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Judging a Book By Both Its Covers

greer [1]Today’s guest is Greer Macallister [2], a poet, short story writer, playwright, and novelist whose work has appeared in publications like The North American ReviewThe Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her plays have been performed at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing.

Her debut novel, The Magician’s Lie [3], was selected as a monthly or weekly pick by — deep breath here — Indie NextLibrary ReadsShe ReadsMidwest ConnectionsPublishers Weekly, and People magazine. The Washington Post raved, “Macallister, like the Amazing Arden, mesmerizes her audience. No sleight of hand is necessary. An ambitious heroine and a captivating tale are all the magic she needs.” The Magician’s Lie will be available in paperback on October 6, 2015.

You can connect with Greer on Facebook [4] and Twitter [5].

Judging a Book By Both Its Covers

TML_3D [6]Rightly or not, we all judge a book by its cover. But for some books it isn’t that simple, since the same book can have more than one cover.

I can’t take any credit for the covers of The Magician’s Lie – on tour to support the hardcover launch earlier this year, I often joked that my involvement with the drop-dead gorgeous image on the right was limited to saying “yes” when they showed it to me.

I loved everything about it. The dark red of the dress, the evocative image of the dove (appropriate both for the stage magic that forms the heart of the story and the idea of innocence), its overall impact and simplicity. I felt lucky, and away we went.

But when you’re lucky enough to have a book launch in hardcover and then move to paperback, the initial cover isn’t the end of the story. When I was told that the cover might be changing for the paperback, I was downright nervous. I didn’t see any way that another cover could capture everything else I wanted a potential reader to know about the book. And then they showed me the image on the left…9781492628996_3D [7]

And I fell in love all over again.

The colors. The pattern of the stones. How it links to the first cover with that gorgeous red dress, but also makes a statement all its own.

Hardcover images and paperback images have different purposes. The purpose of all covers, of course, is to get the reader to pick up the book. But if you compare hardcover and paperback covers for the same book, you’ll often see the trend: hardcover is artistic, enigmatic, elegant; paperback is more casual, personable, human.

If you had to condense it down to one word, for me, the word for hardcover is intrigue; the paperback word is engage.

What’s the upshot? The most important thing about your book, as always, is the story inside. But it’s worth thinking about, whether your book is hardcover or paperback or e-book or a combination thereof: what’s your word?

About Greer Macallister [8]

Greer Macallister's debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was an Indie Next pick, Target Book Club selection, and a USA Today bestseller, and has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films. Her novel GIRL IN DISGUISE, about pioneering private investigator Kate Warne, received a starred review from PW, which called it "a well-told, superb story." Her next novel WOMAN 99 is forthcoming from Sourcebooks in March 2019.