Saturday, February 6, 2010

On covers

Readers might not realize (writers know this all too well) that publication of a novel begins the second you get that acceptance. That's the honeymoon phase! Everything is wonderful! You feel flush with excitement because your baby is going to go out into the world, because what you've done is going to be alive and out there. You can stop worrying for a year or so because you sold your book!

Ha. No you can't. Because now comes the hard work.

I've spent a whole week filling out my author questionnaire, and some time waiting anxiously for blurbs, which is a whole frightening process in itself because you could say blurbs are your first pre-pub reviews. Some writers, like Anne Tyler, don't believe in the blurb system, and so don't give them. Some writers are better connected than others and can just ask their literary friends, who are glad to oblige. You want to ask the writers you are passionate about, and it's always a chance to connect to a writer you don't personally know, an acknowledgement from someone else in your business, and when it's from someone you admire, well, you just turn into a supernova and glow. But all writers are busy and to be asked to read and give a thoughtful blurb in an already busy schedule IS a lot to ask, which is why I am always deeply appreciative to the point of undying devotion to the amazing writers who have so graciously and generously given me one. (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)

Next for me is the cover. I've had covers in the past that I've loved, and one that made me weep, because one publisher changed the brooding Edward Hopper-like hardcover cover I adored into something pastel and frivolous looking with a smiling guy on the cover for the paperback, when the man in question in the novel was actually coming apart at the seams. Though we went back and forth on changes we could both agree on, the final cover was one that marketing loved and that still makes me wince. I can't tell you how thankful I am that my new and beloved editor has promised me there won't be a cover I hate, and we've already talked about possible images.

I'm anxious. I'm always anxious. I love these characters, I truly do. I so want them to find their way in their world and be welcomed and understood, cried about and considered, and every step forward in this publication process is filled with my hopes that they will.

No comments: