Nov 162011

In my last post, I was pretty much gushing about how excited I was about the cover art for Half Past Midnight.  After all, the cover is the last real obstacle between me, and publication.  This morning, I got the final version, and I was wowed.  The artist that is working with me through Telemachus Press is named Johnny Breeze.  Cool name, eh?  Sounds like a rock star, or super hero, doesn’t it?  As far as I’m concerned, he is a rock star.  The cover he did is awesome.  And as excited as I was with the cover, and with the initial reaction to it, I thought I was about ready to press “go” on the novel. 

I found out this morning that this is probably not going to happen for a bit.  You see, once I got the cover, I sent it to a few people to test reactions.  Those reactions were overwhelmingly positive – until they found out that the book was post-apocalyptic.

Now, since this blog is supposed to be about what I learn along the way, here’s a big lesson.  If you are here to learn from my mistakes, or even if you just want to laugh at me as I make them, pay attention the rest of this post.

The first call was from my editor, Lynn O’Dell.  I had posted the cover in the Writer’s Cafe in KindleBoards, and one of Lynn’s clients saw it and commented.  That client was Imogen Rose, best-selling YA author – (thanks, Imogen).  At any rate, Imogen seemed to really like the cover, but as she and Lynn discussed it, it quickly became apparent that she had assumed the book was YA.  I had specified a great cover IF my book was a YA vampire story.  Once pointed out, it was obvious.  There is a young girl in the woods, in the moonlight, looking weary, and carrying a crossbow, and a title of “Half Past Midnight“.  Doh!!

Once I began asking others more detailed questions, it became readily apparent that this was their take as well.  Yep, I have a fantastic looking cover for a young adult vampire slayer book.  It’s entirely my fault.  Johnny and Telemachus did exactly what I told them to do.   I just told them to do it wrong. 

Luckily for me, the folks at Telemachus have evidently dealt with rookies like me before.  They were very understanding, and Steve Himes was able to talk me down from the ledge.  We talked it over a bit, and I finally realized I have to own the project.  I told him what I would like to see, and he is going to see if they can do it.  I should have a mockup in a few days. :)

So learn from my mistakes. When whoever is going to create your cover asks if you have any idea what you want to see on that cover, do NOT just say something like “no, you’re the expert”.  Own the project.  No one knows your book as well as you do.

  3 Responses to “Another Rookie Mistake (or Step Back and Punt)”

  1. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

    • True enough. Another stumbling stone to learn from. But my toes are getting bloody from all these stumbles. Of course, it could have been worse. I might have published with that cover, and ended up with a deluge of angry reviewers who felt I had misled them with that particular graphic.

  2. […] with some kind of cover that approached the quality of the artwork he had presented in the “young adult, vampire slayer” cover.  I still love that cover as artwork, but it’s just not right for Half Past […]

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