You, Me, Everything – Judging a book by its cover by Catherine Isaac
Seeing the cover of your book for the first time can be one of the best things about being an author. It can also be one of the worst. Because what makes a cover appealing, original and representative of the story are all entirely subjective matters. A stunning package to one reader can be a turn-off to another. Ditto a publisher and an author. What makes this scenario tricky is that an author doesn’t usually get the final say in what the jacket of their book will look like (although I think there’s a general acceptance that life’s easier for all concerned if they don’t despise it). Although I’ve been lucky over the years with mine, I do know other authors who have been less than thrilled with the cover their publisher ran with.
I must admit I didn’t quite know what Simon and Schuster UK were going to come up with for ‘You, Me, Everything’. I’ve been working with them from the start of my career as a novelist. But with my previous books – those written as Jane Costello – I’d had ten years to get used to the ‘brand’. So although the cover style evolved and the illustrators changed, they’d always had the ingredients you’d associate with a romantic comedy book. Only this time, I’d given them a completely different kind of novel. I was writing under a new name. It wasn’t a romantic comedy. With ‘You, Me, Everything’, we are making it up as we go along – in the best possible way. I knew we’d all want something compelling and tasteful, something attractive and true to the story; something that hinted at the emotion inside. I knew we all wanted something GREAT. But what was that exactly?
I saw the cover for the first time over dinner with Jo Dickinson and Sara-Jade Virtue from S&S a few months ago. They took me by surprise over dessert, when Jo could wait no longer and produced a proof copy from her handbag like she was doing a magic trick. I am full of admiration for this high-risk strategy because if I’d hated it the rest of the evening could’ve been awkward, even accounting for the cocktails. Fortunately I did – and do – love it. It is a deceptively simple work of art; in particular, the monochrome images of my heroine and her son walking towards his father say so much about the story in the subtlest of ways. So, yet again, they’ve done me proud. And I can’t wait to see the real thing when it hits the shelves.
* You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac will be published in the UK in Spring 2018 by Simon & Schuster.