Friday, August 25, 2006

A Final Exam On My Book

We had horrific thunderstorms last night, complete with flashflood warnings and a torrent of rain that would make Noah's ark feel a little uneasy (if arcs could feel, of course!). So no internet last night, and no writing and no blogging. Sigh. I will have to catch up tonight.

I was all set to blog, too, and knew what I wanted to write about: I had to take a final exam on my very own book. Yikes!

When I sold, my editor told me we'd have to rush on the cover art, but I didn't know what "rush" meant. It meant that I was given my deadline for my Art Fact Sheet even before the official title had been settled (though that came quite soon after, thank goodness!)

The Art Fact Sheet is a series of questions about your book that Harlequin's cover artists use to come up with your very own cover. The cover is frequently in process before the book goes into print, I understand, so artists need to know a little bit about the book before they pick up their paint brush (or computer mouse, more likely in this day and age!)

I peeked at it the first day they sent me the info. Truly, it scared the be-jeebies out of me! Man! They expected me to answer all these questions? Gulp.

You'd think I would readily know the answers to questions about a book I've revised three times, but, ahem, no. I know how the characters feel. I know the obstacles they overcome. I know the way they typically respond to whatever curve balls life throws at them.

But eye color? And did my heroine's hair match the "short but floppy" or the "short and curly" better? Or maybe it was really short and wavy? I had to go back and look at how old she was in the book before I could plug in her age. My own book! I had to look!

Questions like that were the easy ones. They also had some tough "essay" type questions about conflicts and turning points and themes. Plus you had to describe up to three scenes that you would suggest for the cover. Ultimately they decide what goes on it -- they're the experts in marketing, after all.

I hope I have it all done right. I know I felt a huge load off me when I finally e-mailed the editorial assistant and told her it was done. I haven't felt that way since I finished a final in my upper level Lit courses in college!


Stephanie Bose said...

Look at you, getting ready for cover art! I'm so proud of you!!!!

nelsa said...

Wow Cynthia! Who knew you had to go through all that for the cover? Good grief - we all knew that good covers make an important impression but essay questions. Yikes. But you have to admit, this kind of essay is fun!
Can't wait to see what they come up with.

Cynthia Reese said...

Thanks, Steph and Nelsa! It is exciting! The scary part, though, is that whatever you put down, you're sort of stuck with. I didn't want to screw up and wind up with a bad cover! I'm really curious to know what it will look like.

Won't be long before you guys know that same excited/terrified feeling ... I just know it!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE reading about your journey Cynthia! I guess when we're dreaming of that day when we sell, it all sorta just ends at the sale. Guess it just keeps going and going, huh? Sounds like sooo much fun. Sorta. I can imagine that each new step has all kinds of new pressures and things to totally freak out over. Can't wait to see what your cover will be like!