"I had no ideas about the cover at all -- I was completely open-minded. It's my third book, so I've learned by now that the design will almost always surprise you. For my second book the galley had one cover, and then they changed the design after they had sent it out. So I knew anything could change at a moment's notice.
"I can't recall my publisher asking me for input beforehand, although my editor knows me well enough to know certain things aren't going to fly with me. I don't usually see designs along the way until she thinks they've nailed it.
"The first cover I saw I hated immediately! It felt like it had nothing to do with the emotional thrust of the story, and it seemed frivolous. It was basically a woman in a white tank top with little snowflakes floating around her. (The snowflakes kind of looked like bubbles, which kind of made me hate it even more.) Yes, the character does wear a tank top in the book, and yes, there is snow in the book (although she is obviously not wearing a tank top in the snow), but it just looked so commonplace that I instantly rejected it, as did my agent. I could see where they were going with it, that they were trying to make it accessible to a wide audience. But there was no particular voice to it, and my book is all about voice. With a cover like that, the book could have been about anything.
"They ended up doing a complete redesign, and a few months later they showed me a beautiful cover, which I loved on impact. It made me feel like the book was finally complete when I saw it. I recognize how lucky I am that I had a publisher who wanted to get it right, and that a lot of bad book covers can go through without the input of the author. I just really wanted to get it right. I wanted people to look at the cover and hopefully think there was something special going on there.
"I think it's gorgeous! I love the blurred edges of the photo. I take a lot of pictures and it reminds me very much of something I would shoot. It definitely captures the spirit of Nebraska, and farm towns in general, and also the spirit of the narrator, a woman on the run."
Thanks, Jami! I agree. I think the final cover has real movement and a loud whisper to it, if that makes sense.
What do you guys think of this cover?
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 her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.