January 2, 2017

January #InkRipples - Book Covers



Welcome to the New Year and a new year of #InkRipples. This month we are talking about book covers.

I have a thing for book covers. As a matter of fact, I have folders on my computer where I store the jpgs of each book I read. It makes me remarkably happy to open those folders and browse the images.

Have you ever wondered how the book covers come together? Each one happens a little differently, but some of the general rules are that the author gives the artist some basics about the book’s theme, the characters, the setting, any key item, etc. The artist designs a mock up and asks what the author thinks, the author says what they like and what they don’t like and the artist makes appropriate changes.

I know, you’re probably falling asleep by now. Such a clinical explanation. So guess what? Each Monday in January I’m going to share with you the progression of some of my very own covers. You’ll get the behind the scenes look at how the covers came together.

Today let’s start with two of my middle grade novels.

1st draft
Save the Lemmings With this novel I had a pretty clear view of what I thought should be on the cover. I expressed the desire to have a school girl surrounded by media. I was super excited with the first draft even though there were things that had to be changed, most expressly, Natalie’s hair color.

2nd draft
Notice how the images in the mock ups are fuzzy. It’s because the image hasn’t been purchased yet. Good thing, since we changed it a couple times.

3rd draft
You’ll notice the sweater changes and then goes back again. I might have been pretty obnoxious about the fact that Natalie is a priss and I wanted that to be evident from the get-go. Featherweight was great to work with on this cover and I love the final image.

Unfortunately this book never had great sales and the rights have already reverted to me. One day I’ll repackage the story and republish it. But for now I still have a few print copies available with this awesome cover. You can buy a signed copy direct from me.

Final Draft

Beware of the White
This book I had NO clue about the cover. So when asked what I envisioned I was like, “Uum…IDK. This is what Terra looks like. There is a scary bad guy who looks like ‘this.’ He is a death janitor.”

1st Draft
When I got the first draft I was like, “OOOOoooo.” But there were two things that struck me as not right. One I didn’t want another blue book cover. I had two other covers with blue or blue/green themes. And more importantly, I thought it gave the feeling that the story was scary. Which it isn’t. Though I LOVE the feet and arm sticking out of the janitor's cart. *Snort* Anyway, I shared a little more with the artist about the story, like how the underground city Terra protected is bright – all the colors of the rainbow - and peaceful. The poor artist could not find a good Terra, and finally asked me to look for one. I found a girl that was perfect looks-wise, but wore a hood in all the photos I found of her. The clever artist was able to remove the hood and use her. The new color scheme also made me super happy. It even ‘pops’ in thumbnail size. So after a couple minor changes, the final draft was very satisfying. This book is available in eBook.

Final Draft
So see how even though all the original drafts are great, an artist and author work together to try to best represent the story inside the cover?

Come on back next week and I’ll share more collaboration stories.

In the meantime, what tends to draw your eye when you are browsing books? People? Weapons? Serene settings?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

14 comments:

  1. I love the progression you showed on you covers, and the l the final results are great.

    Can't wait to see what you share next!!

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    1. Covers are hard! I really appreciate a cover artist who gets it. You know?

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  2. How cool to show the progression. You were fortunate to have that kind of interaction with your artist. With the big publishers, that doesn't happen. The publisher sends you choices and you pick, no tweaking. Fortunately, I usually liked one of the choices!

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    1. It is different from house to house too. Even among small press. As you'll see as the month progresses and I share more. :)

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  3. So interesting to see the process behind the book cover. It's different every time, isn't it!

    For me, it's often color that catches my eye first in a book cover.

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    1. Each experience is different. Much like publishing each book is different than the last. Keeps us on our toes!

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  4. Ahahaha I love the janitor's cart in the original Beware of the White cover, but I also like the second cover a bit more.

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    1. Isn't it great? It's still on the cover, just not as obvious. Thanks, Dianna.

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  5. Covers are fascinating, and it's great when the author can give their thoughts on it. Loved both of these books.

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    1. I do feel lucky that I've gotten input on all of them. Even when I don't really have a lot to add ;) Thanks for the nice words on these stories.

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  6. I have some covers where I gave the publisher the image I wanted to use and they just manipulated it to make it more unique. Others I had no say in whatsoever. :( Now, I make my own covers, so I love them.

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  7. Fun stuff! I seriously geek out over covers. If I was a little less of a writer, I'd totally be creating covers. Totally. As it is, I'm grateful to have an amazing cover designer who occasionally heeds my vision.

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    1. Ha ha. You do have puurrrttyyy covers! I just don't have the talent for covers, so I'm thankful other people do.

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