About a year and a half ago, I first saw the design for the hardcover edition of my latest book, Pretending to Dance. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I thought the image with that vibrant red dress was stunning. I could feel the movement of that dress, and the woman wearing it came to life for me. But once the book was published, I discovered a problem. “I thought it would be a book about dance,” readers would write to me. Or, “From the cover, I had no idea the book would be a page-turner.”
Hmm. The beauty of the cover and the prettiness of the title, taken together, gave a misleading impression of the story. To be honest, my editor had wanted to change the title before the book was published, but I was adamant that we keep it. The title has great meaning in the story, as those of you who’ve read the book understand. I am usually at a loss when it comes to titles for my book, but I had this one before the book was even written. I was so wedded to the title that I couldn’t see my editor’s concerns . . . until after the book came out and I began to get that feedback from my readers.
So my publisher made the (very good) decision to change the cover when the book was reissued in paperback this month. Although the title is the same, the girl walking into the dark woods better depicts the suspense and mystery of the story, and I’ve been thrilled with the response from my readers. I was afraid that they would have loved the ‘pretty lady in red’ so much that this darker cover might turn them off. Their reaction has been the opposite. The new cover tells more of a story, and after all, that’s what readers are after. I’m grateful to my editor and publisher for making this change.
What are your thoughts? What does each cover say to you? How important is the cover image to you as a reader? Tomorrow, I’ll randomly pick one of your comments to win your choice of one of my available older novels. If you live outside the US, you’ll win a gift certificate to the online bookstore of your choice.