An Author’s 12 Days of Christmas

by Toni McGee Causey

 

An Author’s 12 Days of Christmas

(with apologies to cover artists everywhere*)

 

On the first day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            One sad example of some cover art.

 

On the second day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Two antidepressants

            So I’d overcome that awful cover art.

 

On the third day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Three rounds of pep talks,

            Two antidepressants.

            “Please don’t off yourself; it’s not bad cover art.”

 

On the fourth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Four potential pen names.

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            ‘Cause the publisher really loved that cover art.

 

On the fifth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            

 Five Re-al-ity Checks.

 Four potential pen names.

 Three rounds of pep talks.

 Two antidepressants.

 Since I was doomed when the world saw that cover art.

 

On the sixth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Six bottles of wine.

            Five. Re-ali-ty Checks!

            Four potential pen names.

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            Plus a note about more samples of cover art.

 

On the seventh day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

 

Yes, I know he’s not leaping. Get your own poem. Seven Lords A’ Leaping. (Hell, I don’t know, there was wine involved.)

 Six bottles of wine. (all gone now) (duh)

 Five Re-al-ity Checks.

 Four potential pen names.

 Three rounds of pep talks.

 Two antidepressants.

                            As I sobered up to see the newest art.

 

On the eighth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Eight frantic emails. (because I was off somewhere with…)

            Seven Lords A’ Leaping. (wouldn’t you be?)

            Six (more) bottles of wine.

            Five. Re-al-ity. Checks.

            Four potential pen names.

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            Because the newest was truly terrible cover art.

 

On the…where am I again? Nine? Seriously? Already? Can we move it back to eight? I might not make the deadline, see, because there were these Lords…

 

On the ninth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Nine more artwork options.

            Eight frantic emails.

            Seven Lords A’ Leaping. (They had their own stash,               I swear.)

            Six (more) bottles of wine.

            Five. Re-al-ity. Checks.

            Four potential pen names.

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            And a deadline to pick out just one I could live with and not slit my throat over, and no, that doesn’t fit the meter, but YOU try having metered prose when you’re slitting YOUR throat and we’ll talk then, ‘kay?

 

On the tenth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Ten warnings to quit calling the artist.

            Nine more artwork options.

            Eight frantic emails.

            Seven Lords A’ Leaping. (like they had to worry                   about artwork, hmph)

            Six (more) bottles of wine.

            Five. Re-al-ity. Checks.

            Four potential pen names.

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            All for artwork my dog could do in a hurricane.

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Eleven restraining orders. (You know, that first cover wasn’t all that bad.                   If my name were bigger, it’d be perfect.)

            Ten harried phone calls.

            Nine more artwork options.

            Eight frantic emails.

            Seven Lords A’ Leaping (I wonder if one of them is an artist? What are the odds?)

            Six (more) bottles of wine.

            Five. Re-al-ity. Checks.

            Four potential pen names. 

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            And a reminder that I need to work in this town again.

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me

            Twelve beautiful cover flats. (They spelled my name correctly. Yay!)

            Eleven restraining orders.

            Ten harried phone calls.

            Nine more artwork choices.

            Eight frantic emails.

            Seven Lords A’ Leaping (Geez. Cover models.             When will they learn authors have no clout?)

            Six (more) bottles of wine.

            Five. Re-al-ity. Checks.

            Four potential pen names.

            Three rounds of pep talks.

            Two antidepressants.

            So I could practice saying, “I love my cover art.”

 

On the thirteenth day of… what? No, I hadn’t heard of the page limit. Really? Well, I thought it was going to go all the way to fifteen. Or so. Maybe weave a subplot in there? Something about a Santa Ninja Assassin and his pet… no? Really? Can I edit, then? Hello? Hello? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* because I really did love my own cover art.

 

Happy holidays, everyone. What’s on YOUR wish list this year?

 

46 thoughts on “An Author’s 12 Days of Christmas

  1. Paula R.

    Hey Toni, I really enjoyed that. The captions in parents () were really funny. Thanks for the laugh this morning. I hope that you don’t get a big whopping hangover from all that wine, but alas, you do have some Lords around, so that might not be too bad. Happy Holidays everyone!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    Reply
  2. billie

    LOL!

    In my household we have all agreed to a lean Christmas gift-wise with a focus on shopping locally and celebrating the abundance in our lives.

    Not an easy sell to the teenager who wants a new computer, but he’s performing Shakespeare this week and was also made propmaster, so making the weaponry has kicked him back into his woodworking passion – there is now a 3-person battering ram on my back deck and talk of trebuchets!

    Thanks to the wealth of fallen wood in our forest.

    Happy holidays to all!

    Reply
  3. Gayle Carline

    Thanks for the morning laugh – I needed it. I already got my Christmas present… a new radiator for my car. My 12-year old car with 190,000 miles on it. I’d weep, but I’m rationing mascara at this point.

    Gayle

    Reply
  4. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Y’know, I completely get the cover art thing. It’s the only battle I’ve had to wage. It’s like, everything inside the cover represents us. But the cover itself? Who said we could be marketed with impunity by folks who probably haven’t even read our books?
    I do love the song, by the way. You really should have it published. I’d love to see the cover art they choose for it.

    Reply
  5. pari noskin taichert

    Toni,
    Thanks for the laugh this morning. We’re going to have a lean Hanukkah (and Christmas — which we celebrate with the in-laws).

    I don’t really want anything major this year, just that little jet pack Cornelia had in her post yesterday . . .

    Reply
  6. PK the Bookeemonster

    For some reason I picture the Lords a Leaping as Lords of the Dance and doing that Celtic dancing a la Michael whathisname. I think your Lords a Leaping are better.
    Wish list = Kindle. Reality check = this year we can afford a tree again so I’m counting my blessings. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  7. toni mcgee causey

    Thanks, everyone – I’m out and about today, checking in–sorry for the brevity!

    Robin — yep. They might be slightly, erm, worn out, but I’ll send ’em on over.

    Amie, that’s perfect! πŸ˜‰

    Aw, thanks, JT!

    PK… heh. I figured if I was going to re-do the song, I might as well have the kinds of Lords I wanted.

    Pari – we’re lean on Christmas, as well. I’m also wanting that jet-pack. (or a transporter machine… won’t it be nice when we have those instead of garages?)

    Stephen, I almost did a podcast of this song, and then I thought about how horrified everyone would be suffering my warbling.

    I think the hardest thing about book covers is that we always have some ideal in our head that doesn’t always translate (when they ask) or that won’t necessarily work, but they can’t see into our heads and if they don’t "get" what we’re imagining, it’s a crap shoot. I’ve painted since I was a kid, an once (one time only) I had someone place an order with me for a painting. I was going to make a whopping $100 on this, so I wanted them to be happy, and it took forever to figure out what they really wanted (vs. what they *said* they wanted). (That’s pre-painting discussion.) I finally resorted to looking for postcards ’til I found something that lit them up, and then we were on the same page. So I really don’t envy cover artists having to try to please a bunch of neurotic authors.

    Terri, thank you! I’m glad you got your wish.

    Louise, you rock.

    Thanks, Gayle — and yep, I know the feeling about the car. I really do.

    billie — thank you — and a trebuchet… yikes. At least he’s distracted by something, er… productive. Unless he uses it at Best Buy to get that computer

    Paula — thank you, those Lords make up for most anything.

    Reply
  8. Kate Douglas

    Love this! It really makes me appreciate the gorgeous covers I’ve gotten for the last eighteen books with my publisher! The latest one has a new (for me) texture to the paper that makes it feel warm and almost alive…and considering there’s a half naked guy on the cover, it’s totally apropos for my erotic romance. Of course, I’m spending way too much time stroking that naked back…

    Uh? You were asking? LOL…I’m getting what’s on my list–both kids, their spouses and all five of our grandkids for Christmas. It just doesn’t get any better! Happy Holidays–though I’ll be humming that damned song forever with the new lyrics!

    Reply
  9. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I loved this post!

    I’m happy to say that at least today, the fabulous but totally unsuitable cover art for BOOK OF SHADOWS suddenly turned into fabulous and wonderfully erotically feminine and completely suitable cover art, overnight.

    I kept saying, "Yes, yes, I love it" and secretly praying that it would change (and saying off-handly to my editor… "If it could just be a little more feminine and sexy…")

    And – lo and behold….

    Ask, and you shall receive.

    Reply
  10. toni mcgee causey

    Debbie, thank you! And I second that wish. πŸ˜‰

    Alex, I’m with Allison — can’t wait to see it. I’ve always thought you had terrific covers.

    Ebony, thanks! And you’re welcome.

    A– πŸ™‚

    Kate, you have the good cover mojo — I’m standing near you next time just so the good luck can rub off. And now I am totally intrigued by the paper texture you’re talking about. Almost alive? Warm and… whoa. Imagine the possibilities for covers, now.

    Ter, Kaye and Faye — thank you!

    Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.

    Reply
  11. Linda Poitevin

    This has to be the funniest post I’ve ever read…and SOOOO true!!! I have my very first book coming out next month and suffice it to say I’m not exactly thrilled with the cover art…<sigh>. So…wine to take the edge off, huh? That may work. A bottle before the launch…a bottle in my bag to keep me stable during…yup, I can see the benefits here! πŸ™‚

    Happy holidays to all — and may we all have nothing but fabulous cover art in future! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  12. Leona bushman

    Thanks for the laughs. I’m also here via Janet Reid. She warned us to put the keyboard away and quit drinking, Thankf God! I had my husband and oldest son read it cuz I thought they’d appreciate it πŸ˜›
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
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