Everything was going so swimmingly. The cover image for my upcoming novel, WHAT HAS BECOME OF YOU, had been locked into place since September; a bounty of blurbs from distinguished authors (eight in all!) had arrived just under the wire. The book jacket for the hardcover was ready to go to press, and then– BAM– the unthinkable happened: My publisher received word that my cover image had been purchased for use by another author’s upcoming book. And not just any author, but a formidable, bestselling one– an industry titan!
Let me backpedal a bit to give you more context about how the original cover came to be. My publisher acquired the image of a young, glowering girl and worked their design magic to superimpose the longish title over her face; the mode’s expression was neutral, but her arresting eyes, I imagined, would jump out at the reader from any bookshelf. I admit that I was not initially in love with the cover image, but the girl’s face– presumably a representation, if not a literal one, of my teenaged character Jensen Willard– began to grow on me. And as the image appeared on more and more websites and confronted me from the gleaming galley copies, I began to feel more and more like this was my girl and my image– the novel itself, personified.
Now, with no time to make a significant change, I was told that this could no longer be my girl or my image because someone else wanted it. Being relatively naïve still about how publishing and marketing work, I was shaken at first, and a little indignant– but the more I thought about it, the more I gained perspective and realized this is a pretty world-class problem to have, and as someone who does know real problems from minor ones, there was no point getting steamed about something so out of my control. So I took the words of advice of that old sage Ann Landers and “quit my bitching,” waiting instead to see what alternate image we could find in time to save the day.
The picture you see here is the new model for WHAT HAS BECOME OF YOU. The wizards at my publishing company worked hard to capture the essence of the original photo, and while the girl is clearly not the same, I am warming up to her just as I did with the first girl. Soon, I think, she will be mine, and I present her here to share with you. Ta-da! For those who have already pre-ordered, you might notice that the image is slightly different from what you have already seen on websites– but chances are, you might not even have noticed had I not pointed it out. I share this little story just to let you know that the publishing world is a funny one and that I truly work with a resourceful team right now.