Maybe This Time: The Cover

Remember how much trouble we had coming up with a title for Maybe This Time? You should have seen the hell we went through trying to get a cover. It had to say “romance” and “supernatural” and “quirky” and “fun” and “dark” . . . It had to practically babble, in other words. We got a lot of stuff that was too dark, too chick-litty, too young, too . . . well, you should see for yourself. So here are just some of the cover concepts we went through. Click on the thumbnails to see them up close:



We finally arrived at these three:

And in the end we went with . . .

(That’s the cover mock-up for the ARC; the final book cover will be very similar but without the reader letter on the back.)

This cover thing is not for wimps.

78 thoughts on “Maybe This Time: The Cover

  1. Goahjus, Dahling!! Love the crimson and the floating teacup.
    I’m glad that there is no person on the cover. The models never seem to synch up with what I see in my head and it always bugs me.

  2. I really like the final pick. As I was going through them, that one jumped out at me- a good mix of romance and supernatural.

    1. Oh, god, I feel their pain.
      There were actually more covers that the ones above, but a lot of them were variations on the ones I posted, and we were already in information overload.

  3. “the final book cover will be very similar but without the reader letter on the back.”

    Will the people who get the ARC still get the letter? Or is no-one getting it? Why’s it being taken off? I couldn’t read it all (though I did peer at it extremely carefully) and it seemed as though Jen Enderlin was being very, very enthusiastic about the novel. But the rest of us have to wait until September?

    1. If you hit command+ the picture gets bigger and the letter is easier to read. I think the letter is on the ARC. Krissie took mine the last time she was here so I can’t check.

      1. Thanks, Jenny. I made it bigger. Seems you’ve made Jen Enderlin a very, very happy editor. I’m really looking forward to reading a new solo work from you.

  4. These are all wonderful. I wish you would talk about the process more like you did a couple of times! Why did certain covers work and not others? These posts are really fascinating to me.

  5. There wasn’t much of a process. We kept trying different ideas and different artists, trying to hit that combination of romance and ghost and comedy-but-not-farce until we ended up with the red chair, which everybody loved. I liked the yellow-y one, too, but in the end, the chair was the best..

    1. Me too! I liked the girl’s facial and body expression and the background. Don’t know why. But the red chair is good too. Didn’t care for the candles and hearts and butterflies. Must be my age.

  6. I like the art on the first cover shown, all the floaty blue with the glowing moon. It would be all wrong for the book, but might be nice for a poster when they make the movie… it would make a great movie…

    I think the cover you ended up choosing is perfect. It fits the book, so everyone should know what to expect just from looking at it.

  7. Can I just say it is the coolest thing EVER to have already gotten to read this wonderful book (thanks to your contest a few months back!) and now it’s just the cherry on top to see the cover two months later.

    I feel a swoon coming on. I need to go lie down.

    Tawna

    1. Thank you, Tawna. It’s good to know you liked it since we’re heading into kill-me-now/review country shortly.

  8. The Reader Letter in the back is really compelling – why not release it like that? Just not done, or some legal thing?

    At first I thought all that red would be too “boudoir”, but close-up it looks intriguing. A teeny bit “Masterpiece Theatre”, but the ghostly tea-cup takes down some of the potential hot air.

    (But who suggested the slutty girl in the red dress???)

    Anyway, good luck on the new release, we hope it rocks its way up the NYT lists. We’ll certainly do our part.

  9. Oh, good. The chair suggests a house or home but its a formally styled piece so it seems a bit forbidding too. Perfect.

    Much better than the six in a row that remind me of the nora roberts covers. I’m seeing a cover trend there.

  10. I really like the candle smoke shaped like a heart ones, especially the right hand one. I also liked the woman floating, but I don’t think it passes the pick it up from the shelf test.

    The chair you ended up with is good too. Very lush.

    I cannot WAIT for this book to come out! *excited face*

  11. The cover is beautiful. I want to crawl into the chair and read your latest work. Maybe I need to get a new reading chair before September…

    1. Oh, but the Headless Woman is so very useful! It gives you an idea of the protagonist as well as the feel of the book without giving you a face and eyes. Faces and eyes force too much of an identity onto the person on the cover, and for the maximum number of viewers to feel they can connect with the protagonist on the cover, there should be as little identity on it as possible. 🙂 But yes, the Headless Woman has been given a hell of a workout lately, and we probably ought to let her take a vacation.

  12. Love the chair, love the colour red. Cannot wait. Going to pre-order the book. That helps, right.

  13. Oh I love it! It fits beautifully with the book! I agree with Tawna, I feel so lucky and grateful to have been able to read the book early and I can’t wait to buy one with the gorgeous red cover and put my “Uncorrected Bound Manuscript” in a safe place. I’m hoping after Liz, you might write Alice’s story next….? What? Too soon? 😉

    1. Jen and I have talked about it and we’re tentatively doing Alice’s and Nadine’s stories next. But that’s four books from now, so things could change.

  14. Didn’t know pre-ordering helped. Just pre-ordered Maybe This Time and Trust Me on This. If I could pre-order Alice’s and Nadine’s stories now, I would!

  15. Lovely choice. Deep, mysterious a bit of fun. I know it must be lots of work for you, but I’m a designer and I think anyone who gets to design Jennifer Cruisie stuff would be totally chuffed no matter how many drafts you went through! It would be my design mecca!

  16. I love when you post the also rans — so educational. But I must say, I think on the whole, the group is a great bunch to have to choose from. I also Really Liked the yellow one in the third group as well, just on it’s own. I think the red matches the book better, but the yellow one was really neat. I did wonder thoug, why on the butterflies. I guess I associate them positively with “The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes” but not so much in this book. Enough that I’d forgotten them. (But then, I’m concerned w. my memory, so take that w. the grain of salt.) Anyway, thanks for posting these.

  17. You got a winner Ms Jenny!

    I kinda liked the one in the first row on the right with the girl holding a cherry.

    But the deep red one is a winner.

    Looking forward to reading “Maybe This Time”.

  18. On May 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm Jenny said…
    Jen and I have talked about it and we’re tentatively doing Alice’s and Nadine’s stories next. But that’s four books from now, so things could change.

    Oh I’m excited! But what about Dillie? 🙂

    1. Maybe later down the road. With the four Liz books and Alice and Nadine, that’s five or six years of my life already booked. ARGH.

      1. I know, I’m being a demanding little brat aren’t I? Well it’s your own damn fault for creating characters we get addicted to 😉 Keep up the good work 🙂

      2. Wouldn’t Dillie crop up in a Nadine book, given that they’re sorta-kinda-almost related? 🙂

  19. What Tawna & Shiloh said. Thank you SO MUCH for letting me get a sneak peek. And I love the red. This cover just fits the story.

  20. That one is definitely my favorite. I love the red–and the shape of the chair and the steam in the shape of a heart. Even the font–they just pulled it all together beautifully. How exciting!!

  21. Yay! It’s a lovely cover! I really feel it does say what I as a bookseller was hoping it would say, which is: “Jennifer Crusie does Creepy.” I quite like the yellow one, as well, but when you put them all in a row like that, the red one really pulls me in. Once again, a superb and eminantly salable cover. I know it’s hard work, but you generally get such lovely results.

  22. Thank you all for liking the cover. I really do love it. It’s a hellish process, but Jen Enderlin is always great during it, incredibly patient and focused on getting just the right design, so that makes it easier. Jen really is a goddess.

      1. She’s the best there is. I’ve been working with her for almost fifteen years, and she’s never let me down, saved me any number of times, and always been unfailingly professional and fair. Also, she’s a genius and I love her.

  23. Love it! The chair style suggests “creepy, old house”. You can almost see Anthony Perkins dressed as his mother, sitting in it.

  24. This is totally off topic (although I am absolutely thrilled with the upcoming book and can’t wait to get my grubby paws on it) but…
    just had to say I finally tried Min’s recipe for Chicken Marsala and my family loved it!! It was fun and easy to make and I really enjoyed following the ‘off the cuff’ nature of the directions–thanks so much for adding to my list of favorite dishes!

  25. Lovely! I can appreciate art when I see it, but pulling it out of thin air? And then having to please other people? Whoa! (-: I imagine it’s kind of the same thing as writing . . . .

  26. Oh yay, oh yay! I’m going to pre-order now. It’s a lovely cover and after all the help me name this book suspense and then trying to win the (we broke the blog) contest every day, I’ve really been excited to read this one.

  27. Very cool design. You got your Gothic with the red chair that says “something spooky going on here” and then the floating tea cup says “quirky humor”. I would have ditched the steamy heart thing, but that’s just me. I don’t care for hearts, never have.

    1. The heart is to say “romance”, I guess, but I, too, wish there were a less-cliché way to do so!

  28. You are really very lucky – all of the mock-ups are of much higher quality than I see on the average published cover in store. Actually, you’ve shared this process with us several times now and I think I’m beginning to be able to pick out which artists has a tendency for certain motifs/fonts/colors. 😀 Where’s Waldo!

    I love the blue covers with the candle and the smoke best, but that’s because I’m partial to blue. The cover you chose is awesome. Yay! And if this is releasing in August then… Happy Birthday to Me!

  29. Add me to the incredibly grateful group who got to read this ahead of time. The cover definitely matches the story. Love that deep red, looks like it was pulled right from the house.

    Off to pre-order!

  30. Just finished reading Faking It … again and well, again … and must say woo-hoo to learn Nadine will get her own book (with cameos by Simon and Louise/Eve, right?)

  31. To me the cover says “Blue’s Clues” and it puts me in a nostalic kinda mood. It’s a very striking cover and I look forward to reading it.

  32. The cover is “nail on the head” perfect for the book. Just signed up to be notified when the unabridged audio cd is ready to be pre-purchased. I am truly glad everyone will soon have the music. We made up a playlist with the songs from the book and listen to it all the time. We each added in one more song although I skipped ahead about 12 years. I picked “Why Don’t We Just Dance?” by Josh Turner and R. put in Josh Turner’s version of “Don’t Mess Around With Jim”. He says Andie is Slim. Also, the dog barks when R. joins in on the chorus, which he finds really funny. We’ve been listening to Josh a lot lately, too. There’s just something about that voice. Now, if only it was as easy to pick music for my (slow and painful) WIP. How do you do it? Does it just come to you or is there a process?

    1. It’s a process. I had Hallelujah as a major Liz motif, but it’s gone now. I think Liz is going to be almost all country, spliced with mid-nineties rock since that’s when she was in high school in Birney. And then the show tunes when we get to the fourth book. But thanks to Glee, “My Life Would Suck Without You” is now stuck in my head, and it’s very Liz, so that may end up in there. Lots of Terri Clark and Kim Richey and of course Roseanne Cash. Brad Paisley. Now that I have a country theme, I have to go through all my old CD albums and see what I have. There may be Elvis. Lorrie Morgan. Mary Chapin Carpenter. Lyle Lovett. There’s a family of kids named after country greats–Johnny Cash Porter, Kenny Rogers Porter, Willie Nelson Porter, and Patsy Cline Porter. I should probably sample all of those (well, I’d have Patsy anyway.)
      MTT was constrained by the time periods. It was either contemp for the book, which was 1992, or it was nostalgia for ten years before, early 80s music. That was fun. I’m supposed to get the soundtrack together for the pr people at SMP; I’ll post it when I have it.

  33. Man, you had some gorgeous options. I liked the one of the girl on the moon, holding the cherry. And the one with the locket, especially the background. And the tan candle-and-butterfly one. Seriously, I want the picture from that last one as a desktop background or something…I keep going back to look at it.

    The one you went with is fantastic and is everything the book seems to be from what we’ve seen. I’m so excited!!! 😀 I’m going to go look into preordering right now.

    1. Go grab the Unfortunate Miss Fortunes background. It’s quite similar and very lovely. Plus it says “hocus pocus, hanky panky” on it. But the one with the locket’s my favorite of these, too.

  34. I pre-ordered today. I can’t wait. I hope ther is some Willy and Kris and Johnny in the Liz books. I have that music.

  35. TT – yeah, hearts say romance, but even as a teenager I thought they were too cutesy, unless they were Red Hots. I have a girly-girl streak, but it’s a bold, fushia swish.

  36. Good thinking! Better pre-order the unabridged MTT for the car, for the long trips, for when I am working, for the treadmill…

  37. Hate to be contrary, but I’m fond of the girl on the moon–with your name in big letters at the top of the cover. (Love that color blue; love the look on her face.) It makes me think: quirky and probably paranormal…

    The red works too. I mean, I’m pretty sure any of us would buy your books if they came printed on the back of used napkins smeared with mustard…whatever…

  38. Reviewing that first panel, thanks for not going with the banana hugging a girl on the moon on the top right. Even enlarging it, it took quite a while to parse it as a girl holding an umbrella. My brain is pretty sure it’s a banana.

    The big moon (second image) and bottom right in that same set both reminded me of the TUMF cover, such a favorite that it’s still my background on my home computer, even after getting a new computer. But the moon only didn’t have enough stuff for the close-up interest. I rather like the one with valerie bertinelli hanging in the locket though I can handle the red chair.

    I love seeing this process. I grew up in a household where we usually did things once then we were done. It’s only as an adult I’ve learned the value of the first through 30th drafts. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I also thought it was a banana until I went to a larger version of the picture. I guess it could get a person to pick up the book.?

  39. Well, this is so intriguing, how it works. I mean, Blue…. moon…stars…butterflies….more blue, more moon, blue moon, blue, blue blue, moon moon moon– Red Chair!

  40. LOVE the chair. of course, i prefer blue, but it wouldn’t have looked at gothic and opulent in blue. counting down the days ’till i can read the book!

  41. Yeah! I picked the same one you went with. I picked it over the white background one because I liked the text layout better. Your name was prominent and the title was emphasized by being in the smoke heart which indicated romance. The floating tea cup represents the ghosts. It works.

  42. Seems to me that after all that work, you ended up with a good one. I don’t know whether I would have liked to be included in such a complicated process – once the book is done, I feel so helpless about it anyway. So maybe my publisher knew this and just kept me informed that they were working on it.

    Last week I got the publishing catalog, and now it’s up on Amazon.de even if we have to wait until February until it’s available. I don’t mean to brag here since this is YOUR blog, but there were people trying to help me with the title (thanks again, R. and friends!) and I don’t know how else to inform them, so I’ll just post the link. Nobody is forced to look at it. Translated it’s roughly “Moving to Happiness”, and that’s what it looks like:
    http://www.amazon.de/Umzug-ins-Glück-Ursula-Schröder/dp/3423212659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275034637&sr=1-1

  43. My first favourite was the 2nd picture, just the blue and the moon. However, I do think you’ve picked a winner with the red chair. Can’t wait to read it now.

  44. I don’t understand why sometimes the cover says “a novel” and sometimes it doesn’t. What else would it be if not a novel? I may be expending too many brain cells on this.

  45. I was really drawn to the middle girl-on-the moon but like the “tone” of the final pick a lot more. The yellow one with the teapot reminds me of Phantom Dennis from ANGEL. LoL.

  46. I love the cover you chose and I also like the one to the right of it with the floating woman and tea cup, it’s good not to see her face. Also I can’t stand the ones that look like bad photoshops. If I think I can create it with my lousy photoshop skills then generally I don’t want to read the book, it’s not fair but it’s true. I can’t wait to buy Maybe This Time! Hurrah.

  47. Just clicked over here today–been sadly remiss on keeping up on blogs, etc. And I dutifully scrolled through the covers, thought I would get an over view before enlarging any, and the red one with the chair is the one that caught my eye and I thought “this one” before I saw that it was the one you had chosen! I would have picked this book up with this cover before any of the others if I didn’t know anything about the book because it was the one that spoke to me. Exactly right. Can’t wait to read it–still have to pick up Wild Ride but I have to wait for my budget to get back in sync with my bills after having been off work for almost 5 months… *sigh*

  48. Been gone. Missed this. Good cover choice. Some of those covers remind me of The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes.

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