I love talking to debut authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.
Today's guest is my fellow Lucky13s and Friday the Thirteeners member Elsie Chapman, to talk about her awesome cover for DUALED, available from Random House February 26, 2013.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
BBC: Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?
EC: Not at all, actually. A lot of the time, I have a hard time pin-pointing why I like or don’t like something, only that I do or don’t. I was just hoping that when I saw what my publisher came up with, I would simply fall in love with it.
BBC: How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?
EC: Over a year in advance. Which seemed early at the time, but looking back, I’m so glad they got a head start on it. So many people are involved with the cover process, and there’s a lot of back-and-forthing which takes time.
BBC: Did you have any input on your cover?
EC: My editor and DUALED’s art director presented me with concepts and ideas and asked for feedback. I really appreciated being asked for my opinion, and it was great that they were interested to hear my thoughts on everything!
BBC: How was your cover revealed to you?
EC: Step by step, in that they’d tweak, come back to me, we’d all talk, then they would tweak some more. By the time I actually saw it, I already had a good idea what it was going to look like. But seeing it all actually finalized—with the title on it, my name and picture, the tagline and blurbs—it was an overwhelming moment. It just hit me that this was how DUALED was going to be presented to the world.
BBC: Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?
EC: Not really, but my editor gave me the heads up about when my publisher would be releasing it online, so I could plan my own reveal ahead of time if I wanted to go that route.
BBC: How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?
EC: With the finalized version, about a week or two, I think.
BBC: Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?
EC: It was! I really wanted to share it, but I’ve learned to be a much more patient person now, with the publishing process being what it is. So I try to keep in mind that all good things take time.
BBC: What surprised you most about the process?
EC: How involved it is, and how much thought is put into every single detail. From the font to title placement to whether or not any special effects such as gloss or foil will be used. And as much as it is an art and a super creative process to put together a cover, it does make sense that the sales and marketing department also has a say in the final product.
BBC: Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?
EC: To always remember that your publisher wants nothing but the best for your book, and for it to succeed. And that they know more than we do about what works for a cover. So trust that they’re going to do an awesome job, just as they trust you to do the same when it comes to filling the pages in between!