My cover continues to make people talk. This is fantastic. And a little annoying. Fantastic because it sure does catch the eye. Annoying because most of the time, people who are upset by it are talking about the WRONG cover! In a previous entry, “Judging My Book By Its Cover,” I explained that when the ARC came out, some people were offended by the girl’s skirt length, so the skirt was altered. I don’t mind. I mean, I like it both ways, but if the new one will make people more likely to recommend the book, then longer is better. The annoying thing is that the old image continues to be used in blogs that chatter endlessly about how they couldn’t possibly read my book because of the skirt. Apparently, too much leg in a photo = a crappy book. Um, okay. But to reiterate, they’re looking at the wrong cover. Sigh.
I consider my cover intriguing and sexy and terrific. And bit of “buyers beware.” This ain’t your grandmother’s Hamlet. Innocent? Not my Ophelia. Prude? Nope. Coy? You must be kidding. It’s a clear message to anyone looking for a stodgy re-telling of Hamlet to move on. It’s also clear to parents that the content is for older kids. I’m glad about this. As a parent and a teacher, I like to know what a book might be offering up.
FALLING FOR HAMLET was reviewed by the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/books/review/shakespeare-and-austen-updated.html?_r=2&src=tp (I’m so excited by this that I had to fit it in . . . but my name dropping, “yay me” moment really does have a point.) The article talked in large part about girls, romance, and sex. It commended my frank approach to the subject. But the funny thing is, there’s not a lot of sex in my book. The body count vs. scenes of intimacy is tipped way on the side of blood and gore. Even funnier is that an entire paragraph of the Times article focuses on a scene about sex that my editor and I discussed dropping. Well, I asked about cutting it multiple times. I wrote it, but writing about something so real and intimate made me uncomfortable. See, I, like much of America, am more at ease with murder and trauma than sex. And yet, a girl is much more likely to have to negotiate a physical relationship with her boyfriend than deal with a boyfriend who’s possibly insane and definitely a murderer. Not once, however, did I ask my editor if the body count was too high or offer to change the plot based on there being too much violence. Sad, but true.
So back to the cover. Today on the street, I bet there were at least a couple of girls who had skirts shorter than Ophelia’s originalcover skirt. In real life, people probably didn’t point or gasp or try to cover her up. Tween and teen girls watch pop stars on TV who are nearly naked shaking their moneymakers, and we accept it. Why is a book so very different? Why do we accept in real life that which we do not in print? And why is book violence fine but a healthy sexual relationship is not? I don’t know.
What I do know is my cover has people talking. And I love that. So grab my book for the cover. Stay for the story.