Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The German Cover and the Perils of Being Obsessive

Last week, I learned that the German publisher of Cleopatra's Moon released the cover of my novel with a new title, Moon Girl.

First of all, can I just say, swoooon?  I mean, I LOVE the U.S. cover and I wouldn't change a thing but it was still very exciting to see a different interpretation. I responded accordingly:

1. OMG, isn't it gorgeous?
2. This is so beautiful I want to hug it!
3. Awww, look there's a moon! Because Selene means moon!
4. I want a poster of this. Do you think I could get a poster of this?
5. Begin at #1 and repeat cycle three times

Then, just to make my day complete, someone who shall not be named asked, "Wow, is that how you spell your name in German?"


It took a while, but my obsessive brain eventually reclaimed its dominance over happy brain, with one evil little whisper: That's not a Ptolemaic crown.

Oh, right. Still, isn't it gorgeous?

But that crown is from the Amarna period, specific to Nefertiti in the 18th Dynasty. No Greek Ptolemaic queen was ever depicted with that kind of crown.

True, but that doesn't mean a Ptolemaic queen never wore a crown like that. I mean, she could've right? Maybe she was playing dress-up! Also there is a scene in the book where Selene puts on a blue crown of war.

That's an entirely different crown.


The crown on the cover is not a Ptolemaic crown.

True. But how many people are even going to know that?

Egyptologists will know. And they will judge you for it!

Seriously, can you leave my head now? Because here's the thing--there's nothing I can do about it. 

That's not a Ptolemaic crown.


So, yeah. Welcome to my brain. The only way to manage it is to go back to step 1:

1. OMG, isn't it gorgeous?
2. This is so beautiful I want to hug it!
3. Awww, look there's a moon! Because Selene means moon!
4. I want a poster of this. Do you think I could get a poster of this?
5. Repeat!



Kristin Lenz said...

You're right on both counts - it's an important detail, but if it's truly out of your control, focus on the beauty. Interesting how different the two covers are, and both lovely. Enjoy!

Narukami said...

Hang on here -- The Germans are simply doing what Hollywood has done and continues to do, be it Romans of Egyptians.

As Goldsworthy points out in a recent article from the Guardian, Cleopatra would be dressed not in the Egyptian style of a thousand years earlier, but rather "She would have dressed more in the Greek style and the problem for Hollywood is that Greek dress looks pretty much like Roman – lots of people in sheets,"

The Germans just want to make sure the potential buyer realizer this book is about ancient Egypt. Don't drive yourself crazy. Well no crazier than you may already be.

We call them Hollywood Romans for a reason.


Unknown said...

The cover is gorgeous. And I believe that Selene is playing dress up. I know that if I could get my hands on Egyptian artifacts, that would be the first thing I did. Hello wonderful jewelry and pectorals!
And I love the hieroglyphs on the side.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Kristin, you're so right. Thanks for commenting.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

David, thanks for that--I'm sure that's exactly what they were thinking. Cleopatra and Caesarion were depicted in traditional Egyptian iconography outside of Alexandria. I like that phrase--"Hollywood Romans!" Also, from a pure visual point of view, they did indeed make a fantastic splash!

Michelle McLean said...

to be honest, my first thought was how much the model reminded me of Molly Ringwald :D Wrong crown aside, it is a gorgeous cover :) The colors are wonderful, the detail is beautiful, and the image is one that those who are not experts in Egyptian history will readily recognize. All in all, an amazing and well done cover :) Congrats!

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Allison, I agree! I try to play Egyptian dress-up every chance I get! :-)

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Michelle, OMG--Molly Ringwald--what a riot! I didn't see it before, but now I do (sadly, there's no un-seeing it now, is there?). LOL. :-)

kathleen duey said...

It's lovely. It will draw readers. YAY!!!

Isn't it fun to have your work translated? Trust me on this: You will get book report questions from German students who find you online. You will love it AND you can confide in them that the crown isn't quite right.

So find a good image of the correct crown that you can include in your responses. They will include the images in their reports and get high marks for their information-gathering. They will love you for that.

Yes, we have similar brain-functions re details. If only I had your expertise.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

It's why you were the absolutely right person to write the story - because you know things like that. Most of us do not. And those who do, are smart enough to come talk to you about it, at which time, you can inform them about the publishing industry and how little control we have, and 'but isn't is gorgeous'!!!!? What do the hieroglyphics say, btw? :)

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thank you Kathleen! Do you think that's a writerly trait in general?

@e--thanks. I don't know what the hieroglyphs say. Must look it up!

Cathy C. Hall said...

So all I was thinking was "wouldn't Cleopatra STILL be Cleopatra in German?"

Um, yeah. (I thought the cover was gorgeous. For what it's worth. ;-)

Karen Strong said...

Ha, I can so see you having this conversation with yourself. Lovely cover. And you so get of poster of this!