Boy, does the subtitle of my blog apply to this one. "You never know what you're gonna get." I don't even know how to begin this looooong explanation, but when you post a cover for promotion on several sites and it suddenly disappears, questions arise. This is not the first time, but the second time, so rather than have people question my sanity or stability as an author, here is my best attempt to explain what has happened to my new Sarah's Journey Cover. I'd like to add a caveat that this my own personal blog and the opinions and experiences are my own and to my knowledge, true and accurate. I have copies of all emails on file.
If you'll recall, over a year ago, I signed with a certain publishing company to release Sparta Rose. I was assigned a cover, spent countless hours posting it on various author and reader sites, ordered promotional material, then had it yanked because of one particular person who managed the loop. Imagine how humiliating it was to request that the cover and trailer be pulled from the Covey Awards. I'm not going into details, but suffice to say, I'm not the only person who encountered problems with her. I'm sure deep down she has a very nice side, but in witnessing her responses to me and others, I view her as confrontational and always refusing to take ownership of her part in any problem. She maintains that she is a co-publisher, but my contract showed no evidence of her authority to take any action, but, because of the unprofessional way I FELT authors are treated on their loop, I requested that rights to my book return to me and they were. Within just a few weeks, the cover that had once been mine was reassigned to an anthology by that same publisher. I would have thought the authors would have preferred something more original than a cover that had been vigorously promoted by someone else, but I was wrong.
Here is the original cover assigned to me:
I was very fortunate to be picked up by another publisher who found merit in my work. Before they even assigned a cover to me, they were contacted by the previous publisher and 'warned' not to allow me to use the same image. I was puzzled, but not surprised. Mind you, this is an image available to anyone on IStockphoto.com and can be used thousands of times with one purchase agreement.
Here is the image:
Rather than create problems for a new publisher, I let go of the idea of using the image to match the promotional material I'd purchased. I was fortunate to receive this awesome new cover, designed for Sparta Rose by Enspiren Press. It's equally as beautiful and eye-appealing.
So, assuming my problems were over, I went on to write another novel. I signed a contract for it's release and when it came to discussing cover art, since I still had the picture I'd purchased from Istock.com, I decided to utilize it for Sarah's Journey. Julie D'Arcy, a fantastic cover artist for Eternal Press who contracted my book, and is a good friend, agreed to design a cover for me.
Here is that cover:
Sarah's Journey is about a western woman who survives a wagon train massacre. It seemed to fit my book fine. As you can see, the bottom in no way resembles the original, nor does the font. Julie did an awesome job. I was thrilled, and once again ordered postcards, t-shirts and labels. I also posted it in several places on the net.
A few days ago, I posted my first promotional email on an author's loop. The book is due for release in May so I'm scurrying to get reviews and feedback. I was leery, because the co-publisher from the original house was also posting there, but she posts everywhere as most good authors do. Almost immediately afterwards, my current publisher received an email from one of the anthology authors who accepted the re-assigned cover, inquiring whether it was known I was using one similar to theirs. When Julie responded, saying she designed the cover with no knowledge of their book and using the art I proposed, she also explained the IStock.com copyright. Almost immediately an email came from the original publisher to my current publisher expressing that she is "saddened that she (Me) keeps trying to use a version of the cover for her we designed when she was under contract with us."
Rather than cause further problems for yet another new publisher, I sent an email telling the 'saddened' person that I will not use the image even though I don't understand why they feel so threatened by my use of it. I offer the following as proof that the same photo art is often used over and over:
I'm sure the fact that these books all share a commonality, does nothing to diminish the talent within the covers.
Although I wanted to write a long, scathing letter, protesting the continued harassment and question what I ever did to deserve it, instead I decided to use my blog to explain to my fans why I keep having to remove my covers. I feel it necessary since this is the second time I'd had to pull a cover to appease someone else. I assure you that I've done nothing to warrant the continued stress, and I can also assure everyone concerned that I'm done with the cover image in question. The promotional materials on which I wasted money have been burned along with any memories of this whole sad event. I want to put this to rest once and for all.
But, one last thing. In my search to find the cover I previously had that was re-assigned, I came across a series bearing a familiar title.