Book cover design can be surprisingly controversial, you only have to pop into any writer’s forum to see people asking “which do you like best of these three cover options?” and reams of comments along the lines of “definitely option 1”, “can you do a combination of option 2 and option 3?”, “option 3 without the red lines” etc. Every new book cover is a new challenge, that’s why out of your head and onto the page has a whole session on this very topic.
As I told you in my last blog, I had been living with the sunglasses wearing pineapple on a bright yellow cover that had been chosen in a Facebook poll for ‘Laughing at Myself’ since 2019. It had well and truly become part of my intellectual furniture. Now several months later than our planned release date my publisher wanted to see the cover and review where we are. My ego quite naturally decided that what we had started with was something lovely, dynamic and very market appropriate, they would love it, and I prepared myself for their praise “well done Eden, our designers really couldn’t do any better”.
I was sitting in a deck chair in the sunshine when the email came from the publisher, I opened the file, took my first look at their creation, and said a loud swear. Mr Himself came to see what had caused this reaction, took a look and said “that’s busy”, which didn’t really help. Once I had calmed down a bit, I needed to take the designers suggestions for the cover to the focus group made up of my ideal readers. Their comments and feedback changed my mind, the reader focus group were very impressed with most elements of the cover, although they didn’t like everything.
So, I was able to go back to the publisher, give them constructive feedback, and get the (small) changes made, in line with the constructive criticism of the people most likely to buy my book, enjoy it, recommend it, and buy a copy for their friends (if this is you thank you so much for helping pay my mobile phone bill this month!). Now the practical cover issues were resolved all I had left to do was think through why I had been so shocked when I saw the new cover. All the elements that had been sent to the designer were still there, but the team had been able to take the cover to a whole new level.
What it came down to was accepting that my little baby (my book) was growing up, and getting ready to go into the world, and I hadn’t been quite ready to let go. There are so many elements of self-publishing that are under the authors control that when you reach a point that someone else has a say it can feel a bit overwhelming. After talking it though with a wise woman (thank you Fiona), I had to accept you wouldn’t take your car to a garage then tell them how to change the gear box, or visit the dentist and do your own filling. When you make use of an expert, let them be the expert, remember you chose them because you trusted their skills. Just another lesson in the author journey, and one that reminds me why cover design needs a coaching session all of it’s own, it also shows we are always learning, and always finding out new things about ourselves.
I have now embraced the new look cover and can’t wait to unveil it.
TTFN Eden 🙂