Cover Stories: Preloved by Shirley Marr

Today, Shirley Marr is here to share her cover for Preloved. It's such a sweet title, right? And the concepts are as emotional as the final cover (fully pictured below). Here's Shirley:

"I'm a very visual  and 'big picture' person, so with every new novel I start, after I come up with the storyline and title (which I make happen at the same time), I look around for an image which I think best sums up what I am trying to write. Preloved is a vintage-flavoured romantic ghost story with themes of second chances and second hand things. I found this particular image (right) and it contained the theme, motifs (whimsical vintage bike!) and 'feel' I was going for.

"So yes, I make myself an 'unofficial' cover. I don't go as far as putting my own name on it, but the image itself is as influential to me as any notes and research I collect, I will often glance at it for inspiration.

"I didn't have any input into the covers that were created. The cover decisions of my Publisher are very sales and marketing driven. The Marketing Team always give input during meetings in terms of a cover's marketability. The Editorial Team and the designer will provide balance by looking at the cover on a deeper level, in terms of it's relevance and relation to the content. I am happy for the initial designs to be done without me. After all, the teams have years of experience in what works well and I trust them to strike the perfect balance. Plus it's also quite exciting seeing someone else's interpretation of my words. It's like waiting to see your baby being born. I like surprises.

"Honestly, when I first saw my cover, right, I was very surprised! It looked and felt completely different to what I had imagined. I was thinking it would be more 'indie' looking, but it was very 'chick lit.' And very pink!

"My editor Maryann Ballantyne (who is the most patient woman in the world) wanted to hear my honest opinion, so I told her the truth. It didn't help that my last novel cover (for Fury) was very gothic and dark looking so I kinda had very firm ideas about what I was and I wasn't. I told her I wasn't sure 'pink' was very 'me.'

"The next thing I knew, Maryann had gotten straight onto the designer, Gayna Murphy, to let her know about the cover! And in a matter of hours, Gayna had responded with a new cover treatment. Gayna changed the colour of the cover from pink to orange (left).

"I decided to take a few days to mull things over. When I revisited the original cover, I couldn't help but really see how pretty and delicate the whole thing was. I think my initial reaction was due more to the expectations I had in my head rather than the cover not being suitable. I basically had a completely different image in my head the nine or so months I took writing the novel. Once I got over that, the more I looked at the proposed cover, the more I became used to it and the more I fell in love with it.

"I completely love the cover now. I think the image captures my heroine perfectly, with the ball dress and sneakers. It's reflective of the prettiness and also the edginess and cheekiness, which I think is totally me. It wasn't until I received the actual physical copy in the post that I full understood what Gayna was trying to do. The cover is so unbelievably beautiful in the flesh - printed on matt paper, it is all sepia tones and saturated pinks - like an old tinted vintage print. Which is exactly what the novel is about - ghosts of the past and nostalgia. I love how the necklace that plays a major part in the novel is on the cover in a very subtle way. And I love how the sunspots add that touch of whimsy. Walker Books MD - Sarah Foster - is really big on getting all of the designers to read the entire book they are working on. And it really shows.

"The lesson I have learnt - just because I have a concept I feel is right for the book, doesn't mean someone else can't come up with something as perfect too. I can't thank Gayna enough.

"And you know what, I reckon I can fully 'do' pink!

"Without further ado, I present to you my final cover:

"And here are all of the other proposed covers! The yellow cover with the girl with the paper umbrella was the second choice. Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that Gayna has done her research and I really like all of them. For some reason I really love the one with the cassette tapes! But I think that the right cover was chosen. What do you think?

"Thank you so much Melissa for having me on your blog!"

Thanks, Shirley! I absolutely agree that the final cover is best, though you have SO MANY great concepts here. Still, tulle and Converse? I'm in. Seriously. You had me at tulle.

What do you guys think?