You guys! Tara Altebrando has done something awesome: She's releasing 2 of her early titles on e-book, indie style, and I could not be more exited, for 2 reasons:
1. I've only read Tara's later books, and they are SO GOOD that I can't wait to read these.
2. The Pursuit of Happiness is set on the Jersey Shore and Tara herself grew up on Staten Island -- both ravaged by Hurricane Sandy -- so through the end of the year, all proceeds earned on her books will go to Sandy relief.
How great is that? Tara is here to share the Cover Stories for the new e-books of The Pursuit of Happiness and What Happens Here. (I'm buying my copies TODAY.)
"I think that enough time has passed that I can finally admit that I liked the original covers for these books okay. But really just okay. [See original, left, vs. new covers, right, below.]
"The Pursuit of Happiness was one of the first four young adult novels that MTV Books published back in 2006 and they were all given the same 'look' in terms of font treatment and also a summery sort of vibe. I always felt like there was a different/better cover involving the silhouette art that plays such a big role in the story. The main character, Betsy, is having this horrible summer because of a family tragedy but her summer job is at a colonial re-enactment village and she discovers a passion for cutting old-fashioned paper silhouettes.
"A lot of the reviews of Pursuit back in the day talked about how the book was surprisingly moving and powerful and well written...and how you never would have known that from the cover/packaging. That always irritated me! But yes, of course people really do judge books by their covers.
"This ebook repackage was my chance to give Pursuit the cover I think it should have had the first time around. There! I said it! I am officially in love with this cover. I have half a mind to get a hard copy of this version of the book printed up on demand just so I can hold a copy of the book bearing this cover in my hands. (Oh! And I should mention that the covers are embedded in these ebooks; not all ebooks include cover art but these do.)
"As for What Happens Here, I think the original cover was cool and dark and true to the book, but I am not sure it was accessible enough? No matter. I'd originally wanted to call that book Exploding Hearts because which makes sense if you read the book—which is about a devastating event that breaks open the main character's heart in many ways—but I couldn't get that title through editorial approval. I didn't want to change the title in this repackage because I always thinks that's confusing, but I was excited that my designer friend (Peter Lutjen) and I found a way to bring that exploding heart imagery into the new cover.
"As you can tell, we set out to give the two covers a shared look, which I thought might be tricky since the tone of the books are so different, but Peter nailed it. I love that the two covers are technically quite similar but emotionally very different.
"I've joked often that when you see your book cover (handed down from the publisher) for the first time, it's like seeing a baby you have given birth to for the first time. You're like, 'Really? That's what it looks like?' So this time around, it was really fun to have these covers designed to my own specifications. I loved these babies the second I laid eyes on them. :)"
I love this idea, and I just may do the same with some of my early books, if I'm able. And the new covers are head and shoulders above the original ones, I think -- I love simple silhouettes with a pop of color. You guys?
PS-You can read the original Cover Story for What Happens Here here.