the rest of the story...

…….It started with an email from Simon & Schuster publishing one morning. Naturally, I thought it was spam and you’re probably thinking that too. But no…... after a few go-‘rounds with a really and truly arts editor at S & S I learned they wanted to use my painting “Skylight” for the new James Burke novel “Light of the World”!

Burke is a popular mystery writer with many awards and a large following, so I recognized his name right away. In due time, I received a contract, a check and a mock–up of how the painting credits would appear on the cover.

A few months later I began to search the internet for pre-press on Burke’s new book only to find it looked completely different. I contacted the editor and was told that 'yes, she was very disappointed, but a late change had been made by another art director.'

Soooooo, the exciting announcement turned out to be both good news and bad news in a way. One never knows what opportunity awaits us around the corner, and after all I did cash that check :)

Looking forward to 2014 being a banner year for us all !

Below, ‘my’ version (top) and the published cover (bottom)


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  1. The same thing happened to me. I was contacted by a well known children's educational book publisher who wanted to use one of my lighthouse paintings for a story about that lighthouse. Art directors changed and they wound up using a very romanticized depiction of the same lighthouse. Sorry, no cliffs in Delaware! At least you got a check, and perhaps they'll think of you the next time!

  2. Ah, I like your cover better. I enjoy his books. Now they know you!

  3. They should have gone with your painting, Mary!

  4. Your cover would have had much better appeal for someone to purchase the book I think. Glad you got the check.

  5. Talk about a learning experience. Thank you for sharing. The top book cover is gorgeous.............they loose.

  6. Their loss! Your painting is the MUCH better choice! What do spears or arrows have to do with the title, anyway? Glad you cashed the check with the honor of their 1st choice. And, who knows, what will come in the future!!

  7. Your painting looked great on the cover, Mary.

    When I read all this I had to think "welcome to my world". I was a graphic designer for years and that sort of thing happened to me on a more-or-less daily basis. (a soul-sucking situation and pretty sad that everyone in 'the biz' gets completely inured to "revisions").

    95% of the time the initial design (like yours) is perfect, but some late arriving authority comes along to say "NO, make it STAND OUT"!

    Anyway.....Congratulations on a really cool book cover. Thanks for showing us. You are an awesome painter! :)

  8. Thanks everyone for has been both validating and eye opening! Celeste- an insider's view really adds to what seems a mystery to many of us! Great to hear from you all.


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