After I initially self-published THE FIRST DAYS, the first book in the AS THE WORLD DIES TRILOGY, the excitement wore off and I realized it was time to do all the hard work again on the second book in the series.
FIGHTING TO SURVIVE was the slimmest tome of the three (at that time) and was the most disjointed in its original online form. It would take months to flesh out the plot to make it a more dynamic book (little did I know the Tor version would end up with even more material!). In the meantime, Detra sent me a painting of a broken down car on a lonely country road with dawn breaking over the trees and wondered if it would work as a cover.
I stared at the amazingly beautiful painting and told him that it would not. The first cover in the series had been very successful because the fans liked seeing Katie and Jenni. I asked that both of the women be armed with weapons. So, he added Jenni and Katie to the second cover and threw two menacing zombies on the back. I loved it!
So this was the first cover for FIGHTING TO SURVIVE.
Flash forward to 2011-I had just finished the massive revision on FIGHTING TO SURVIVE when my email dinged. It was the cover art for the new book. I was pleased with the cover for many reasons. I loved that the two women were on the cover again, I loved the menacing zombies, and I loved that the artist used the ballroom of one of the derelict luxury hotels in the Texas Hill Country. The colors really popped for me and I loved the fragility of Jenni’s crossed arms.
Then it hit me. The two women were unarmed and merely gazing at the zombies.
Wait a sec!
I sat back in my chair, staring as I came to the realization that Jenni wouldn’t be fragile in that moment and Katie wouldn’t be standing with her hands on her hips.
Wasn’t the strength of the women the one thing fans loved? The fact they didn’t wait around to be rescued, but fought to survive?
Nervously, I emailed the editor with my impression. She thought it was a valid point, though she loved the first cover. A few days later a second cover pinged into my email.
I opened it up and was immediately conflicted.
I loved that Katie and Jenni now had weapons to defend themselves. I loved that we could see Jenni in “loca zombie killer mode.” Yet, somehow, the Katie in the first cover felt more like the character. I stared at the covers side by side. I called my husband over to look at them. I emailed the covers to friends for their opinion.
At last, I went on the AS THE WORLD DIES and my personal facebook pages and asked:
I have a question for y’all. Do you like seeing Jenni & Katie holding guns on the cover or with empty hands?
The responses were pretty unanimous.
I’m all for seeing our bad a$$ chicks with guns.
I even received a few emails voting for the weapons. I forwarded the information to Tor, but knew that in the end it would probably be marketing that made the choice on the cover. I still really like both covers, but I do believe the second one really captures the mood of the entire book. I think it’s Jenni’s face that really sells it.
Though I have heard horror stories about authors hating their covers, I have to say so far I really love the Tor covers. They are truly beautiful and are good solid representations of the stories inside the cover. I have also been flattered that Tor has listened to my opinion on the covers.
I was hoping to share both covers with you, but wasn’t sure if I should or not. Now that the Tor Fall catalog is online and features the first cover, I wanted to share with you the stories behind the three covers for FIGHTING TO SURVIVE.
Remember to pre-order THE FIRST DAYS today!