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  • Vanessa King

A Cover Reveal: One Year Later

A year ago today, I was in the basement of our place in Boulder, trying desperately to perform a cheeky, consistently in-frame glove peel to announce the cover reveal of A CERTAIN APPEAL.


Production was rushed. I’d been planing to do a glove peel since January, after receiving the inspired ACA-themed gloves as a gift from my agent. The cover was still in the works as of early March, but we were getting close, and while there was no hard date for the final product, it seemed smart to get a move on the costuming for my video. I ordered a velvet onesie bustier from Amazon (for $17!) and found an amazing sequined fabric to enhance it with. I can’t sew, but allow me to attest to the quality of fabric glue— it held, and still looks fab.

I was happy with the costume when I got a message from a mutual on IG, politely informing me that my book was available for presale—was I aware? Also, the cover looked great! Congratulations!

I. Freaked. OUT.

Big, Robbie Hart energy from me.

After a frantic email to my agent, we heard back from my editor that, yeah! Sometimes, the publisher just did that— put up the cover/presale link before things were finalized. Happens all the time!

Oh, OH, how the freaking out continued.


That was Thursday afternoon. As I continued with deep breathing exercises and the occasional all-caps text of catharsis to my mom, I tried to be constructive with the accompanying burst of manic energy and transformed the workout rig in the basement into my backdrop, using Christmas tree lights, a bedsheet, and an overlay of sparkly tulle. Friday morning, I was up bright and early trying to figure out a song selection. My heart was set on Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”, but the sultry, brassy, “Shivas Regal” would win the day.


Then I had to practice. A LOT. Because much like my character, Kitten Caboodle, I have zero head for choreography. It’s why I never pursued full-on burlesquing beyond my student showcase (set the “Oogie’s Theme” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, peeling down *as* Oogie Boogie; you’re welcome for that visual). I can’t even comprehend being able to dance, which is why Bennet can’t dance either. But there are no shortage of tutorials online, and after refreshing myself on the finer points of glove peels, I added some bumps and grinds. Heck, I even found an intro routine that a synched up with “Shivas Regal”! I had the video muted, playing “Shivas” via Spotify instead.

Wow. It really synched up!

I turned the sound on the video. The performance was set to “Shivas Regal”.

Toodles, you are a hot idiot.

I got costumed and coiffed, my front a veritable patchwork of double sided tape as I tried to secure the fleshy Capri-Suns that were once my boobs into a some semblance of perkiness. I set up my camera (phone) atop a precarious arrangement of gift boxes, and began filming.Take. After after take. After bloody take.


In the midst of this, my agent and I received the copy for the back of the book, which had a very Ally McBeal, “Lizzy Bennet had it all—except love” angle that needed to be reworked IMMEDIATELY, so I got to sit down in all my double-sided taped-up glory and workshop the thing with my agent. It was during this lull in the day’s unending loop of “Shivas Regal” when I heard the first, incriminating “squeaks” from the laundry room that had me thinking we had a mouse problem. Fun fact: WE DID! It was a multi-month NIGHTMARE!

But I had no time for vermin: I had to shimmy.


Copy edited/submitted, I got back to filming.

At the end of the day, I had a decent take, but it wasn’t quite right. A beat or two of dead eyes, a few seconds where the words on the glove weren’t fully visible. So filming went into another day. The setup improved with the addition of a ring light and phone stand, and, folks? “Sleeping on" a new skill is legit. It was as though my brain was suddenly in possession of choreography skills. Exactly 75 seconds of movement, but still, very useful in the moment. More takes. A few moments of dead eyes, and then I had it. The next day, I edited.


Monday morning, the video went up, and…¯_(ツ)_/¯ Some folks were impressed? Several people commented on how creative the cover reveal was, and it earned me a few raised eyebrows and kudos at the gym, because I am shameless and 100% shared it to the community page on Facebook. In my defense, I wrote a good portion of the book in the lobby, waiting for class. Plus, my shoulders are on full display in the video and look great, which is a testament to the gym’s excellence.


Pictured: an actual ham sandwich.

I can’t say for certain that it did anything to generate buzz for the book, but as of this writing, the video on my pinned Tweet (it’s been a year but, yes, it’s still my pinned tweet) has 1,087 views, which is neat. And I’m still glad I did it. Aside from the panic that initially fueled it and the frustration of take after take…and the unsettling realization that there was a colony of mice living in the unused dryer in my basement…it was fun to do.

4 months into the release of ACA, and I kind of feel the same way. The book came out! It’s been enjoyed! Not a hit, but I’m proud of my work and glad I wrote it, and it was definitely fun to do. Sales don’t quite justify a follow-up in the same world, but the publisher does want more from me, so I’m spitballing new ideas and am really excited about one. Actually, right now, I only have the one, but it’s smart to have a backup ;)

Was all of this my way of saying, bummer, no Sense and Sensibility retelling? It wasn’t my intention, but here we are. Plus, you got to see photos of my old basement, which is a coup for you, don’t you think?


So once more, for old time’s sake:


Pop a pastie, folks.

And stay tuned.

Who knows what I'll come up with next?

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