Judge a book by its cover? You bet.

Author Nancy LiPetri’s guest blog discusses the story behind the cover of her new novel, The Wooded Path.

With the recent re-release of The Wooded Path has come an unexpected wave of new attention, questions and, yes, book sales. Fellow authors ask what’s stirring up excitement for this novel this time around, and readers ask what’s different and why.

When the first edition was released by a traditional publisher in 2014, it had a cover depicting a misty, rough path through trees. I loved the image at the time because it looked like the actual path through woods that inspired the story set on Lake Norman, North Carolina. The book gained a following, gave me many wonderful “Castle moments” at signings and such, then after the publisher passed away in 2018, went out of print. Last I checked, there are just a couple of paperbacks still offered by sellers wanting laughable collectible prices.

While the comments I received on that first cover were that it looked mysterious, intriguing and peaceful, I came to realize it did not accurately convey what kind of story the reader should expect. Sure, the tale does include a mysterious disappearance and you find answers at the end, so the perception of mystery is appropriate, however, some readers expected the book to fit the mystery genre, which it does not. Just as a cover depicting a shirtless hunk would call attention to the sensual aspects of the story, leading to expectations of fitting the romance genre, the trees just didn’t do the complete job.

Nancy LiPetri

My stories are categorized as contemporary fiction and women’s fiction, the definition of which says “may be layered with elements of mystery and romance but the plot is driven by the main character’s emotional journey toward personal growth.” So now I have a cover image that says you’re going to get up close and personal, into the mind of a red-haired green-eyed character who is experiencing turmoil/confusion/drama. It emphasizes the character, yet keeps some trees in the messy hair to maintain that tie which is so symbolic in the story.

What else is different about this second edition? It has the series name on the front. The format is a smaller trade paperback size, resulting in 237 pages, with a matte finish. Most unexpectedly, some owners of the first edition got the second edition for the new look and feel. I’m humbled! They must have more shelf space than this down-sized midlifer does. And I’m thrilled they say they’re re-reading Book One to prepare for Book Two in the series.

So whether or not a reader sees my cover art exactly the same way I do, as long as they see something in it that makes them want to find out more about the story, I know it has done its job beautifully.

Find Nancy and her novels at:






Please click HERE to find The Wooded Path on Amazon.

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  • Nancy LiPetri

    Thanks so much to the Pirtles for sharing my re-release!

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