Today's guest for the CRAP is Sara Ella, author of UNBLEMISHED. Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle (aka The Plaza Hotel). Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, she did work for Disney—that was an enchanted moment of its own. Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses, and conquering realms of her own imaginings.
Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.
But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.
Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.
Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?
Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?
Yes! I knew I wanted purple. And not just because it’s my favorite color, but because purple/blue are symbolic in the story. I also knew I wanted my main character’s face on the cover somewhere because her birthmark/blemish is what the book is all about. Oh! And I hoped to have a little piece of NYC displayed since the book begins in the Big Apple. All three wishes came true!
How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?
I had to fill out something called an AMSI (Advanced Marketing and Sales Information sheet) back in September of 2015. So it was over a year before the release date that we started talking covers.
Did you have any input on your cover?
Yes. Lots more than I expected, actually. The AMSI had all sorts of questions regarding fonts, colors, people, places, or things I might like on the cover.
How was your cover revealed to you?
My amazing editor Becky Monds emailed it to me. I was like, “SBDLHASERASHBFK!!!!!!” It was so beautiful! I couldn’t have asked for a better design. I cried.
Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?
Yes! I have a YouTube (BookTube) channel so I did a live show cover reveal with my good friend Trina from the BetweenChapters channel. On March 4, 2016 we spent an hour talking about the novel and involving viewers in fun, bookish challenges leading up to the reveal at the end of the show. We topped it off with a giveaway in which six lucky viewers won a signed poster of the cover. It was tons of fun! Here’s the link to the replay if anyone wants to watch it!
How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?
It was about a month before the reveal date that I got to see my cover.
Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?
Um, yes. No, make that YES! I am such a horrible secret keeper, LOL :D I was itching to put that baby up on Twitter or Instagram.
What surprised you most about the process?
How much input I had. They really took my ideas and preferences seriously. I am so blessed to work with such an amazing team.
Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. The first time I saw my cover there were a couple tweaks I suggested, and my editor took them gladly. If you don’t like something or feel as if something is missing, don’t hesitate to kindly talk to your editor or cover artist about possible changes.
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