In the mail yesterday, I got stickers for my book. It won a prize, and this was the bragging rights I had been told were coming. It is a silver sticker from the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Benjamin Franklin Award for cover design. My novel came in #2 in the country and it could surely dress up my book with a glow like the stars.
The art for my cover came from an artist in Japan. The image was a dream my publisher had one night, and then shared it with me first thing in the morning. The image was given to the art director, who played with color and line and shape. The dress on the cover and the vision of the girl came from photos of real vintage dresses and real girls, sent to the artist in the mountains outside Tokyo. The title of the book, 17 Dresses, that was bounced around by the quite a few people until it was finalized and became part of the winning cover.
I am over the moon about this. It took me six years to write this book, and it is a very rough, difficult topic that deals with an eating disorder and mental health. That the cover is getting praise and attention means that a topic heretofore taboo might be opened up and talked about in places that it has not been before. When the sun shines in a darkened corner, all sorts of new things can grow. And awareness, it can only be a good thing. When half of all young people have disordered eating, well it can only be a good thing. If my book is opened by just one girl or boy who needs it because s/he loves the cover, then this emblem that sticks on the front cover, it is the rainbow after the rain.
When my girl looked at the stickers, she was quite excited for me, thought it was very cool. But she is in the midst of struggles with her self image, so her attention left quickly, She is two weeks away from summer and has had it. It cannot come soon enough, that 80-degree morning when the alarm does not go off. She is depressed, and this was the reason I wrote the book. The cover wins a prize, has garnered attention in Chicago and New York, but inside, that is the real story. If I am not pretty enough, or thin enough, or zit-free inside, then all the glossy beauty that wins the prize, beyond pride, is empty. My book cover is a promise I am so hoping beyond hope it keeps, to engage and bolster the cause, to let in only the cleanest light and make that stick.