My new book will be ready for delivery approximately November 12th. Last week I got an attack of nerves when I went to visit my parents. They saw the cover for the first time and didn't think much of it. Dad thinks it looks more like a war novel and also that the cover is fairly sombre. Mum, who has proof-read the M/S for me, said she would've preferred to have seen a pretty girl on the front. So when I went home I studied the image carefully (even though it's a bit late at this stage) and thought, "Help, what if they're right? What if people pick this up expecting to find a combat novel and get romance instead?"
I wondered whether we should have asked Andrew, our cover designer, to put some flowers or lace along with the barbed wire. We'd already got him to make several changes on the title size, name size, little comment and the way the writing went up the spine. I think he was glad when it was all over. As he's a very blokey sort of guy, and I guess you know what I mean, I had to laugh at the thought of asking him to include flowers or lace at the very last minute, but I would never dare actually do it. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he actually came to throttle us! And I'm not sure if I'd blame him.
The next thing I did was re-read the comments on this blog about the cover that you ladies left. That boosted my spirits a lot. My dh even reminded me, "You blog friends liked it." I e-mailed the design to my sister and nephews to have a final look at, and they promptly phoned back and told me that in their opinion, it's by far the best cover design I've ever had. Better than the Quenarden ones. My sister said, "Anyone who expects a war story and reads the blurb on the back will twig that it's got romance in it. And if the don't read the blurb, they deserve what they get."
I let Andrew, my husband, have the last word. He thinks it's got lots of interesting tricks with light to appeal to a wide range of readers. And he reminded me that even though the book has a romance thread through it, it also has excitement and suspense, and that's the element we're highlighting on the cover. The weird thing about me is that I can understand all the comments people have made, and sort of agree with everyone.
I know how important it is to have an initial package that is really appealing to readers. My own kids, who claim to be open-minded and not easily swayed, have made a snap judgment about one of the favourite books of my youth. This is "Children of the New Forest" by Captain Marryat. Our copy unfortunately has a front cover picture of two old-fashioned girls kneeling on the green grass, patting a dog, which is pretty misleading if you know what the story is about.
I've told Logan several times, "You ought to read it! I loved this when I was thirteen! It's an exciting story about the English Civil War. There are battles between the Cavaliers and Roundheads almost every turn of the page. The heroes are really tough, heroic guys." But all to no avail. He insists that he won't be caught anywhere near a book with girls patting dogs on the front with the title "Children of the New Forest." Despite what I say, it has the connotations of a sweet, domestic little tale.
I can only hope that my cover will appeal to a wide range.