The A to Z Blogging Challenge was a lot of fun, but it’s good to be back in the driver’s seat. I’ve had some exciting developments with my book, In the Blood, which I’ve been waiting to share with you. First, I’ve changed the title to Running Wide Open. Several people have said that I was doing my book a disservice with the original title since it called to mind vampires. I’ve also got a cover design, created by Robin Ludwig. Due to a variety of technical difficulties, this cover has been problematic from the start, so I’m relieved to finally have it finished. Here’s what it looks like.
Cody: Cool. I like the colors.
Lisa: What are you doing here, Cody?
Cody: Whaddaya mean, what am I doing here? You’re revealing the cover of my book. Why wouldn’t I be here? Hey, wait a minute. Is that supposed to be me?
Lisa: Don’t even go there, buddy. I spent five hours looking through stock photos to find a kid who could pass as you. All the others either had dorky expressions on their faces or were wearing parkas. How comfortable do you think that would be at the speedway in July? I’m warning you—this really isn’t the time to mess with me. I’ve had one helluva week, between washing my cell phone, and having Bowker double-charge me $575 for my ISBNs, and—
Cody: Whoa! Hold on. I’m not complaining. I kinda like it. You made me look even studlier than normal.
Lisa: If I’d depicted you as the scrawny twelve-year-old you actually resemble, everyone would think the book was for younger kids.
Cody: I’m not scrawny, I’m wiry. And I don’t look like I’m twelve.
Lisa: Whatever. The idea is for the cover to sell the book to people who don’t have a pre-conceived mental image of what you’re like, rather than the people who know you.
Cody: That’s cool. But what about Race’s car? Isn’t it supposed to be black and have the number 8 on the door?
Lisa: Imagine just for a second what the cover would look like with a black car. Not very interesting, right?
Cody: I see what you mean.
Race: Yeah, that yellow really catches the eye.
Lisa: Oh, hey, Race. You don’t mind that I didn’t use your car, do you? This one has sentimental value to me. It’s the car I ran at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Race: You raced at Hickory? I’m impressed.
Lisa: You shouldn’t be. I got my butt kicked.
Race: Still, Hickory’s the Birthplace of the NASCAR stars. Competing there must’ve been a blast. And that’s a damn good-looking car. Maybe I should paint mine yellow. I’ll bet it makes you more visible on the track. People are always saying they ran into me because they couldn’t see my car.
Cody: A likely excuse.
Lisa: Believe me, the color doesn’t help. This car met an untimely demise when it got T-boned between turns three and four at Hickory.
Lisa: Tell me about it. And that was only halfway through its first season. I still have the door though. It’s hanging on the wall of my garage, complete with a dent in the shape of a Camaro’s front end. So what do you think of the cover?
Race: I like it. I’m not sure I understand why you had to change the title, though. Everyone who knows anything about racing understands what the term “in the blood” means. I don’t see why it would make people think of vampires.
Lisa: That’s because back in your time Stephenie Meyer hasn’t written her Twilight books.
Race: Is that something I want to know about?
Lisa: Not unless you’re into sparkly vampires.
Race: Sparkly … Never mind. So why was the cover such a problem?
Lisa: Well, I had an entirely different design, but then I got feedback from several people who said that from a marketing perspective, it made more sense to have a car and a kid on the cover. Only it’s tough finding a decent picture of a race car that can be used for something like this. In fact, my designer made me take all the original sponsors off this one. Apparently if you have a company name on your cover, it implies that the business is endorsing your book. To come up with this design, I first had to get the negatives of my Hickory pictures scanned at high resolution by Pro Photo Supply. Then I had to learn some Photoshop skills in a hurry to get rid of the old sponsors, add Eugene Custom Classics—which you can only see part of—and eliminate the horrendous glare on the hood and roof.
Race: You can do all that with Photoshop?
Lisa: It’s come a long way since 1990. In fact, they even have a decent version for PC now.
Race: Interesting. Well, I’m glad you have a Dart on the cover. It’s more important to have the car be the right make and model than to have it be the right color.
Lisa: My thinking exactly. Anyway, it’s not like I’m saying this has to be your car.
Cody: Like anyone but us would be running Mopars.
Race: So have you come up with a release date yet?
Lisa: I’m working through the final copyedits, and then I have to finish formatting for POD—that’s print on demand. I also have to get the spine and back cover designed, which can’t be done until the formatting is complete and I know the exact page count. I was hoping to have the book ready for publication by the end of May, but it looks like the POD is going to take a bit longer. At this point, I think the ebook will probably be out around the end of the month and the POD sometime in June.
Cody: And then we’re going to celebrate with pizza, right?
Lisa: Well, that and Guinness. Maybe if Race drinks enough of it, we can actually get him to take his shirt off.