Friday, February 21, 2014

Reevaluating Book Covers, Indie Publishing, Gays at Proms in Alabama

Reevaluating Book Covers

I think I've read every Fanny Flagg novel there is since Fried Greed Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. And the reason I'm mentioning this now is because a couple of years ago I noticed one or two of Flagg's older books had been released with covers different from the original. I've noticed the same thing with old Anne Tyler novels, too. So it's not all that uncommon for publishers to change book covers after a certain amount of time, and I know for a fact that many books released in other countries often have different book covers than those released in the US for marketing reasons. And one of the perks of indie publishing is that indie authors don't have to stick with the same book cover if they're not happy with it. You can change that cover just like publishers...as long as you're willing to go through the time, effort, and expense.

In my case I'm talking about Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street. (The old cover is still up.) I have never been completely happy with the cover. Before I released the book I had four other covers made and couldn't make up my mind. This is no reflection on the cover artist either. All the covers are good, but for some reason they just don't work for me. So once again, I had a new cover made and I'm changing it. I don't think it's going to make much of a difference to readers who've already read the book. In fact, I've had people tell me they weren't fond of the current cover either. (Readers are honest)

The new cover is simpler, and runs more along the lines of my own personal taste. I'm fond of monochromatic color schemes, and not fond of anything that "pops." I would rather eat dirt than wear yellow or even stand next to someone else wearing yellow. I prefer ten shades of beige over anything multicolored. I try to step back with each cover I choose with the indie books so my personal taste doesn't get in the way of my judgment, and also so every book doesn't wind up looking like the other. But when something bothers you that much, and you just don't think you can stand it, you have to act on it and go with what you love...and hope for the best.

This is probably one of the biggest perks about indie publishing. I doubt a publisher would change a book cover unless it were absolutely necessary, or there was a specific reason. And frankly, in most cases I would advise against changing book covers because readers get used to seeing them. But in this case, with Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street, I just can't live with it. I just hope this is the last time.


Gays at Proms

I personally think that proms are right up there with graduations, weddings, and milestone anniversaries as being pivotal moments in our lives. I went to my prom. I took a girl because up until recently gay teens didn't even think about going with a guy, and I still had a wonderful time. When Tony and I owned tanning salons back in the 90's, I used to get excited from March until June because that was prom time and moms would bring their kids in to tan for the prom. (Even though back then we didn't know everything about skin cancer, we wouldn't allow anyone under 18 to tan without a parent present...it's wasn't the law, it was MY law. After we sold the salons in 2004, prom time is what I missed most about not being there anymore) Most parents appreciated our strict rules, and I got to watch hundreds of kids prepare for their proms. I know to some that might not sound all that exciting, but I always knew those kids would remember that prom for the rest of their lives and I was thrilled to be a small part of it. I often run into them, all grown up now, at local stores and they mention it.

In any event, a high school in Alabama just "un-banned" a rule that stated same-sex couples couldn't attend the prom. Even though this isn't as significant as legalized same-sex marriage, I think it's almost as important and it sends a positive message to gay kids and it lets them know there's nothing wrong with them. But more important, the reason the ban was lifted is because other students spoke up and protested it.

Interim Superintendent Amy Bryan abolished the anti-gay policy soon after she learned of its existence.

"An administrator issued a list of prom rules that included a discriminatory statement," she said, per WSFA. "No one lost their right to go anywhere. It's unfortunate it was in our rules, and all children will be welcome to the Junior-Senior Prom."

I also think it's interesting that this didn't happen in New York or Los Angeles. It happened in Alabama. I guess things are changing.

You can read more here.

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