For some reason I find it impossible to avoid hyperbole in my post titles. And everything else, for that matter. Universe: please do not kill me over this cover.
Anyhoo… if we’re just meeting for the first time, I wrote this book, see, and it has THE WORLD’S MOST GORGEOUS COVER.
Here it is. If you don’t like it, you are cray. That is to say so crazy you cannot even spell crazy.
I love this cover for so many reasons, and one of them is that it is NOT what I would have chosen if I had been in charge of the process.
If I were in charge, I would have picked something brainy and quiet. There would probably be the bottom half of a girl in a vintage dress and she would be darning something, and all the colors would be muted and blah and even owning the book would be a huge downer. In fact, I actually told my editor I loved nighttime covers. Never mind that exactly two scenes in the book take place after 5pm, there are no vintage clothes, there is nothing muted about the beauty of coastal Maine, and my writing is neither brainy nor quiet. Never mind a lot of things. Ever heard of Body Dysmorphic Disorder? I have Novel Dysmorphic Disorder. I have no idea what my book looks like to the outside world.
This is why I am not an art director.
Luckily my editor did as I asked her when she first asked me for my thoughts about covers: ignored my bad ideas.
Which brings me to this amazing thing I learned when I first started out in the book business: authors really don’t have much to do with their covers. Basically, most authors get up or down votes, and, in a pinch, a veto.
At 21, in my uncomfortable shoes and ill-fitting Ann Taylor blazer, this fact blew my mind. Somehow I’d gotten the idea that authors, from the lowliest debut author with no track record to the superstar bestseller with millions of copies under her belt, basically roughed out sketches of how they wanted their covers to look, delivered them to their publisher, and the publisher Made It So.
Hahahahah, ah ha, ha ha ha… sigh.
If that were the case the bookstore would be the ugliest place in the world. Sorry fellow authors, but have you seen what you are wearing right now? Hint: IT IS PAJAMA PANTS. Here is how it really is: Sometimes authors and art directors have a meeting of the minds. Sometimes art directors think bigger than their authors, as in my case. Sometimes something gets lost in translation and cover and contents are in conflict. Sometimes–maybe usually?– there’s some aspect of all three outcomes all on one 8×5 piece of cardstock.
But cover design is a rigged game. No matter how winning, appealing, or original, I’ve yet to find a cover that every single reader loves. Not even mine. So. If I called you crazy at the beginning of this post–if you, for whatever reason, don’t like my cover, know this: it had nothing to do with me.
Lucky for us all.