IF YOU FIND ME Cover Reveal, interview and giveaway!

Last fall, I had the chance to read a little book then-titled The Patron Saint of Beans, by not-yet-debut author Emily Murdoch. Her novel is the story of a girl hidden away deep in a national forest, and when her father finds her, she discovers she’s been living a lie—her mother kidnapped her as a child. Now, thrust into the dizzying real world of shopping malls, high school, and boys, she must hide her darkest secret—or risk watching her new life come tumbling down.

My most vivid memory of reading the book is having to set it down in my lap halfway through, take in deep shuddering breaths, and then continue on. Yes, I was that girl on the train fighting back tears. When I finished it, I immediately emailed her, saying, I love this story so much it hurts. Your writing is powerful, and nuanced, and just plain gorgeous. We set up a phone call and I offered her representation.

When the book went on submission a couple of months later, we had our first offer within a couple weeks, a pre-empt the following week, and we sold to a third publisher days later, despite that these were the days leading up to Christmas! Her editor, in fact, had to call us from a cab to update her offer—while she was on the way to a christmas party. It’s just that good, and I’m SO Thrilled to have had a part in its path to publication, and I’m very lucky to call Emily Murdoch a client!

Part of the reason I wanted to share this story, specifically, is because so often writers want to talk about what’s trendy, where the market is going, what they should be writing, etc, etc. It’s normal to worry that if what you’re writing isn’t “hot”, that it can’t sell. Writers hear agents saying they just want damn good writing and a compelling story, but what they think is that it needs to be rapped up in a flashy dystopian or a sparkling vampire or a space ship.

Emily’s path to publication, however, is proof that when you write a book with a compelling voice and characters that leap from the page, it will rise above trends. So, without further ado, the book formerly known as The Patron Saint of Beans:

Praise for If You Find Me

Within two pages, I was hopelessly hooked. I felt like the story had attached itself to me… This is one of those books you devour.

—Jennifer Brown, author of The Hate List

If You Find Me grabbed me by the heart on page one and didn’t let go till the very last word.  Murdoch’s language is lovely, her storytelling gripping.

—Carol Lynch Williams, award-winning author of The Chosen One

Searing…[IF YOU FIND ME] hurt my heart and will probably haunt my dreams—a beautiful book about survival, identity, family, love and so much more.

—Jenny Donwham, author of Before I Die.

I asked Emily a few questions about her cover, and she was happy to indulge me:

1. Did you have an image in mind for your cover? Any stock images or ideas?

Actually, I had no cover image in mind; at least, not until I saw this gorgeous painting by Megan Richard. I even wished I could buy it, but it was already sold!

http://meganrichard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Starry-Starry-Night1.jpg

If You Find Me is stuffed full of tree and stars symbolism. However, as an educated-enough author, I knew the cover image was out of my hands.

2. Did you have any input on your cover?

No. And it can be scary, having no control. I had to trust my editor when she promised she wouldn’t send my novel out into the world with a title or cover I hated. (And she made good on that promise!)

3. What was your instant reaction when you saw the image for the first time?

I cried. And then I had to command myself to stop crying because I couldn’t see!

Not only did I love it straight away, but the fact that I had a novel that was going to be published, and therefore a cover—WOW!

At first, I could only process the cover in three separate parts: the title, my name on a book cover, and the artwork. I kept the file open on my laptop for weeks, and I must’ve looked at it dozens of times. Only then was my brain able to integrate those parts into the cover you see today.

4. Your title changed from The Patron Saint of Beans to If You Find Me. Can you share with our blog readers how this change came about? Did you contemplate other options?

Titles are another item often out of an author’s control. It was the title I angsted over the most, because it’s made up of words, and I wanted it to be my words, if possible.

Sales and marketing were worried that the instance of “Saint” in the title might wrongly lead readers into believing my book had a religious bent. My agent, Mandy Hubbard, was a calming force throughout this time period, even brainstorming some wonderful titles alongside me.

I must’ve sent over sixty or seventy title possibilities to my editor, and I was lucky if they liked even ten of those choices. In the end, I thought of If You Find Me, (it was the last title I thought of!) and finally, the new title was approved!

But I’ll admit, it was tough to let the old title go. That said, there comes a point where art must be mingled with business, and I felt that, if St. Martin’s loved my book enough to take it on and pay me an advance, I needed to trust their business instincts.

Now, I believe the title better does what it’s supposed to do, and I love the way the title and cover work together to represent the overall ambiance of the story.

Many thanks to the talented women of Pub(lishing) Crawl for participating in my cover reveal, and for having me on your blog.

I’d like to end by telling all aspiring writers out there, don’t give up! Keep learning, growing, and believing in yourself and the writing dream. I look forward to seeing your cover reveals one day!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Emily!  She was gracious enough to offer a signed ARC for our readers—so don’t forget to enter below to win this Ah-Maz-Ing book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

        

50 Responses to IF YOU FIND ME Cover Reveal, interview and giveaway!

  1. Nhi Jun 28 2012 at 12:34 am #

    I am so sorry if I come off as really snarky and nitpicky, but in all honesty: I would have only have picked up the book/be interested for the premise alone because the cover just looks like most front covers that are out in the YA scene at the moment. I don’t know, I just thought nothing really made this cover ‘pop’ for me. But congratulations on your debut, Emily Murdoch = because regardless of my shallow-ness about the cover, the story sounds pretty damn awesome!

  2. Sandy Emerson Jun 28 2012 at 12:36 am #

    I think the cover is beautifully haunting. You can see the pain and fear in the girl’s eyes.

  3. Emily (Ed and Em's R Jun 28 2012 at 1:11 am #

    I LOVE the cover! I want this book so badly now! Seriously, it’s gorgeous and the author reviews mentioned are some of my favorite authors!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway! 🙂

  4. Kirsty in London Jun 28 2012 at 4:43 am #

    This sounds amazing — congratulations! This cover would definitely make me pick it up to take a closer look. That girl looks like she has a story that I want to find out about, and the forest background has a darkness that I’m lured in to explore.

  5. Laura Hughes Jun 28 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I love the intensity of the cover model’s eyes, and the darkness that is implied by the forest!! This book sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read it one way or another! Congratulations, Emily (and Mandy)!

    • Amie Kaufman
      Amie Kaufman Jun 28 2012 at 5:09 am #

      Yup, I’m totally with Laura — the intensity of her gaze is just amazing. And I adore the title — it raises questions in my mind, and that’s exactly what a good title should do.

  6. Lexie B. Jun 28 2012 at 4:59 am #

    I think it’s wonderful! So gritty and fantastic. I love it lots. Between this blog post, the synopsis, and the blurbs, I really cannot wait for this one. 😀

  7. Priya Jun 28 2012 at 5:08 am #

    I love the cover! It’s not your usually YA covers but it’s intensity makes it eye-catching!

  8. Christina K. Jun 28 2012 at 5:30 am #

    I LOVE the cover! I love how her face fades into the forest:)

  9. Julie
    Julie Jun 28 2012 at 5:39 am #

    Wow – the girl looks so REAL – her tan, freckled skin and sun-lightened hair actually make me believe she has been living in a forest! (Good job, cover designers!) The premise sounds very compelling and after seeing this cover and reading the summary and reviews, this one is definitely moving to the top of my TBR list. 🙂 Thanks for the interview Emily and Mandy, and congrats to you both!
    And let me just add, the encouragement to write a good story and not fret about trends is very much appreciated, as well. <3

  10. Lilian Jun 28 2012 at 6:49 am #

    Hallelujah for not creating a cover where the girl is completely flawless and is in some expensive, gigantic ball gown.
    I am intrigued with the cover (yet also a bit creeped out), and would love to see what the story will bring.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  11. Sarah Fine Jun 28 2012 at 6:55 am #

    I agree that the intensity really helps this stand out–and the fact that this girl looks … like a girl. A real girl but with this single vibrant feature (her eyes!) that draws in a potential reader. Emily–I am SO happy for you! Congratulations!

  12. Kat Zhang
    Kat Zhang Jun 28 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Omg, I want this book so much it hurts! 😀 THE PATRON SAINT OF BEANS is a lovely title, but IF YOU FIND ME is a fabulous, as well, and I love, love the cover! Cannot WAIT for this one 🙂

  13. Vivien Jun 28 2012 at 7:51 am #

    OMG, I love the cover!!! It’s just fabulous. Really stunning 🙂

  14. Gwen Cole Jun 28 2012 at 9:14 am #

    The cover is really pretty! I think I would pick up the book if I saw it in a bookstore….so thumbs up for me! 😀

  15. Erin Bowman
    Erin Bowman Jun 28 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Emily–Congrats on a striking cover!! (And I feel for you on the retitling front. Mine was a long, trying process as well, but in the end I couldn’t be happier with where we ended up.) Thanks for the interview, Mandy! 🙂

  16. Mackenzie Jun 28 2012 at 9:28 am #

    The cover is amazing! The girl looking dead on at you like that makes it very creepy, but at the same time it makes you want to know exactly what is going on with her. The cover makes me want to dive straight into the book and never surface for air!

  17. Rissa Jun 28 2012 at 9:40 am #

    I love the cover! It’s a haunting and gorgeous image. I’m actually really excited to snap up this book after reading the interview. Can’t wait for 2013!

  18. Meredith Anderson Jun 28 2012 at 9:44 am #

    I think my favorite part are the trees behind the girl. The forest looks pretty dark and creepy. I want to know if it corresponds to the book!

    This looks like an incredible story. I can’t wait to read it!

    Mer
    <3

  19. Megan Duff Jun 28 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Congratulations Emily! I look forward to read your beautiful book 😀

  20. Suzanne van Rooyen Jun 28 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I’m such a sucker for freckles. Absolutely love the girl’s face and the dark forest. Looking forward to reading this one!

  21. Laura Kolar Jun 28 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Wow! Just Wow! Can’t wait to check it out. Congrats!

  22. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Jun 28 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Congratulations Emily! The cover is completely striking – the girl looks haunted, vulnerable, but also strong. I find it completely intriguing!

  23. alicia marie Jun 28 2012 at 10:36 am #

    i think it’s a great cover! the look in the girl’s eyes make me want to know more and why she’s got that look! look forward to reading this one : )

  24. Jen McAndrews Jun 28 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Wonderful cover. I’m very excited for this book and so thrilled for Emily. Congrats, lady!

  25. Zoey Talbon Jun 28 2012 at 11:23 am #

    I love it! Especially the way the girl is looking straight at you. That almost never happens on covers anymore.

  26. Kaitlyn Weaver Jun 28 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I think it’s really cool and mysterious. 🙂

  27. Chandra H. Jun 28 2012 at 11:57 am #

    The cover is gorgeous, and you can even get a little bit of the sadness in the girl’s features. It is very fitting with the premise of the book! Great Cover!

  28. Gaby Jun 28 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    The cover is amazing. It for me alone captures my full attention 🙂

  29. Peggy Eddleman Jun 28 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I love it! It just grabs you! And the book sounds amazing!

    Fun interview, too. I’m in the middle of series and book 2 titling woes, and reading that you sent 60-70 titles made me gasp! I had such a hard time coming up with the list of 10 I sent my editor. Coming up with that many must’ve been a superheroish feat! I’m so impressed! And I LOVE the title you went with. It sounds so perfect!

  30. Caryn Caldwell Jun 28 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Such a haunting, beautiful, intense cover! It definitely would have grabbed my attention. I love the fonts they chose, too.

    Good luck with your release! I loved hearing your story.

  31. Disincentive Jun 28 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I don’t know if I can actually enter as I’m INT – (hi from Poland!) but I just want to say that I love this cover! It makes me feel kind of anxious. It’s simple and beautiful and the only thing I don’t like is that she looks.. somewhere, not at me. 🙂

  32. Kaye M. Jun 28 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Oh, gosh. I definitely will be making a dash for this title as soon as it’s available. The cover is lovely, and the summary…I can see why Mandy was fighting back tears.

  33. Yahong Jun 28 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    I’m not sure that I’m a fan of the blending of the girl with the landscape–they’re equally fine separate, but the merging into each other isn’t really doing it for me. But of course, as long as the author’s happy! 😛 Congrats on your debut, Ms. Murdoch!

  34. Laura Jun 29 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Normally I don’t like people on covers of books (I like to be able to imagine the characters), but I really like this one. (And while the new title may be more descriptive, I really like the original one 🙂

  35. Erica Jun 29 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    That’s one gorgeous cover! I can’t wait to read this book!

  36. Myra Jun 30 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Stunning cover. The expression in her eyes is fitting, I think.

  37. Rebecca Jul 1 2012 at 12:03 am #

    The cover is very capturing and gets attention. It is raw and insense and I think it suits the story perfectly.

  38. Katie Jul 1 2012 at 10:58 am #

    I really love the cover. It seems to fit with the synopsis. I can’t wait to read the book.

  39. Izzie Jul 1 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    The cover is definitely different than a lot of YA covers that I’ve seen lately. It’s haunting but intriguing!

  40. roro @roro is readin Jul 1 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    its different

  41. Teresa Jul 1 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    The cover is STUNNING. And gorgeous. And any other synonyms you can possibly think of. If I saw this in a bookstore, it would stop me dead in my tracks. It is incredibly eye-catching.

  42. Hwa Sun Jul 2 2012 at 5:43 am #

    It looks scary. It also reminds me of the DVD case for this action movie.

  43. Emily Murdoch Jul 2 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Thanks so much, Mandy, and Pub Crawl, for such a beautiful post! : )

    And big thanks for everyone entering, RTing and especially for your comments and enthusiasm. I love reading all your thoughts on the cover, whether positive, negative or in between.

    As an author, you do want to love your cover, and you want readers to hopefully not hate it, but again, we authors don’t get a lot of say; especially at the debut level.

    As for the 60-70- title choices I came up with, whew! Was like a weeks-long mind riff. I was even dreaming titles!

    Just big thanks to all for taking the time for If You Find Me! This author is very grateful. : )

  44. Jessica Shaw Jul 2 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Love it! Hauntingly beautiful…can’t wait to read this one!

  45. Erica Jul 2 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I just LOVE the cover for If You Find Me!

  46. Tiffany Drew Jul 2 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I like it! In fact, I just came across this book for the first time the other day when cruising through Goodreads and the cover stopped me right in my tracks!

  47. Hayley G Jul 3 2012 at 1:28 am #

    You know what, I’m a bit ambivalent towards this cover. When I first saw it, it reminded me of those old R.L. Stine Fear Street series covers. The premise sounds gripping though! 🙂

  48. Cassie Jul 3 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Gorgeous cover! And I love the cover-model’s expression…so…wow!

  49. Sarah S Jul 4 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I really like the forest scene in the background of the cover. (Also, I think the Starry Starry Night image is gorgeous! I’d want it just to hang in my apartment.)

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