Cover Stories: Zen and Xander Undone

Talking to Carolyn Mackler about her new paperback cover for Tangled got me thinking about paperback changes, and here's another one for you guys. Amy Kathleen Ryan's Zen and Zander Undone recently got a big cover change, so she's here to share that story:

"I didn't know about the change. It came as a complete surprise when I got my author's copies. They didn't even tell me they were considering a redesign. This is very different from how they usually do things. Before, they've always seemed to value my opinion. I think maybe they were in a real hurry with this one.

"I liked the new cover immediately. I liked the subtlety of it, though it no longer portrays the two sisters. The girl on the cover could be either of the sisters, so it's fine by me. A different department handles paperbacks. I imagine that my editor approved the cover, but I do not think she was at the center of the redesign.

"The hard cover (right) was from an original photo shoot [read that Cover Story], and I found it very flattering that my publisher would go to that expense and trouble for me. With the paperback, I would be surprised if they didn't use a stock photo, since they already spent so much money on a cover that didn't end up working well.

"Honestly, I think I prefer the paperback cover. It's nicely evocative and artistic. My only regret is that it doesn't make it clear that Zen is the name of a person. I've always worried that the title could make it sound like Xander is really into Zen Buddhism and she's coming undone. But it seems to be selling much better than the hardcover did, so I can't complain. It's enough to make readers pick up the book and read the jacket copy, and that's all we can ask of a cover, isn't it?"

Thanks, Amy! I love these hair untying shots -- I really do. I think the new cover would draw me to the book more. What do you guys think?

PS-Alea has a great Hardcover vs. Paperback feature if you want to see more of these changed covers!