Cover Talk with R.C. Lewis

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 is super-special because she's also my critique partner and my keeper - which means she takes care of my reality-based needs, like reminding me periodically of what time zone I live in. RC has an amazing debut in STITCHING SNOW, which I'm allowed to say because I was with her through editing and have probably read it at least four times - and I liked it every time.

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

Not really. I thought a girl-in-a-dress cover might be a little strange given my main character—her personality and her circumstances—but beyond that didn’t have any ideas.

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

During the first round of edits, my editor mentioned they were thinking of incorporating an apple somehow in the cover design. Nothing detailed, but it gave me a little idea.

Did you have any input on your cover?

Sort of? My editor sent an early rough version of the concept—what they would give to the illustrator they hired to show the direction they wanted—and asked what I thought. I loved it, sooooo ... I didn’t have much else to say.

How was your cover revealed to you?

My editor emailed it to me and my agent.

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

My editor told me I could reveal it anytime after January 15, and that it would be sent to various places like Amazon, B&N, etc. about a month after that. So I did a reveal with YABooksCentral on January 22.

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

The early comp was sent back at the end of Summer 2013, and the pretty-much-final version was emailed at the end of November.

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

Kind of! A few people knew I had my cover and were really anxious to see it, so I had to do a lot of “Soon, I promise!”

What surprised you most about the process?

I’m not sure anything really surprised me. My publisher didn’t like the results of the first illustrator they hired (I never saw that version), so they went with someone else and tried again. It was nice to see they were willing to make extra effort to ensure we got the best possible result.

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

Don’t think about it too much? That’s kind of what worked for me. It helps when you love a lot of your publisher’s other covers, because then you have confidence they’ll do a good job for you. If you do have issues with your cover (and I have several friends who’ve experienced that), talk to your agent before sending a rant to your editor. If you and your agent decide it’s appropriate to speak up, either let your agent handle it, or make sure you voice your concerns in a calm, logical manner. Above all else, covers are a business tool, so rationality speaks louder than emotion, I think.