A week ago, a new element of the publishing business came into my life: the cover art that will go on my book, The Freedom Thief. I have really been looking forward to this, because I had no idea what the illustrator might have in mind. As an artist, I could envision different ways to paint a cover, but an artist and an illustrator are two totally different animals, at least in the way they look at something and decide how to represent it on canvas or paper.
My first cover was sent to me, and I didn't know what to think. It was brilliantly done...but it was way too esoteric for children. The CA (cover artist) had started with a large tunnel, with a shadowy figure at the far end. At the near right side of the cover, was a depiction of a carriage with four horses. From the end of the tunnel back to the carriage was a brilliant sprawl of light, so that the carriage and horses appeared very faintly in the drawing.
So this was my thought: the tunnel represented the underground tunnel that Ben had led the three slaves through to begin their escape to freedom. The carriage represented the "death coach", which was the final mode of transportation for Ben and the slaves to the point where they had to accomplish the final part of their journey to the Ohio River on foot. The bright light represented the concept of "There's a light at the end of the tunnel"...light in this case meaning freedom.
But I felt it was way over the heads of kids who are 10, 11, 12 years old. I'm not sure even 13 and 14 year olds would actually "get" the concept the cover represented. And then my husband said the light was so bright that it looked "almost God-like, while the figure could represent God or Jesus." Obviously, I didn't want anyone else...any parent...to get that impression, as this is not a book about religion.
So I sent it back, found out the CA didn't know the book was for 10-14 year olds, and then she told me she would completely redo the cover. She did, and I really like it much better. It's done in sepia tones which makes it appear mysterious and tantalizing. She inserted the tag line for the book between the lines of the title, and I think when kids read that, and look at the cover, they will be intrigued enough to buy it. I hope so!
Tell me what you think!
Until next time,
That's a wrap.