Don’t judge a book by its cover. Really? Then I wonder why authors, artists and publishers work so hard to come up with engaging new ideas for them. We’ve all heard that something can be as beautiful inside as it is out, so I’d say there are those who feel they can figure out value from what’s on the outside. Martha Graham used to say ‘the body never lies’, meaning the way we move and hold ourselves tells much about the feelings inside. I’d say artists of all kinds find covers to be essential.
A publisher once told me that a book cover must be designed to catch the eye of a traveler dashing through the airport. It must have red or black and be geometric and stark, even shocking. Well, no more dashing through airports or even train stations in a pandemic; in fact, no more dashing to anywhere for the moment, so maybe this is the time when covers that feed your imagination and give you pleasure are back in vogue. There’s another silver lining for authors. There’s time now. Time to read and dream a little.
My book designer and I have worked to get a vastly different cover for The Gilded Cage from its prequel, Certain Liberties. The latter cover came to us extremely late in the process, when one of the editors discovered that the boat we were using as a metaphor denoting movement and adventure was not applicable to the time period. He found us a few examples that were, but somehow the thrill of that scene was lost for me. But true to the miracle of writers’ serendipity, a portrait of my grandmother from the proper time served us much better than the errant ship ever could have.
With this sequel to Certain Liberties, I wanted something denoting a move forward from its lovely sibling, and possibly back to the metaphors of the original plan. The designer and I ended up putting numerous clues to the narrative into the cover picture. We both ended up feeling a bit like Sherlock Holmes as we dropped in signs we hoped would lead people to the story behind the initial visual narrative. It’s also a lovely cover, but much deeper and richer than the first.
Now that the cover for The Gilded Cage has been revealed, I’m curious to see what readers infer from looking at it with plenty of time instead of on the run. And then, of course, they’ll have to read the book to see if this cover is a good representation of what’s inside. I’m sure you’ll all let me know!!
The Gilded Cage hits shelves on December 7, 2020 and you can pre-order the Kindle now by following this link to Amazon.