Cover Stories: I'm Not Her

Janet Gurtler's original title was The Weight of Bones, and she had a very different cover at first, so I had to find out how it evolved from the initial version (below) to the final (left). Here's Janet: "I had no clue what the cover of this book would look like when I was writing it.  I never do. I mean I love imagining my work in progress as an actual book, but in my mind the cover is still pretty much blank. I’m just not a visual person in that way. I have zero artistic ability. As in none. I can barely draw a stick man. I’m happy that there are talented cover designers out there to come up with covers!

"The cover for I’m Not Her was presented to me as I was still digesting a title change. Originally the title of my book was The Weight of Bones. It really had a cover story all it’s own! The first cover presented to me was orange and yellows and kind of arty and eclectic. The designers had come out with some really beautiful but really different designs so they opened up a vote on the Teen Fire website.  You can see the old cover ideas here.

"Popular vote was for the black and white image but the consensus was that color was needed. I was given several colors to look at and as a team we chose this cover (right). I thought the cover selected was truly beautiful. It was eerie and dark and kind of broken, the way some of the characters in the book are. I really loved it.

"Ultimately though, my wise publisher thought the book didn’t convey the right tone. It looked more like a dark paranormal story or a truly dark story like Wintergirls and in the end, it probably wouldn’t have reached the right audience. (Publishers are wise like that). So in the end I sorrowfully let the title and cover go.

"Honestly I loved the old cover and old title so hard, it was a little tough to get my mind around the new title. But when I saw the cover that went with it, I was really, really happy. Within a day I was madly in love. The colors are beautiful. It’s so pretty and to me there is so much about the picture that the reader can interpret. Hopefully the cover does what it is supposed to do, and entices readers to pick up the book to take a look at it. And hopefully, from there, (deep cleansing breath) readers like what they read and purchase I’m Not Her!

"My editor is a wonderful woman and she did ask for my feedback on the cover. There were a couple of other covers presented at the same time, we all loved this one the best!

"When the final version of this cover was sent to me, they’d added the bubble over the title (see top image). To me, it finished off the look incredibly well. I was actually really impressed with the back cover of the book too when I got the ARC. The artist incorporated the bubble for the back cover copy in inverse colors and I think it looks FAB!

"Honestly? I am gushy in love with this cover. It wasn’t LOVE at first sight but I am head over heels now. The wilting ripped up flower has meaning, because the story isn’t a light happy one. I like how it’s contrasted with beautiful, hopeful colors though, because as tragic and heartwrenching as the story is, ultimately it is about finding your true self and learning how to become and love who you are.  So I think the bittersweetness portrayed in the cover suits the story."

Thanks, Janet! That is a huge visual and title shift to go through as an author, and I understand why it took you a while to get used to and love the new direction, but rest assured that it's lovely! (And I like the title font change from first to last version of the new cover, too.)

I snagged this publisher's description of the book, and I have to say that I think the final cover tells this story more than the first. What do you guys think?

Brainy Tess Smith is the younger sibling of the beautiful, popular, volleyball-scholarship-bound Kristina. When Kristina is diagnosed with bone cancer, it drastically changes both sisters' lives. Sometimes the things that annoy us the most about our siblings are the ones we'd miss the most if we lost them.

In this YA literary coming-of-age novel that will appeal to readers who love Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen, sisters Tess and Kristina discover not only who they are, but who they can become.