Well, lots. Because even though I haven’t shared the cover for Chasing the Sun yet, I’ve seen it. It’s finalized and perfect and more beautiful than I ever could’ve imagined. Every once in a while, I open the file on my desktop just to see it and smile. Any day now, you’ll see it, too.
In the meantime, I thought I’d write about the book cover design process. Before I went through it, I had a lot of the same questions that many first-time authors and aspiring authors have:
How involved will I be in the design?
What happens if I don’t like my cover?
Why in the world does it take so long?
Can I get away with printing it on a giant canvas so I can hang it over my desk?
These things all vary from author to author and publisher to publisher, but in my case, the first cover concept I saw for my cover was beautifully, intricately crafted, but it didn’t really fit my idea of a Chasing the Sun cover. Briefly, after opening the file, I panicked. I wondered if it was just me: was I too attached to the book to be subjective? I consulted my husband, close friends, (and the Debs, of course) and my agent, who all encouraged me to speak to my editor about seeing new cover concepts.
Having read that authors often have no say in the cover design, I was hesitant. But it turned out I had no reason to be. My editor was not only understanding, but completely open to feedback. I’m not a designer by any means, so I kept my suggestions focused more on the tone I was hoping for rather than actual visuals. Articulating my ideas proved difficult; I found myself saying horrible things like, “I’d love to see something less dark, but not overly colorful.” (The freelancer in me cringed. Was I becoming THAT client?) On a whim, at the last minute I decided to send my publisher a link to my Chasing the Sun Pinterest board, just to help convey the mood. It contains images that the evoke the setting, themes, and characters in the book.
Weeks later, I received not just one, but several completely new cover designs. I was blown away—all of them could have made amazing covers for my novel. But there was one that took my breath away the moment I saw it; it felt like instant recognition of a face I was only seeing for the first time. To my surprise, the designer had not only viewed my Pinterest board, but actually used one of the images for this new cover. That’s the one, I thought. I just knew it.
And my editor agreed.
I realize I’m lucky that my publisher included me in the cover design process, which was fascinating and eye-opening. Countless people are involved, from the designer to the editor to the marketing and sales team to the managing editor and legal department. Cover concepts need to be approved and deemed marketable, artwork and licenses need to be sorted out, tweaks to typefaces and tiny details (like the amazing glimmer in the O in Lori’s cover for The Black Hour) need to be obsessed over because sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.
So that’s what’s been going on with my cover. Maybe it’s taken a little longer than planned, but to me, the wait has been well worth it.
And in case you’re wondering which image from my Pinterest board they ended up using, I promise: you’ll find out soon enough.