As I mentioned in my last post, I’m working on publishing another ebook – a reissue of The Complete Backyard Nature Activity Book, originally published in 1998 by McGraw Hill’s Learning Triangle Press. I designed the first cover, which featured a daytime scene surrounded by a night scene. The night scene had owls, flying squirrels, raccoons, deer, and bats. Here’s the cover they published:
They expanded the daytime scene and ditched the night scene! Why? Because someone in power decided that the book would not sell with bats on the cover. My editor told me she had to fight to keep the chapter about bat houses. I was happy that bats were included at all, but I was disappointed. I never saw a proof, only a finished book. Other authors have lamented about the same thing, but few of them were the illustrator. I did get some revenge by taking the original painting on school visits and showing the kids what happened. They all cried, “NO FAIR!” with only a little bit of encouragement.
Now that I am publishing the revised edition, I get to design the cover my way!! But not really. Ebooks need to pop among a bunch of other covers on a device that might be about 2 inches wide, if that. That original cover would never work in this format. So after many hours of futzing, here’s what I came up with:
Yah. It looks like a field guide. That wasn’t the goal, it’s just how it evolved. But hey, that’s sort of what the book is. I even removed my name. Author information is in the catalog anyway, so why mess up one inch of marketing space with a name? Besides, if you look very closely, there is a bat in there. To me, that was more important.