I have cover art, but I can’t show it to you yet. And I have the flu.
Yes the two things are related. Life is strange that way.
Friday morning I checked the email and there, hidden between a Coldwater Creek sale announcement and a Twitter follow notice, was the email I’d been waiting for with anticipation for months. Just a short note from my editor, saying that the draft cover art had landed on her desk today and please don’t post it yet because it’s not official.
Click, click, and there it was: a really truly book cover with the title BETWEEN and my name at the bottom. Kerry Schafer.
Huge milestone, right? A moment to jump up and down and shriek and tell everybody in the whole wide world that I HAVE FREAKING COVER ART.
What I felt was an emotional disconnect. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with me, somehow, or to the emotional imprint of the book that I carry around inside me. I inquired of myself about this reaction, gently, as in, “what the hell is up with you?”
Maybe it’s the flu, my self said to my self. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my head is pounding, my throat is scratchy, my muscles feel about as vibrant as overcooked spaghetti and the only thing I feel an emotional connection with at this moment is the bed that I am very far away from.
When I got home the wonderful menfolk in my world supplied all of the enthusiasm I’d been lacking. There’s a lot to be said for a bunch of guys, including a very opinionated Viking, professing their love and admiration for your brand new book cover.
But it wasn’t until I was discussing my reactions with a couple of other writer friends that I began to understand that my response might have nothing to do with the flu and be within the range of normal. For me as the writer, the book is a living thing with a soul. The characters, (including a certain dragon) all look a certain way in my head. What I find myself wanting, as an author, is a cover that accurately reflects this concept of the book.
But that’s not what covers are for. The purpose of the cover is to say, first and foremost: READ ME. It gives hints about what your reading experience will be, entices you in. And the portrayals of the characters on book covers never, ever, look the way I envision them in my head.
Having had a couple of days now to think things over, I have realized that it is an awesome cover. I love it. It still feels a little surreal and distant, but then I’m also still a little feverish and in love with the idea of just lying in bed.
I’m also curious – any other writers find it surreal and strange to see your book cover for the first time? I’d love to hear about your reactions.