I love talking to my fellow 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.
Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?
Before I get to that, have I mentioned how much I enjoy Mindy’s acronyms? Anyway, pre-conceived notions. It might sound weird, but no. And here’s why. I’d already been through the cover art thing with my first novel, and understood that I would have little to no input on the cover, whether I liked it or not.
Sure, my editor asked for my thoughts and what I did and didn’t want, but I didn’t believe her! So I kept my mind blank. What did it matter? I was going to get, what I was going to get. But then I got the art for ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and realized, well, that was exactly what I wanted. So I trusted them with GIRL OF NIGHTMARES, because, hey, they were trustworthy.
I’m trying to keep my “mind is a blank” philosophy for my next series. I’m failing.
How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?
Hmm. Hard to remember. I saw the early cover for GIRL OF NIGHTMARES in October 2011, and it pubs in August, so we must’ve started talking about it about a year in advance.
Did you have any input on your cover?
When my editor asked me to fill out the cover questionnaire, (character descriptions, locations, other covers I liked, etc.) she asked what I absolutely did not want to see, and said she would try to stay in line with that. I appreciated this greatly.
And I said no faces. No big faces. Because it would’ve been Anna’s face, and that would’ve been a big, dead face. Hey wait, that sounds neat.
How was your cover revealed to you?
Sent via email. Although for the final cover of GIRL, my Tor author pal Kiki Hamilton actually got hold of it first and snuck me a peek. Shh. Keep that on the DL.
Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?
No. My editor sent it to me and said it was final, and that I could blast it around where I liked. Of course then the cover for GIRL changed, and I was sent a revised image to blast around wherever I liked.
How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?
I saw a concept sketch for GIRL in…September? I think. I never saw a concept sketch for ANNA, but I did see a few early drafts, when they couldn’t figure out what to do with her hair.
Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?
My editor cleverly avoided that problem by only letting me see it when it could be released. Does this mean she has no faith in my restraint?
What surprised you most about the process?
Honestly, the beauty of the covers. I actually had a nightmare about it at one point, that they’d decided to go with an Encyclopedia cover, and when I cried, my editor said, You’d better get on board, or I’m dropping you.
Good thing it was only a nightmare.
Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?
No! Ha, ha. But seriously, no. Freaking out is part of the inaugural process. And nothing that I say is going to stop you from doing it. So embrace it. Burn incense to the cover gods. Bite your nails. Hold chant circles. And if you get a cover you hate…take several hours to flip to people you know and love. But only those people! Then talk about your issues calmly with your agent, who will then talk about the issues with your publisher.
It can often be changed!