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Growing Pains

There are times that it becomes necessary to change and grow based upon surroundings and circumstances. As a writer, I’ve made many changes within various projects with the purpose of enhancing or showcasing the work. Some of those modifications were easier to make than others.

Duality has been out for roughly six months now, and I am still enjoying the exhilaration of publishing my debut novel even while working on Vitae, which is due to be published later this year. At the moment, I am an unknown author, so let’s not pretend that sales are through the roof. My senses of gratitude and accomplishment are in the achievement and not due to any financial gain, though the latter will catch up at some point.

As the head of my own “company,” “brand,” or whatever term fits, I also have to maintain a finger on the pulse of what makes sense. Whether it makes sense to me, or whether it might make sense to potential readers is an ongoing battle. Herein lies the basis of a struggle I’ve been dealing with for the last couple of months.

I love the cover for Duality. It is the result of a collaboration with someone who was able to withstand the pressure of my crazy brain, come out unscathed, and conceive a cover that manages to incorporate a visual version of the key theme for the novel. I was in love with his concept from the day we began talking about it, to the day I got a first glimpse of the initial sketch, and on the day the completed work was in my hands. I will never regret how it came to be and I am still thrilled to see it each time I pull a copy of Duality from my shelf or see it online.

My hope was that others would love it just as much. There are some who do – don’t misunderstand – but, most readers don’t have time, and some don’t have the interest in being overly cerebral about choosing what to read. A lot of people are reeled in by the visual impact of what they see, and the cover has to snatch their attention in a positive way to make them even pick the book up to THEN see what the blurb says on the back.

The cover for my novel is surreal. It is odd. It definitely has a, “What the hell?” quality that I think has confused and perhaps even turned off some people more than it’s drawn them in. I’m not there to tell them, “But, wait! It totally makes sense once you read the book!” I don’t have an advocate to explain the reference to someone looking for a great book to read. I can only sigh as they pass up my amazing novel because the ideas behind the cover aren’t readily explained. That crucial 5-10 second window when book covers are usually examined is filled with, “What in the f…?”

I had to be a big girl. I sat down and looked at the numbers while knowing things could be better. I said, “Ametra…you’ll have to update the cover,” and I have done exactly that.

In six months, a year after the initial publication of Duality, I will be releasing a second edition with a newly-designed front and back cover. Vitae is also due for publication at around the same time, and I think they’ll both work together well in amazing ways. The cover for Vitae is already done (and will debut in a sneak peek a few months).

Let’s not misunderstand, though. I fully stand behind the concept of the original cover to Duality, and to see how it is utilized in the second edition, you’ll have to be sure to pick up a copy in November when it becomes available. But, I’ll say this…you may as well go ahead and snag a copy of the first edition now while you still can. My goal is to publish a novel every year. My portfolio is already growing because by the end of this year I’ll have two books out and I’m already working on the next three. As the expansion continues, those early books will begin to be worth something. That first edition of Duality will be rare.

Just saying.