Most people don’t know this, but authors don’t design the covers of their books. The publisher doesn’t ask for input, either, so they have no idea what the covers will even look like. Sometimes an author is extremely unhappy with the way a cover turns out. And here’s what he can do about it: nothing.

So I all but jumped out of my chair – all right, I twitched a little – when I got an e-mail from my editor at Simon & Schuster, the publisher of “Anyway*”, telling me, casually, that the attached file contained a picture of the cover. I was almost afraid to open it. I moved the cursor over the icon, stared at it for a few seconds, closed my eyes, clicked … and opened my eyes.

I gasped, then yelled, “That’s it! That’s my book!”

Max doing a cannonball into the pool – or is he somehow exploding out of the pool; the funny lettering, the orange headband (Max wears one at camp); the brilliant yellow sky and aqua-warm blue water…  It was perfect.

It was so perfect that it did a strange thing to my brain. The image on the cover took over part of my memory, so that now, when I think back to when I was writing the book, it feels like the cover was there all the time, and I was writing the book to fit the cover.

Now it’s time to give some credit: The genius who designed the cover of “Anyway*” is Dan Potash of Simon & Schuster. I’ve never met him. I’ve never even talked to him. But I sent him a message – maybe two or three – telling him how brilliant he is, and how grateful I am.

More credit: I didn’t do the funny doodles inside the book and on the jacket flap, either. Neither did Max, because he’s a fictional character. Dan Potash didn’t even do them. They were done by Virginia Hall, a summer intern at Simon & Schuster. And those doodles are perfect, too.

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