Can you have a crush on an inanimate object? Because I’m completely and totally in love with my cover, and I figured I’d share a bit of my journey of finding true love.
It all started with Pinterest. I’m part of ’17 Scribes, a Facebook group of over 80 first-time authors with Adult and New Adult books coming out next year. One of my fellow Scribes suggested that you should start a Pinterest page with covers you like to show your publisher. So I immediately got to pinning. (You can find my Pinterest page here.)
My initial thought was a cover that featured the title in really big letters. If I had to have an image, it should be a smaller one. And it most definitely had to have the color aqua in it. (I’m obsessed with aqua/teal for some reason. And that reason is that it’s the best color ever!)
I sent my editor my Pinterest board, and a few weeks later she sent me a first draft—a more traditional cozy cover focusing on the book’s Hollywood setting. It featured a pair of very sexy legs coming out of a very sexy car at a very sexy movie premiere.
Even though there was no aqua (!!!), I thought it was great.
I assumed we were good to go but then I heard from my editor. As much as they loved the initial design, they wanted to go a different direction. They decided to focus on my main character, Dayna, over the setting.
I’ve wanted to write a book since I was five years old, so I’ve spent years dreaming of seeing my name on a book cover. However, I’d never seriously considered having Dayna’s face on it, much less having her be the centerpiece. It’s not something you normally see with amateur detective novels. But I grew up in the 80s. And I remember reading magazines and books, and wondering where the people were who looked like me. So grown-up Kellye started to get really excited about having an amateur detective novel with a black girl on the cover standing loud and proud.
I’ll never forget getting an email from my editor titled: Hollywood Homicide Cover.
The butterflies descended into my stomach like Millennials heading to Coachella! I’d been waiting so long for this moment yet, when it came, I was hesitant to actually open the email. What if I hated it? Or, perhaps even worse, what if I just thought it was okay? What would I do then?
But I forced myself to put my big girl panties on and open the email. I saw my cover and—no lie—almost burst in tears. The good kind.
This cover is already my cellphone wallpaper. I have shown everyone from my aunt Donna in California to the entire security staff at my apartment building. I’ve shown my two-year-old nephew the cover so much that he can recognize “Kell Kell’s book” from distances up to 25 feet.
This cover has even gotten me asked out on a date because—yes—I was starting convos with random people at bars just so I could show them my book cover. (Me: Hi Stranger! I’m Kellye. Want to see my book cover? No? Too late! Here it is. Bam!)
So a big thank you to Terri Bischoff and the entire Midnight Ink team, as well as Dayna’s amazing illustrator Richard Meril for making a five-year-old’s dreams come true. My two-year-old niece (yep, they’re twins!) has already declared that the illustration is of her.
As a writer, I know that we need to “show don’t tell,” so enough prattling. Here it is:
And if you’d like to pre-order Hollywood Homicide, you can do so here.