Monday, August 29, 2016

WHAT LIGHT: Cover Design

I want everyone to read my next book. That would be awesome for so many reasons! But I'll be plenty happy if the only people who read it are the people who want to read a story exactly like the one I wrote. (Although, I think the world would be a much better place if everyone did read it, which I feel morally obligated to say.)

So the most important job of a cover is to grab the attention of people looking for a story just like the one behind the cover. A good title helps, too, which is why I'm glad we settled on what we did rather than those...other ideas of mine.

Until I publish something that's illustrated (no...just checked...I can't say anything yet), one of the most exciting parts of having a book in production is seeing the cover. Or different versions of a cover. With What Light, I saw five potential cover designs. I went back and forth between two designs, but when I showed all five to a couple of people, they chose a different one. So I showed them to a few more people (authors, librarians...), but none of them agreed with me, which was the entire point!

What they kept landing on, whether they knew the premise of the book or not (I wanted both perspectives) was this...

And I liked that one, but I didn't love it. When they told me what they liked about it, I understood where they were coming from, but I imagined myself giving a PowerPoint presentation at a school or library, excitedly showing the covers of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us, and then casually putting up my latest offering.

How could I tweak this cover to become the cover I would choose? Thankfully, it was winter, and as I was strolling downtown, I came across this poster in a store window...

I snapped a photo of it and emailed it to my publisher and editor. I'll admit, I did not do the best job in telling them how I thought the image of the girl would be enhanced by adding light "flares" or "bursts" or "shimmers" or whatever I called them. And their casual response echoed that I did not describe my vision well enough to convince them.

So I had to show them.

To repeat myself, thankfully, it was winter. That meant I didn't have to climb into the garage attic to fetch a string of Christmas lights, I could simply untangle them from the tree! Then I pulled up the original design onto my laptop, which has a reflective screen, plugged in the lights, and snapped a photo of the cover that included reflected light flares/bursts/shimmers.

And I emailed them this...

Now they understood, and they sent back this...

Thank you, Theresa Evangelista, for working on this cover, which I absolutely love! It represents a book exactly like the one I wrote.

If you'd like to know what What Light is about, or pre-order it, here's a link!

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