I posted about seeing my cover for Calling Me Home a few months ago. Then the unexpected happened, which, it turns out, isn't so uncommon in the midst of book pregnancy!
Shortly before I went to New York to meet my agent and editor for the first time in person, I learned my cover art was going to change. At first I was shocked, to be honest. "How can this be happening?" I thought. "Everyone's already seen it. It's plastered everywhere." And, as I mentioned in the original post, even if it takes you a few minutes to decide you love something, it eventually wiggles into your heart and brain. It becomes the book, in a way. It becomes part of who your book baby is. And when you learn it's going to change pretty dramatically, it's almost like discovering that your baby, the one you thought had curly red hair and fiery green eyes, is really a silky blonde with eyes like chocolate drops.
I needed some time to take it in. But soon, I remembered that the cover is packaging. It's not the book. It's not the story. And the packaging may change numerous times as various editions of the book release. And in the end, even if the packaging looks a little or a lot different on the outside, the story is still the story. With that realization, I trusted the professionals (in this case, the sales and marketing departments and booksellers) to know better than I do what will allow the story to sell the very best it can.
My old cover art was anchored in metaphor, in symbolism, in nuance. The new cover art tells a story. Some people have commented that since they've seen the new cover, they understand the old one. That was interesting to me and made me realize that sometimes you just need to be blunt. I know exactly what my story is about. I understand perfectly what the gold and silver leaves in the old art represented, but to the reader browsing a bookstore shelf or website, a mysterious cover may just be too mysterious. The new art doesn't necessarily touch on everything the old art did, but it gives the reader a point of reference.
One of my critique partners showed the new cover art to her 13-year-old son, who knows nothing about the story. He said, "Ohhh, a love story. They are probably driven apart by prejudice." He thought in the end, they would probably be together. I won't spoil the story here, but I can say that this young man made some fairly accurate predictions based simply on the cover art. He knew what he might get it if he picked up Calling Me Home, more or less.
I think this is going to be a good thing. And after wrapping my brain around the change for a few weeks while the art department at my publishing house tweaked and finessed the new cover, I became quite enamored of it. I also had a good reminder of old adage: It's what's on the inside that really counts. I hope you'll be drawn in by this cover, too, enough to discover what's hidden within.
Calling Me Home is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, and other online retailers! The new cover is trickling in at these sites little by little.