Sean Griswold’s Head gets a new face

June 8, 2012
Sean Griswold’s Head almost wasn’t titled Sean Griswold’s Head. When title talk came around, the publisher and I went back and forth on titles for quite some time. I tried to think of something else, but every time I looked at this book, all I saw was SGH. I knew it was quirky, I knew some people might not like it. In fact, I’ve since had readers write to tell me how much they did not like the title. But I wanted something specific, something that fit, and to this day, I still think SGH was the best choice. The publisher finally said I could keep the title. And then it was time for covers.
The challenge with a curious title like this is finding a cover that explains the title. Alone, SGH might sound like a zombie book. We needed an image that told a story: this book is about a girl who gets inside a boys head through a very odd assignment. So the classroom, looking at the back of Sean’s head, seemed like the right fit. That’s why this was the hardcover image:
I really like this cover. You can read the full cover story over at Melissa Walker’s cover story feature.  This image is fun, it’s quirky, it has little hints about story elements. And the chalk green, oh, that I just adore. But others not so much. Of the reviews I’ve seen, I would say the opinions were pretty split. Some even asked if this was a boy book because there is a boy on the cover. I don’t think it’s a boy book. Honestly,  I don’t think it’s a “girl” book either, but that is neither here or there. When it came time to release the paperback, Editor Caroline told me they were going for a certain audience. They wanted to show the sweet romance of the story, that yes, Payton researches Sean’s head, but ultimately this story is about opening her heart–opening her heart to love, but also loss.
And so we started to look at couples that gave a vibe of Sean and Payton. This was tough, because Payton and Sean are only fifteen in the book. There weren’t many images that fit. Caroline sent me two others, and they served a purpose, but were either vague or blah.
Which is what I really love about this cover, that the couple communicates the kind of romance in this book. And I love that he’s kissing her forehead, says something about how Sean helps Payton come to term with the challenge she’s facing at home. And the background looks very much like Valley Forge in spring, with the tall grass and mature tree. I hope readers will pick this up, see that there is romance in there, but at it’s core, SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD is about family, about coming of age.
The paperback will be available September 19. What do you think?