I am within hours--or for me, days--of finishing the first draft of my current manuscript. The title and cover have been set for months, or so I thought.
Last Wednesday, while in the shower, I had a horrifying thought. The cover I'd settled on featured a looming figure in the foreground holding a gun in front of what was obviously a college dorm. I chose the image because my hero is a professor, and the setting is a college campus. My heroine is a bodyguard, so it isn't unusual that she would carry a gun. Besides, the image is flirty rather than threatening and matches the images on the first two covers in the series.
However, it suddenly occurred to me that in light of recent events, readers might look at the cover and think "school shooting." That's the last thing I want to suggest! I felt queasy just thinking about it. My books are light, humorous, romantic suspense novels, and I've put way too much into this story to turn anyone off with the cover.
I remember when the release of the movie "Big Trouble" was postponed for several months after nine-eleven because it made fun of lackluster airport security by having the idiotic villains carry a bomb on a plane by claiming it was a food disposer. Dave Barry's original book was hilarious, and the movie was an excellent adaptation. The problem was timing. People weren't ready to laugh about something like that yet. I certainly don't want my book to suffer a similar fate, especially when I can avoid it.
This story had also been through a couple of titles, neither of which reflected the story very well, so this was a good opportunity to see if I could come up with something I liked better. I wracked my brain, making myself crazier and crazier, until a writer friend suggested that since my heroine works as a nanny, I might want to try using that word in the title. Bingo! Undercover Nanny was born. It succinctly describes the premise, which is unusual enough to create interest on its own. As usual, I had been overthinking the problem. LOL
From there, it wasn't difficult to come up with a new background image that also matches a couple of scenes in the story. I was able to use the same figure I'd used previously, and I even added the monkey for a humorous touch. After all, he does save the day!
I hope readers will be intrigued, rather than repulsed. Now, all I have to do is finish the darn book.
Great advice, Alison, to be aware of the big news, not just for book titles and covers, but for all our social interaction. (That's one of the dangers of scheduling tweets ahead of time. You run the risk of coming off as uncaring, not to mention clueless!) This also touches on the topic of art mimicking life, or vice versa. Do we reflect (report on) what's going on, the good and bad, or try to set a new tone? I think it's both, actually (depends on the book, the author, etc.), and I think your new cover and title are fabulous. The monkey definitely conveys a bit of humor or whimsy. I can't wait to read your newest title in the series!
I love the background you chose. It has the right vibe for romantic suspense. And the new title is very catchy! You've gone through a lot of changes getting this one where you want it! I'm not sure about the monkey. Very cute, and I know cover artists drop in relevant objects on covers all the time, but it seems out of proportion in relation to the size of the figure only because it's right by her foot. Maybe that's just my anal (instead of artistic) side talking! I imagine most readers would simply think it's cute, and it might be an added reason for them to read the blurb.
I think the title gives you the lightness you want. I'm the nut who likes to have people/animals IN the scene, so I'm thinking of the monkey sitting on the cold sidewalk and the woman underdressed for the weather. I know...that's me. And as for the worry about current tragedies...I think it's wise to consider, but our books are for all time...and we can't know what readers' triggers are. Given that, it's tough to decide how to make our covers appealing, show the genre, AND show the story, without the repulsion factor. (If you'll remember, I've got the problem of woods burning...and the California fires on people's minds, so I feel your angst) Sorry I didn't make it easier for you, Alison, but you asked :-) We both have darned books to finish, with book covers on our minds!
I like the new cover and title. Since the latest college shooting was at the college where my great-niece is a student (she'd left early for spring break so wasn't on campus), coupling a gun and a college campus is not good. Good choice.
I've been having trouble with the title of my current WIP. Out of the blue this weekend, a new title popped into my mind. So happy that I found something that works for me.
Thanks, Leah. I've been back and forth about the monkey, but I want to convey a bit of humor so readers don't think they're getting a thriller (per Jannine's discussion on the 2nd.)
Jannine, I've fiddled with the size of the monkey and may fiddle some more. Capuchins are pretty small, but when I enlarged him, it's harder to read my name. I might try moving the figure a bit to the right and putting the monkey on the left. Who knows? LOL I do think I'll stick with these elements, however.
Rolynn, since this is the third book in the series, the figure has to be over-sized and "out of the scene" to match the others. For the same reason, she also has to be showing plenty of leg. At least she's wearing stockings and boots! LOL
Diane, I'm so glad you came up with a title you like. I can't tell you how much trouble this one has given me!
I love the new title and the cover. Both should be very eye-catching. If readers only knew how we obsessed over every detail, they'd appreciate the finished product more. But I think you've hit the right spot with both!!!
Hi Alison, love the cover, it is intriguing and
has a just the right hint of humor. :)
Thanks so much, Vonnie. Every single detail of this book has given me fits!
Thanks, Reggi. That's what I'm looking for!
A great look, Alison!
Very wise decision. You don't want to misrepresent your book, especially with a possible connection like that. Your cover is spectacular. The monkey is tooo adorable! The title is a grabber for sure. Nicely done!
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