Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cover Feature: Emory's Gift by W. Bruce Cameron

Below is the thoughts W. Bruce Cameron had about his books, A Dog's Purpose and Emory's Gift:

When I was first shown a cover mock-up for A Dog’s Purpose, I was unsure. I loved the way the color implied the eternal blue of the sky, and thought having the title in the clouds implied the spiritual bent of the novel, but the dog was an old dog, and I wanted a puppy. There are so many puppies in A Dog’s Purpose!

My publisher argued, though, that an old dog implied the wise soul of the canine who narrates A Dog’s Purpose, that looking into those eyes, one gets a sense of wisdom and intelligence. I eventually gave in, and now I think the decision was exactly right.

For Emory’s Gift, the process was the opposite. I loved the cover the instant I saw it. There’s a passage in Emory’s Gift where Charlie, the teenage boy, comes across Emory the bear leaning against a wooden fence, a melancholy look on his face (because Emory senses things coming about which Charlie has no clue.) The photo on the book cover captures that moment exactly, and the Sawtooth mountains in the background perfectly capture the area in which Charlie lives. Now, though, I have some doubts. People seem a little unsure, when they see the cover, that they will like the book. It’s an allegorical tale, all about the heartwarming relationship between a boy and a bear that may or may not be more than just a bear. The reader response to it has been great—more positive than A Dog’s Purpose, even—but people don’t seem as willing to buy it because it has a bear on the cover.

Though we’re often admonished not to judge a book by its cover, that’s often what we do. A cover can make or break a book, so its selection is often fraught with second guessing. I suppose if I’ve learned anything in this process, it is that you never can tell. I love both covers, though, and I wrote both books—maybe in the end, that’s all that really matters.

W. Bruce Cameron

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