I have been trying to figure out how to describe what it was like for me to see the cover of my book for the first time. I had an illustrator – a wonderful illustrator – and it was a bit of an awakening for me.
Writing a book is sort of like painting a pottery pot but not quite. You spin the pot, and then glaze it just so, you have a vision, and you try to make it all come together. (If you are me however, the vision and actuality will be quite different … I can’t paint). The paint covered pot then goes to the kiln and comes out all shiny and aglow and slightly different than you first imagined.
The difference with the book cover itself is that you add all the ingredients, you write the characters, build the worlds and create the atmosphere but you don’t know exactly what the cover will look like because every reader, illustrator and designer will have a unique minds-eye.
Let’s go back to my pottery example because you are probably wondering where I was going with that. Let me tell you a story. 🙂 When I was in Mexico on vacation a few years back, I painted a pot. It looked pretty good, or… perhaps that’s a stretch, it was a colossal mess, I even struggled to stay in the lines they provided. (This may have had something to do with too many cervezas but I digress …) Unbeknownst to me, on the warm Mexican night when my paint soaked pot was to be fired, it was someone’s job to duck in and improve the pot. They added detail and finesse before it went to the kiln. Essentially they took my vision, my globbed up, painted massacre and made it art.
For my book cover, I submitted all my wild imaginings all mismatched and scattered and my illustrator and designer created something magical.
Seeing the finished cover for the first time is when the entire writing process finally seemed real to me. Up until that point, it was hard to envisage that someone else reading my book would have a different vision of how things look and how they feel – an equally wonderful vision but different nonetheless. A good book cover captures the essence of the book and mine did just that.
When I first saw my cover, I was reminded, that as the writer, the book is not all mine anymore. It will soon belong to the reader, who will imagine the characters and places differently than me but the spirit of the book will remain the same.
I am thrilled with how the cover of Liornabella turned out. Thank you so much to the Tellwell team for the illustration and the design!