March 29, 2011

Don’t judge a book (or an author) by its cover

Behind the Book by
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"The cover we envision for If I Were a Man, I'd Marry Me will be funny yet poignant, sanguine yet sassy," my publisher says. "Bailey White meets Bridget Jones with a dash of Sex in the City."

"There's no way I'm jumping out of a wedding cake," I say.

"But the focus group loved it," she says.

I am not your "funny photo on the front of the book" kinda girl, but by the end of the conversation, my publisher has me convinced that if Cannery Row were published today, there would be a picture of John Steinbeck on the cover lying in a sardine can. He'd hand out Goldfish crackers as a promotional.

I finally agree to let my publisher do a computer mockup, superimposing my face on the body of a model wearing a wedding dress. I get a call from the publisher's computer wizard, Dell, wanting to know my weight, height and vital statistics. When he starts breathing heavy, I draw the line.

"So, like, what are you wearing?" he giggles nervously.

"Listen, you little perve . . . . "

"Your book is, like, funny."

"You read my book?"

"That story, 'The Mattress Authority,' really rocks."

"I'm wearing a pink teddy with matching garter," I lie. "What did you think of chapter two?"

Two days later we get the photo proofs via Federal Express. The photo shows my gigantic head perched on top of a teeny tiny body. Think Michelle Pfeiffer in an off the shoulder Vera Wang with Winston Churchill's head.

"You look like a Pez dispenser," Sweetie says, staring down at the photo. "Exactly how much did you tell them you weigh?"

"So, what happened to the rest of the model?" the FedEx guy keeps repeating, as he taps the bottom of the envelope.

I immediately set out to correct the situation.

"Dell," I whisper, hand cupped over the phone, "shrink my head." The final version is so realistic, my publisher assures me, "No one will ever notice" that the "ghost body" isn't really mine.

The next thing I know, I'm sitting in a radio station for my first book tour interview.

"Very funny book," the DJ says.

"You read my book?"

"The cover is really. . . ." The dead air space sucks a vacuum as the DJ's head swivels back and forth from my body to the cover of the book.

"That's not your body on the cover," he announces to the entire radio free world. "Your . . . feet are much smaller." This from a man who has Barry White's voice and Pee-Wee Herman's body.

P.S. Wall is the author of the syndicated humor column, Off the Wall. If I Were a Man, I'd Marry Me is now available in paperback.

Off the Wall. If I Were a Man, I’d Marry Me
By P.S. Wall

ISBN 9780345434968

P.S. Wall

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