A few months ago I finally got the email I’d been waiting for: the mock up cover for In the Land of Gold.
Having pictured in my head what I explained to the cover artist, I was highly anticipating this cover, and after a few clicks the email was open and up popped two pictures. One of them wasn’t a good fit at all, but the other one was decent enough. Perhaps, if tweaked a little, it could even be the one.
Anyways, my first impulse was to send it to my trusted friends for their opinion, which is exactly what I did. Doesn’t everyone do that in life, though? Instead of forming our opinions, coming the decision, we have to hash out the details with friends. We can’t possibly answer the what if questions without the two cents of those in our lives, whether friends or family. A good quality to have, and yet, sometimes I wonder if at times it creates more questions than answers them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I value the opinions of my friends and family. I seek out answers to questions I can’t answer for myself and they help me more than I think they know or believe they help. I take their views into consideration, I appreciate their help and time. I respect what they have to say, and I have to admit that more often than not the way they see things are actually better than I see things.
With all that said, though, after I sent the cover to everyone and their reactions started coming in, I couldn’t help but feel like I should have formed my own opinion before saying anything. I only saw what they saw, which in turn jaded my own thoughts and left me feeling awful about the new cover of my novel…a cover I actually kind of liked.
And, what was worse, after talking with the cover artist about the cover and finding out the tweaks mentioned by these friends couldn’t be done, you can imagine where that left me, right? Oh yeah, thinking that I had a horrible cover, and nothing is worse than that feeling. Especially, when it’s not true…well at least to others.
Just like our writing, the covers to our stories are taken in different ways by everyone under the sun. What one person likes, another doesn’t, what one person hates, another loves. Taste is as different as night and day, covering a vast sea of personal preferences that are never the same. No author can live up to everyone’s expectation any more than a cover can live up to the delight of everyone who sees it.
In knowing this, I often think about the thought that plagues me every single time someone tells me they love my novel. Especially, when it’s someone I know, whether personally or through social media. That knee-jerk reaction of “Did you really love it? Or are you just saying that because you don’t want to be mean and because you know me?” thought just keeps pecking away at my confidence day after day. Granted, knowing their true feelings would probably do a number on my belief in myself, however, not knowing how they really felt drives me a little insane.
The only thing I can do is love my stories and love my covers and not really care what others think. Not to say that rudely, LOL, not the I don’t give a rats behind what you think kind of way, just a I’m cool with it, and if your not, well that’s okay. But, in the end, no matter what is all said and done, the first opinion you should follow is your own. Above all, over everyone else…follow your own.