Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Is this a fairy tale?

Little Willow sent me some clever questions about Letters From Rapunzel, and graciously waited until I had time to answer them. You can find our conversation here. I want you to go read the whole thing, of course, but first, I need your help. One question she posed was:

When I show customers your book, their reaction to the title and cover art is frequently, "Is this a fairy tale?" Did you have any say in the jacket design?

My answer:
No, I didn’t, and authors rarely do. I like the way Rapunzel is in a fairy tale tower, and yet, her letters are drifting out to a modern neighborhood. But I do think that the cover has been confusing to some. I’d be very interested in hearing what you think the cover should be, in case they decide to change it for the paperback version.

Little Willow then went on to offer this to me in an email (she said I could share):

I'm seeing two very different things: Either a P.O. Box with the # and the title imprinted (a real photo, not an illustration) or a desktop cluttered with half-written letters (the title and author byline on the top sheet) other items belonging to [Rapunzel,] like her pens and school books, modern-day items.

What do you think? You can leave your comments here, or go visit Little Willow, read the interview, and leave your comments over there.

Thank you, LW!

P.S. This is too good not to share:

Karen Edmisten posted about reading out loud, and how thrilled she is that her daughters are doing it too. And look! Right there at the end of the post:

"Anne is reading a recent favorite -- Sara Lewis Holmes' Letters from Rapunzel -- to a long-distance friend of hers. Over the phone. Because the friend can't find the book at her library."
Is that a good friend or what?


  1. So cool that Anne is reading your book aloud to a friend!!

    I agree with LW about a realistic photo of the P.O. Box, with letters and Cadence's personal things so that readers know this is a contemporary story, and not a fairy tale/fantasy.

  2. Go, Anne!

    I like that P.O. Box idea with the title on the box itself. I can see it now.

    A good cover is hard to find (not that I think the current one is bad either, but if you want it changed, I hope you get what you want).

    I'll think on it, too, but I like that first suggestion of LW's.

    Jules, 7-Imp

  3. What a wonderful compliment to your work! When readers share what they are reading, you know the book is a good one. You can be proud!

    I think a desk cluttered with letters and new-age personal items would give the reader an understanding as to what the book is about. I like this idea the best!!

  4. I've always liked the cover - but not with the book. I think it sets it up as a totally different kind of story, and that always drives me crazy.

    I recently read a book that had a very serious looking cover, and the story inside had a slapstick humor to it. And I didn't enjoy the story because I wasn't prepared for that kind of tone.

    I don't have a specific suggestion for the cover, but it should reflect the tone of the book.

  5. Isn't that the BEST STORY EVER!?!?!? Reading your book aloud -- over the phone. LOVE that.

    Doesn't LW rock!? I can see the P.O. Box thing in photograph MUCH better. I like the cover as it stands, but it definitely said FAIRY TALE in loud words to me, and I even set it aside as my "fairy tale for this week." Quel surprise when I read it on a trip and it was realistic fiction!

  6. LOVE the read-aloud post. That is truly wonderful. Thank goodness for unlimited long distance plans.

  7. Thanks on all counts!

    Let me know if you'd like me to do a mock-up cover for you...

    I _love_ that they're reading it over the phone. It's like a book club / storytime / audio book hybrid. :)

  8. OK, first of all, we are one night away from finishing Rapunzel as our family read aloud. I was gasping for air tonight. You shoulda warned me, Sara. Our youngest begged for me to carry on last night and when she finally gave in and went to bed she said, "Y'know, this Sara person is almost TOO good at cliffhangers." So. Cover notwithstanding, you're getting to us over here, missy....

  9. "this Sara person" I like that. I really, really do. :)

  10. Dear Sara person,

    If the cover uses a P.O. box, what would the number would be? Nevermind, I guess it would have to be #5667, wouldn't it? I like the idea of a P.O. box photo of an actual #5667 from somewhere out there in the real world. I also agree that the cover should reflect the tone of the book. I wouldn't have chosen to read the book based on this cover, but I really like the whole Rapunzel idea.

    And about reading out loud ... does it count that I (age 67) read parts of it to my room mate (age 57) and we were both enjoying it? Now it's her turn to read the book, as I quickly finished it and came away with copious notes for my upcoming book review.

  11. I was really distracted by the cover, especially once I got into the book. I didn't think that Cadence should have looked like that. The cover makes her look like some whispy thing that can't take care of herself, and that is hardly the case with Cadence. I also think that the cover would discourage some people from picking it up, especially people that would like this style of writing.
    I agree that a photo would be best, but only of a desk with the letters and maybe a dictionary. I always hate when I see a picture of the main character, because as I read, I come up with how I think they should look and sometimes its not as depicted on the cover.
    Sometimes you wonder if the person who chose the cover even read the book. You wrote about some pretty serious stuff and the cover has this bright cheery scene.
    BTW, my husband often reads me parts of books while we are in bed reading. Right now he's reading an autobiography of Steve Martin. Pretty funny stuff!


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