When Finder was published in 2010, Eric Reynolds of Hadley Rille Books indulged me with my cover art. I said I didn’t want people, I wanted a landscape. After much going back and forth with Jesse Smolover, an extremely talented young man who happened to be longtime friends with my son-in-law, we decided on a gorgeous cityscape as well as a figure–Ethen–looking down on it. This is the result, and I adored it.
I gave no thought to marketing, to my audience, only to my own aesthetic. What did I know? It was my first book! Eric did try to tell me, but was willing to indulge my vision. Finder sold well–very well for a small press book. It still does pretty well. I’ve gotten many compliments on my cover, even all these years later. But I noticed something–whenever my book as displayed with others from our press, it got passed over. I couldn’t understand why; and then it hit me…
The key demographic for our fantasy line is women, from teen to croonehood. Most of our other covers have women on them. Aha! Could that be it? But I loved my cover! A Time Never Lived also has a man on the cover, but the dragon sells it, I think. Then came Beyond the Gate.
There is my beautiful Linhare. A woman. On the cover. And you know what I discovered? The local bookstore that carries my books sells about four Beyond the Gate to every Finder or A Time Never Lived. Egads, indeed.
Eric and I decided to try an experiment. We contracted with our house artist, Tom Vandenberg, to do a new cover for Finder. During the process, Eric had a stroke. My cover kind of got lost in that chaotic shuffle. Running the press for Eric has been fulfilling, frustrating and extremely educational, but now that he’s recovering and able to take back some tasks, my cover came out of the closet. And here it is…
I am over the moon. I love this cover. I love Zihariel’s ferocity, even in chains. I love the “wormhole” view. Best of all, I love that I can keep both covers out in the world. The ebook and trade paperbacks will have the new cover, but my hardcover will keep the original art. Just seems fitting, to me.
At this writing, the new cover is only available on the ebook. There has been a glitch in the works concerning the print copy, but our fabulous cover designer, Heather McDougal, is traipsing about Italy at the moment, so it’s going to be another month or so before it’s available in print.
So–what do you think? I am interested to see if the new cover sparks sales, but mostly, I can’t wait to put both covers on a table at some convention somewhere, and see what happens.