A Toddler's Dream... What Getting Your Debut Cover Is Like, With Renee April

I love talking to authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you – you’re an author. The cover is your story – and you – packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.

Today's guest for the CRAP is Renee April, author of Her Crown of Fire. In addition to being an avid reader and writer, she streams games badly on Twitch and acts as dungeon master for her D&D group. As a result, she spends far too much time in fantasy realms.

Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?

I did without meaning to. I’d see beautiful covers in the shops, or on Goodreads and I was like, oh man, I hope mine looks something like that. But I thought about it in very me terms, like ‘I hope it has fire’ or ‘are wind-swept dresses overdone?’ It’s like asking a toddler to describe a dream they’ve had.

How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?

Almost a year. Images were tossed back and forth, I took pictures of covers on my bookshelf that I liked (and my publisher was very patient throughout this). It all happened very fast considering, and I was blown away by the end result.

Did you have any input on your cover?

I was able to describe the general tone of it (see toddler dream description above), and chuck a couple of comparison covers in for consideration. Way more input than I thought I’d have.

How was your cover revealed to you?

I got an email at 2:03am with lots of exclamation marks and a file attachment. I opened it at 4:50am and couldn’t breathe until about 5am. It was terrifying and exhilarating and I think I’m (weirdly) addicted to book covers now.

Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?

There was! April 8th it was sprung to the world (it may have been April 7th for the rest of the world). I was on my laptop mashing refresh every few seconds. The love and compliments were pouring in and I was so happy. One of the best days ever.

_Have some comparison covers ready. If you don’t like something speak up early._ Renee April, On Cover design.png

How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?

I saw early drafts back in January this year, so again, almost a year before the book is due out. I held onto the cover itself for two months before the release.

Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?

YES. I had it saved as an image on my phone and I’d often sneak a peek at it, especially on days where it all seemed very hard and I needed a boost to remember why I was doing this. After the reveal I put it up as my desktop background.

What surprised you most about the process?

I honestly felt that, at any time, I could turn around and say ‘no, I don’t like this at all’ and I would be heard. I was also mega-impressed with how they managed to capture the essence of this book into an image. I always thought water over fire couldn’t be pulled off without it looking gaudy, but everything about it – the sparks, the colouring, the shape around the title – all speaks to the overall theme and feel of the novel inside.

Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?

It’s fine to have pre-conceived notions of what the cover should look like, but don’t get in the way of the artist doing their job. Have some comparison covers ready. If you don’t like something speak up early. Remember that what you’ve got in your head won’t necessarily end up on your cover – if it’s anything like mine, it’ll be way better than you’ve dared to hope.