Once upon a time, I wrote a story I thought want the most fantastic contemporary romance in the history of the publishing world. I mean, my mom said it was fantastic and I knew I had a great story so when I sold it to a new publisher, I couldn’t have been more excited.
“I’m going to be published! I’m an actual writer!” I thought as I completely disregarded the previous five years I’d written health and parenting articles for major publications.
This is fiction, a whole new world! (Cue music)
Then the part of writing they never can truly prepare yourself for occurred–the book cover. I’d heard stories of authors having absolutely no say when it came to their book covers. This shocked me. You mean to tell me you slave over a story for months, years and someone who’s never read your work designs your cover? WTF? Well, maybe at some publishing houses, but not mine. This one will get it right, they will do right by me…oh crap.
I found my book cover online in their “coming soon” section. My editor hadn’t bothered to send it to me or even notify me the cover was live, yet there it was for the world to see…and it was terrible.
After all the hours I’d spent creating a story about a woman who decides to take control of her life and finds like, love, and the required Happily Ever After to end up with this cover:
Horrified doesn’t even cover it. I felt humiliated. My editor saw this and said it was good? Did she read even my book? I had to wonder because she said my book was “fine” the way it was. No edits needed.
No edits? I know I’m good, but I know I’m not that good.
Fine? I didn’t want fine! I wanted fantastic and this cover was far from fantastic.
Just the fact you can barely see my name across her blue jeans is enough to warrant changes. Then let’s add in a few other things like him cupping her boobs, his other hand looking like he was about to slip it down her pants, and her mischievous smile. It had me thinking she didn’t mind his octopus like hands and that would have been fine if my heroine liked being groped by what looks like a drunk cowboy. My heroine would be no where close to this woman.
I showed my husband. “It’s horrible!” I cried.
He cringed, “Uhm, I don’t think that’s your story.”
“It isn’t!” I tried to remain calm because certainly this was simply a misunderstanding. Certainly, all I had to do was contact my editor and…what? You’re not changing the cover? You know what you’re doing?
I cried, begged, pleaded with them to change the cover. Explained how it wasn’t my story and all I got was “we know what we’re doing.”
I talked to friends and they said “you’re going to have to either accept the cover or pull your book.”
How frustrating to get this far and to start off with a suck-ass book cover, but God was on my side on this one. Rumors of financial problems with said publisher started to circle the loops and my friends told me to pull my book.
I did and revised it, changed it, revised it again, and finally sold it this year.
My husband cringed when I told him I would get my cover soon. He dreaded a-bad-cover-my-wife-is-having-a-nervous-breakdown-event.
This is my cover now:
With a far better story, a fantastic editor and publisher, and a gorgeous cover, I can tell you it was all totally worth the wait, but wait, ten days before release, we found out there’s another book, just released, with the Worth the Weight title.
Now the quick change to Weighting for Mr. Right…done!