So part of the fun of having your first novel published is seeing how it’s going to look when it’s an actual finished book. Nothing will prepare you for what an amazing, surreal thing this is.
The galleys look like every other book you’ve ever seen on bookstore and library shelves, but this is your story from your head, and people who don’t know you are going to hold it in their hands and read it just like you’ve read books by new authors your whole life.
Whew. It’s wild.
And then there’s the cover. A cover is wildly important. A bad or amateurish-looking one can turn prospective readers off and hurt your book’s prospects. Long before I signed with Parliament House, I had nightmares about getting terrible covers from other publishers. Seriously. There was one bad dream with some girl in a Half-Pint Ingalls dress standing next to a well and holding a bucket, none of which bore the slightest relevance to anything that happens in Tidepool. It was just awful.
I know Parliament House does some stunning covers, so I wasn’t too worried. But I was so curious. What image would they design to sum my entire novel up and make someone put down the cash to read the whole thing?
When I first signed with Parliament House, Shayne Leighton, who owns PH and designs their covers, solicited ideas from me. I sent her an image I’d seen on DeviantArt of a feminine sea serpent rising through ocean water, about to accost two unsuspecting fishermen. Something along those lines might work, I told her.
Shayne did not use my idea. And I’m glad, because what she did was so much cooler.
This cover has a very old-timey elegance, and the tentacles should give you some idea of what you’re going to read about. And right smack in the middle of everything, as she should be, is my woman in black, Mrs. Ada Oliver.
And there are skulls! I adore skulls. Even though Ada doesn’t wear a skull ring in the novel, I love it that she’s wearing one on the cover, because I have one just like it and it feels like there’s a little bit of me in that woman. (Shayne didn’t know about my ring; it’s just a happy coincidence.)
Response to the cover on social media has been wonderful and I noticed that my Amazon sales rank jumped up, which means it’s doing its job.
And the next stop? The book’s release on August 3rd. If you haven’t already grabbed your copy, you can get one here. (A print version will be available eventually.)