Monday, March 30, 2009

On The Outside: Gayle Forman

Today for the On The Outside post we have the wonderful author of the new book, If I Stay, author, Gayle Forman! Gayle is really nice and her book is excellent, which I had the chance to read a few months ago. You can visit Gayle at


Finding the right book title is a lightning-bolt experience—or, at least what I assume a lighting-bolt experience is like. In any case, you know when you’ve been hit. And for me, if I don’t have a title locked into place before the agents, editors, publishers, sales and marketing departments start weighing in, the process can become incredibly fraught.

With IF I STAY, it was never an issue because I never actually had to consciously think up the title. It just arrived, as part of the conception of the book. If I stay…it’s the central premise of the novel, the profound decision that Mia must make. I knew what the book would be titled well before I knew what I’d call my characters (I didn’t name Mia’s until about forty pages in ) or indeed what her ultimate decision would turn out to be (that I truly didn’t figure out until I was halfway through writing the book). At one point, my agent mentioned that she didn’t love the title and I half-heartedly threw out a few alternatives, but I don’t think I ever seriously considered changing it, and she warmed to the name. Once the manuscript went out to publishers, no one suggested changing it, thank goodness.

As for cover. I think this is the most beautiful cover in the history of book jackets. Okay, perhaps I’m a little biased, but it is stunning and perfect for this book, which is all you can hope for. I wish I could claim some credit, but all accolades go to the geniuses at Penguin, who had to crash together a concept in record time (The time between Penguin buying the rights to IF I STAY and the book showing up in book stores was about ten months, which is warp speed for book publishing). They showed me a few different prototypes in the early stages and I fell in love with the flower on the stark tree branches because it just works on so many levels, and that happened to be the one they chose, too. A few months ago I was on a prepublication book tour when a fiftysomething waiter at a fancy restaurant—hardly the book’s target audience—saw the cover, and, unprompted, said that the image symbolized the fragility of life but it also evoked hope. If this guy got all that from looking at the jacket for five seconds I knew then that it really was the perfect cover for this book.


Thank you a bunch Gayle for the wonderful story!

If any author wants more details on how you can do an On The Outside post with me, please email me at with On The Outside in the subject line and I'll get to you immediately with the details!


  1. This one looks awesome - and I'm glad the title wasn't changed.

  2. I'm glad they didn't change the title too. I can't wait to read this one. :)

  3. I have been wanting to read this book for a while now! And I am also really glad that the title wasn't changed. That's actually what first captured my attention!

    Nice post!

  4. I really like the cover/title too! And I've heard so much great stuff about this book, really looking forward to it! ;)

  5. Yay for the title staying the same. It really is an amazing and the cover is gorgeous...definitely a simple one that says a lot. The waiter was right!



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