Learning Curve cover, take 2, (and a free book)
Soooo the saga of the cover for this book…
When I wrote Life Lessons, MLR press knew there was one sequel coming, if the first book sold well enough to release the second. The artist picked a couple of cover guys – a Tony who was perfect and a Mac who wasn’t even close. (Polished, waxed and grinning, with a gold chain – just, nope.) But she heard my comments and looked around, and changed the “Mac” to this cool angled shot of a guy who looked a bit scruffy, but solemn, and had the right feel. I loved that first cover.
And after two books, I thought the series was done. But no. The guys had more to say. By the time we hit this fourth book, Learning Curve, we were running up against the limit of plausible pictures for “Mac.” Not that he doesn’t have a gazillion stock picks, just that most of them are either ridiculous like this or so different looking you have to check the credits to believe it’s the same guy, like these, okay, and also ridiculous, or all smiley. Some were possible… but. After looking at this guy’s stuff through a long evening, the artist and I were both irritated with him, and when the artist said, “How about another guy who looks like him?”, I said, “Why not?” So we did that, and around 1 a.m. decided we were done. And I liked that cover, objectively. It’s pretty.
But when I posted it, people immediately were recognizing it wasn’t “Mac”. And what’s more, Tony was bitching in my head. Now, that’s a downside to being a writer. Well an upside and a downside – the guys feel real and they talk to me. A lot in some cases. (Tony Hart, I’m looking at you.) Tony didn’t like being on the cover with a new guy – it felt like I was making him cheat on Mac. It was uncomfortable, no matter how pretty the cover was. Not that Tony could get Mac to pose for a freaking usable picture for me, but that didn’t keep him from complaining.
So the artist and I went back to the “Mac” pictures, looking for one that might slot into the same cover, and look OK. Again. And nothing was perfect, but some were possible, and in the end we picked one. It’s the right man, despite the different look: Mac cleaned up and dressing up, which happens a couple of times in the book. And something about the expression appealed to me – I imagine their eyes meeting in the mirror this way.
Some people will like the other one better, despite the switch. Some will find some other stock picture of this guy more convincing. (You have no idea how many I played with and debated over. Indecisiveness is my middle name.) But this is it. Hopefully most folks will like it, and at least Tony isn’t waking me up in the night to bitch about it.
You can sign up to win a copy of Learning Curve on the giveaway at Stumbling Over Chaos. Good luck. I hope you all enjoy the book. It’s having final proofing now, and looks like it should release on schedule on the 6th. It will be available first from MLR Press directly, then Amazon shortly after, and gradually the other retail sites. And now, I need to go have fun writing the next thing. A writer’s life is good