When I create a cover, it often is as much instinct as it is plan (my oil paintings are a lot like that also). Such was the case when I decided to redo the cover for From Here to There. It had been out since January with the heroine in front, looking a little mystified and the hero riding a horse up toward her-- a barbed wire fence between them. The couple came from two purchased CanStock images that I had set into one of my own photos of the part of Montana where the story happens.
When the book stopped getting attention this fall, I put it on a free day which got more free takers than I expected but led to nothing in sales afterward. When it comes up for renewal in Select, I will pull it with the idea of putting it as with some of the others onto other publishing sites. I think the free days helped originally but aren't anymore. Some say Barnes and Noble has increased sales and Kobo is a possibility with perhaps less competition than Amazon with it having over a million a year new books being added. How anybody finds anything there is amazing.
Thinking about the book's future led to deciding to change the cover. It had begun to seem flat to me. From Here to There is a love story of the land, the West, and of two sets of lovers. How does a cover depict that?
The contemporary story of Helene and Phillip seemed most important but underlying their story were Helene's expectations where it came to marriages. Although her Aunt Rochelle had been dead a few years as the story opens, she is still a major factor in Helene's heart and thinking.
Helene, who ends her new marriage between the ceremony and the reception, is operating with a mix of fantasy and reality for what a marriage can be. Returning to Montana at her uncle's invitation, she finds a sense of peace as well as a journal her aunt had left for her. It was the story of Rochelle's own first year in Montana.
Rochelle had come to Montana as a young woman, leaving behind an aristocratic family and trying to find her way in a place she'd never been. She got a job in a cafe and fell in love with the land and eventually a man. Reading the journal is interspersed with Helene's experiences as Phillip follows her West-- much to her chagrin.
I enjoyed writing this book because it encompassed my own experiences with ranch life as well as being set in a state I have loved since the first day I drove into it which was now over twenty years ago. I remember coming down the freeway and feeling as though I had been there before. I loved it.
Montana has the Western feel as well as that of wilderness. There is the energy of living as pioneers did because in some areas, it's how people still live, remote from our so-called modern improvements and yet with the benefits of cities like Missoula and Bozeman with more sophistication than some might expect. In those mountains are artists and writers with a creative environment that is very alive. I go there whenever I can which isn't nearly often enough.
The cover for the book has gone through several metamorphoses as it has had an embracing couple (digital painting), a country road (photo), and finally where it is today. As I redid it this time, I saw it was showing for the first time the story of two women. Without my really planning it, the cover has come far closer to telling the story of this book than any earlier version.
But that's a kind of complicated view of a cover. How many readers would get its deeper meaning just from looking at it? Although I do covers for the readers, hoping they will entice a sale, they are also for me.