Sarah Pekkanen's Skipping a Beat is a "two-hanky weepy" according to Kirkus, and it made Oprah's "Pick It Up Now" list. So, you know, what's on the inside pages is winning accolades. But we're here to talk about that lovely cover.
"I didn't have a specific cover in mind, but I hoped the cover would echo my first book (The Opposite of Me, below left) in some subtle way, so people would know the books had a connection. I loved the idea of having a woman on the cover but having her be mysterious, so the fact that you can't see her face but only glimpse her from the back is perfect -- and better than anything I could have come up with!
"My editor sent me three possible covers, and they were all very different. The cover you see now is the one I liked best, and my editor agreed. But originally the dress was strapless, and there were lots of flowers at the bottom of the bench, around the Emily Giffin quote. I asked if we could make the back of the dress a little more interesting, and also if we could change the color of the words of the title, and the art department tweaked it. And my editor asked that the flowers be removed so Emily's quote would pop!
"I loved the cover from the start. The only thing I didn't like is that the title was originally the words Skipping a Beat were in yellow, and I didn't think it looked great against the green shrubbery. The pink is perfect!
"My editor will listen to anything I suggest, but there's no guarantee changes will be made. Luckily my editor and I are really in sync and we agreed on what we liked about the cover and what we wanted to change. In my publishing contract I have what's called 'right of consultation' on my covers, which means I can provide feedback but the final choice is my publisher's. And I think that's actually a good thing - people far more experienced than me are the ones who come up with covers, and they tend to know what works.
"The art department came up with a few possible new covers based on the version my editor and I liked best. There was a cover with criss-cross straps for the back of the dress, and a few with different colors for the title.
"The concept is the same as the original, but those little details were changed, which I felt transformed a good cover into a great one. I'm so lucky that I love my book cover. I know a few authors who don't like theirs, and I imagine it would be a terrible feeling to see your book and worry that the first impression it gives isn't a good one. I'm so grateful my cover designer came up with something that perfectly captured the feel of Skipping a Beat.
"A reader pointed out to me that the back of the woman's dress almost forms the shape of a heart, which is absolutely perfect. My book is about a woman whose life is changed after her husband's heart stops beating - -and when he is revived, he becomes a different man. So having the suggestion of a heart on the cover is so meaningful, and it wasn't even intentional!"
Thanks, Sarah! This cover completely caught my attention -- it felt to me like the woman was stabilizing herself on the bench after something has shaken her deeply. Plus, I actually think the pink burb along the bottom looks like flower petals at a distance. Sweet.
What do you guys think?
Melissa Walker is the author of four Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy and Lovestruck Summer. She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily and the awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot, as well as the blogger for readergirlz.com. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.