I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! Today, I’m cheating a bit. I’m posting an entry written for the Uncommon YA website (www.uncommonya.com). The topic was assigned to me – cover love. If you’ve ever been in a roomful of authors with upcoming or recently released books, you know covers are a big thing. Here is my post on the topic:
For months, I read about other authors’ first peek at their book covers. Some loved them, some hated them, and some seemed totally confused by them. Naturally, all of this cover convo made me contemplate my own reaction. I wanted to love it. I really, really wanted to love it. I couldn’t, however, picture it in my mind. I’m in awe of people who can take the whole of a book and condense a sense of it into a single image.
I am a perpetual book browser. A fair percentage of my life has been spent roaming the aisles of bookstores. I thought about what drew me to certain book covers over others. I thought back on my days as a school librarian and what covers drew kids to books. Still, I couldn’t picture what my book’s cover might look like.
Then I got the e-mail from my editor. After trying and discarding a couple of other ideas, the team had settled on a cover and wanted to know what I thought. I opened the file and as it slowly unrolled (you know one of those ‘this is taking forever’ moments that really only lasts about three seconds), my heart sank.
Did I LOVE my cover?
Did I like my cover?
Did I want to throw myself on the floor and vow to never write again?
I told Jackie the cover really didn’t appeal to me. She understood. She went back to the cover design people. There was some tweaking here and there. Some subtle and some not so subtle color changes were made. The PDFs were piling up. I shared one of the PDFs with my agent. She liked it. I shared it with a couple of friends. They liked it. (Well, they said they liked it. I couldn’t tell if they really liked it or if they wanted to be supportive.) Weeks later, I saw the final design. The train was still there. The little sign was still there. The scroll stuff around the title that reminds me of a story of the Old West was still there. After a month, had the image won over my heart? No.
So what’s a girl to do when there is just no cover love in her heart? I switched my focus to trust. The people who designed the cover have much more knowledge of book covers and marketing than I do. My editor and publisher have more knowledge of cover design than I do. They have a stake in my book and want it to succeed too. So I choose to put my faith in their expertise.
Trust. It’s a beautiful thing.