“I’ve just had my first ‘oh wow, it’s a real book’ moment: revealing the cover”

Debut author Melissa Welliver shares her publication journey – starting with the cover reveal
of her Young Adult novel

So you finished your book, hooked an agent, landed a publishing deal, edited your book baby over weeks and months…and now what?

Now, you hand over your baby.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it’s not entirely wrong. At every stage of the submitting process, those of us aiming for publication hand over a little bit of our books to someone else. When you’re writing that first, messy, shiny, fun, and sometimes awful first draft, the book belongs entirely to you.

The world is in your head, inhabited by characters only you have ever spoken to. Then when you get your critique group or partner involved, they become a part of that creative process too. Throw in your agent, editor, proofreader, copyeditor, early beta readers…and before you know it, a whole village has gathered round to help raise your book baby. Amazing!

Now what?

I reached this stage recently and I think it’s fair to say I’m finding the whole process SURREAL. It’s the experience of releasing the book into the world that has inspired these diaries, because I’ve just had my first “oh wow, it’s a real book” moment: revealing the cover.

In case you missed it, here is the book trailer my publisher, Agora Books, made for the cover reveal.

Painting the book into existence

Before I was shown the cover, the book was still just a file on my computer, a story in my head. Certainly nothing that I could imagine holding in my hand, even when I first saw my proofs (which had a text-only cover). And then a few months ago, the moment finally came when I saw the first mockup of my book cover, designed by the amazing Alice Marwick.

Alice really Understood The Assignment. It was like she had lifted a scene from the book and painted it into existence (when you read the book, you’ll know the one I mean!). I loved it, and so did my publishers and agent (phew!) so off they went to whip up what’s called the Cover Wrap, which is a flat version of the spine and back of the book as well as that beautiful front cover.

Receiving an overwhelmingly positive reaction

My publishers recently had to move to a different book distributor, which meant my pre-order links were down for a while. They told me a few times that the cover reveal would encourage pre-orders, so they wanted to wait to reveal the cover to the public until those were back up. There was a small delay, and waiting was agonising – I just wanted to show my pretty cover to the world!

When the day finally arrived, I was hopeful people would love it as much as I did, but I was not prepared for the overwhelmingly positive reaction I got. My cover reveal video has been viewed over 3,000 times at the time of writing, and we’re actually organising a pre-order campaign (more on that in my next post!) which I never even dreamed would happen. We also got a lot more requests on Netgalley after the reveal, which is lovely and sort of terrifying at the same time – people I don’t know are reading my words?! Nonsense!

An emotional experience

So all in all, my cover reveal has been a lot more emotional than I thought it would be! I was of course blown away when I first saw the artwork, but the response to something that represents my little story has blown me away. I can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks and months leading up to my debut being published, and handing over my baby into yours, the reader’s, very capable hands.

<strong>About the Author</strong>
About the Author

Author and WriteMentor Creative Administrator Melissa Welliver has been longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, the #BNAKids award, and Mslexia’s Children’s Novel Prize, and she was shortlisted for both the inaugural Hachette Children’s Novel Award in association with New Writing North, and the Wells Book for Children competition. She is represented by Lucy Irvine of Peters, Fraser & Dunlop, and her debut novel, The Undying Tower, the first in a Young Adult dystopian trilogy, is published September 2021 by Agora Books.

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