawn

      Thanks, sweetie!


  2. lshennan

    Congratulations Dawn Major , you’re amazing, live the cover

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lshennan

      Love the cover

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dawn

      Ahhh. Thanks!


  3. southernliteraryreview

    The cover looks terrrific!


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