Cover Reveal: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

Hi everyone! Today, I have the immense pleasure of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for Sarah Nicole Lemon’s forthcoming young adult debut, Done Dirt Cheap. Coming to a bookstore and library near you in 2017 by Amulet Books, Done Dirt Cheap tells the story of Tourmaline and Virginia, two very different girls brought together by one very common goal – to fight back against those that seek to exploit them. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Sarah’s debut ever since I first heard of it and was lucky enough to first welcome Sarah to Pop! Goes The Reader back in June when she was kind enough to contribute a beautiful, poignant essay about Winter’s Bone to this year’s Her Story: Ladies In Literature event (You can read Sarah’s essay here!). I consider it a very special privilege to be able to share the cover of Done Dirt Cheap with you today, as well as a personal note from the author about the story’s origins and its journey to publication.

I was in Charleston, I think. Panicking. I was in a restaurant that was nicer than the Olive Garden and desperately trying to recall all the etiquette episodes from eight seasons of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. I was with authors and feeling a bit walloped by publishing. Everyone makes it seem like you get an agent, the heavens open, angels sing, and there’s a bidding war for your book resulting in you making it rain at Panera Bread. But I was in Charleston and panicking because this had not happened.


I tried really hard not to complain. I firmly believe it’s hard for everyone at some point, and the fact was, I was IN CHARLESTON! DRINKING WHISKEY! WITH COOL PEOPLE! so I was giving it my best eh, it’s cool response — while inside I wondered if I’d ever get there. I thought about my terrible rough draft of a next book waiting for me at home. I thought about all the reasons I’d been rejected. I drank more whiskey.

I don’t remember where my friend said it — whether it was over the whiskey, in the dark corner of the bar, or on the desolate sidewalk as we walked through a midnight Charleston. But somewhere in there, my not-obviously sentimental friend said, “Lemon, write the book of your heart.”

In my highly sentimental heart, I believed her. Completely. I went home and spent nine months laboring over that terrible rough draft, trying to be fearless in peeling back the layers of my soul and own everything I had been trying to hide. Done Dirt Cheap was the book of my heart, the book of things I dug deep in my bones for, and the story that made me face things I’d stuffed into a box and shoved away for good. I wept. I wrote. I bled beautifully.

And then.

The rejections started rolling in. Slowly. I thought there was nothing worse than “too quiet” but “there is no audience for this” was a knife into my gut I still feel. I gnashed my teeth and wailed to anyone who would listen that I could turn a polyester zebra print coat into cashmere leopard, but at the end of the day it would still be brawling at the Waffle House and that was something I just couldn’t change about my work.

Write the book of your heart. But what if the book of your heart doesn’t sell?

I was in West Virginia. Morose. Staring at clear stars over an October lake in my sagging camp chair. I was thinking about that question. I only had one answer and it was a terrible answer. I didn’t like that answer. My husband quietly smoked while I sat beside him and cried over the book of my heart. The stars listened, but did not reply. And in the morning, I went home and did the only thing I could do. I kept on writing my heart.

A month later, Done Dirt Cheap sold. I went back to Charleston and celebrated.

So what does the cover of the book of your heart look like? I would have answered “No faces!!” for one thing and “I have no idea!” for another. I mean I had feelings — I wanted something modern and cool, but that showed a hint of the strong folk tradition my stories are grown from. It’s hard to envision what that looks like. But when I saw this cover, I just knew.

Hey. Look. My heart. It’s right there.

And every time I look at Tourmaline and Virginia’s faces, I feel a little thrill up my spine like — Oh it’s real!

I hope y’all like my heart.

No pressure. 😉

About Sarah Nicole Lemon

It was touch and go for a while, but Sarah Nicole Lemon finally grew into her woods witch vibe and now spends her days merrily setting young girls to impossible tasks with dire threats if they fail. Born and raised in the Appalachians, she spent the first fifteen years of her life doing nothing but reading and playing outside and has yet to outgrow either. Writing allows her to do both on a professional level. When not writing, you can find her drinking iced coffee in a half-submerged lawn chair near her home in southern Maryland.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrGoodreads

Title Done Dirt Cheap
Author Sarah Nicole Lemon
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published 2017 by Amulet Books
Find It On

Two young women from opposite sides of the tracks join forces to overthrow the people who exploit them.

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club — and Tourmaline.

But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

2 responses to “Cover Reveal: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon”

  1. Kelly says:

    Nice! Looking forward to reading your heart!

  2. That cover is stunning and the book sounds right up my street. I don’t know why people would turn it down because it sounds like a really good book and that’s added to my 2017 to buy list.
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