CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase)

A Cover Reveal Talk with J.R. Johansson, author of INSOMNIA – and an ARC Giveaway!

Todays guest for the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) is my fellow Friday the Thirteener J.R. Johansson, author of INSOMNIA. Jenn is offering up an awesome prize pack to go along with her insomnia theme, as well as an ARC once they’re available!

It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?

Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?

Not really. It was more of a feel that I wanted. I wanted it to look creepy, but still cool/compelling/interesting. I wanted something that would convey the feel of the book and draw people in at the same time. I think they did a great job with accomplishing that.

How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?

It was in July, so about 11 months before my pub date.

Did you have any input on your cover?

A little, but not much. On the first version, his face had much smoother skin and I asked for them to make him a little more masculine and rough. They did a great job with that.

How was your cover revealed to you?

Haha, my editor sent me an email with the subject line, “OK, brace yourself” I think the cover is a little shocking at first glance, so it was oddly appropriate.

Was there an official “cover reveal” date for your art?

No, my editor told me that once I had my final copy I could set up the reveal when/how I wanted. He doesn’t know yet that I can’t be trusted with that kind of freedom. 😉

How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?

I just saw the first version of it near the end of October, so I guess almost eight and a half months.

Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?

Yes and no. It’s been fun to show family and close friends, but I kind of liked keeping it private for a bit. Now I’m really excited to have it out there for everyone to see. I love it and am happy to have it out there representing me and my book.

What surprised you most about the process?

How fast it went from the first version to the final product. I know it isn’t that way with every author/publisher, but for me it was super fast. The publisher had a meeting first. I guess they had a few different cover options to consider, but their vote was unanimous on this one so I never saw the others. Once they gave it to me, I gave some feedback, they made a couple of changes and got the final back to me less than a week later.

Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?

My advice is to realize that every cover has people who love it and people who hate it. Yours won’t be any different, so don’t expect it to be. It won’t (hopefully) be the last cover you have, so learn from the experience. The author doesn’t have a lot of control or power most of the time, so make sure your opinion is known, your voice is heard, and then sit back and try to enjoy the ride.

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7 thoughts on “A Cover Reveal Talk with J.R. Johansson, author of INSOMNIA – and an ARC Giveaway!

  1. I reeeeally like this cover. It definitely pulled me in and made me want to come read more about it.
    I also appreciate that it's not just another 'pretty' cover – something that really sets it apart from what else is on the shelf.

    Great interview too! I'm always so amazed the authors don't get more say in their covers O_o

    anyway, two thumbs up! can't wait to read it 🙂

  2. This is one of the best covers I've seen in a while. I love that it's a male protagonist and that he is not white. His face is compelling and the colors wonderfully dark and atmospheric. I'm incredibly curious to read this book. It sounds promising!

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