Back in October, I introduced you to my new title, KATERINA’S WISH.
Now, allow me to introduce you to Katerina. She looks like this:
Kinda cute, isn’t she? You can call her Trina if you like, all her friends do. I received this cover image in early November, along with another image, of the full cover, front and back:
After having a month to reflect, here are the top five things I LOVE about this cover:
The way the title is incorporated into the scene with the curving font, as if the wind that blows the dandelion fluff blows the title as well
The care the illustrator took to include many small details from the story
The character is shown in silhouette, giving readers the freedom to shape their own image of Trina in their minds.
The vibrant colors, that are going to make this book jump off the shelf and into readers’ hands.
The fact that the Magic Carp still has a place on the cover, even if it isn’t in the title anymore.
That’s a lot to love! Upon emailing this cover to friends and relatives, I received replies within minutes, raving about all these points. One of my favorites said:
WOW, HOW COOL! THAT’S MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN I COULD’VE IMAGINED. YOU MUST BE OVER THE MOON. CONGRATULATIONS!
I read it and thought, over the moon? Am I? Oh dear.
Because I wasn’t. I wanted to be, but really I was just sort of numb.
Receiving my cover image was a moment I had waited for eagerly. A cover seemed like the moment that was going to make it feel real, because once there is a cover, you can actually start picturing it as a BOOK instead of a manuscript. So, I was filled with excitement/joy/fear/hope/excitement/fear when I got home from work and found an email waiting for me, with the subject line “Cover!”
Before opening the attachment, I called my son over from the sofa for the “unveiling.” For better or worse, I didn’t want to be alone.
I clicked on the jpeg and waited in silence for it to open….
“Oh.” I said.
I have talked to authors who loved their covers, and to authors who hated them. I’ve heard about shrieks of delight and moans of absolute horror. So I was expecting a wave of strong emotion. My reaction could better be described as an Out-of-Body-Experience. This beautiful image opened, with this picture of a total stranger sitting under a tree, by a pond, and my logical mind thought, “Oh, it’s lovely and contains many details from my book.” But my emotional self floated dispassionately away, saying, “That’s a nice cover for somebody, but what does it have to do with me?”
It’s like when you get to know someone named Pat via email, and then after a year you finally meet Pat, only to discover that the “Pat” in your mind was a 6 foot tall bearded python wrestler, when in reality Pat is a petite lady with a perfect manicure. And you have nothing against Pat and her lovely nails. But when you meet her, you say, “Oh.” And your emotional self floats away, saying “But what does this person have to do with pythons?”
Mind you, I never envisioned Trina as a bearded python wrestler. The image on the cover doesn’t NOT look like her. It’s just that I never had an actual image of her before. I saw my story from a first person perspective, seeing the world through her eyes, so this was my first moment of being pulled into the third person perspective of seeing her from the outside. Plus, my mind just wasn’t ready for the whole idea that My book was actually going to be a BOOK. So the net impact of all those factors in that one glorious moment?
Fortunately, I had my son (and soon after my husband) telling me it was great, and congratulations and excitement started coming in from other quarters. Unfortunately, though, the Worry Monster and the Suck Monkey dropped in for a nightcap late that evening.
“Sure, it’s pretty, but no teacher is going to want to use it in the classroom with such a girly cover,” said Worry Monster. “And that’s really the only chance your book had.”
“Exactly,” agreed Suck Monkey. “And what’s up with those unfashionable boots Trina’s wearing? Kids today don’t want to read about ugly footwear.”
“With a cartoony-looking cover, no one’s ever going to take you seriously as a writer,” Worry Monster continued, holding out his glass for a refill.
“I told you to write the zombie chicken book instead, but would you listen to me?” said Suck Monkey.
“Clearly, you are doomed,” Worry Monster said.
“There’s no hope for any of us now,” Suck Monkey replied, and he ate all my chocolate.
The chocolate was really the last straw. So I threw them out and changed the locks. I prefer what Erin Murphy had to say on this blog a few months ago:
Enjoy the process! Don’t question it and analyze it into oblivion–find ways to enjoy this time. You’ll never have another debut book!
With that in mind, I’ve reflected on this cover, and on the reaction I’ve had from friends and family. I’ve looked at other covers to see what the trends are and to assure myself that my cover fits my book and recent marketing trends. I’ve talked to book sellers who are excited by beautiful covers, and I’ve given myself permission to accept that this beautiful cover really is MINE, and it really is beautiful.
In fact, I’m over the moon.