May 3, 2012

The Book Cover Saga


I hope all is well with you. 
Me, I’m steady.

With Wrinkles Wallace: Knights of Night School coming out at the end of this month, a lot of things have had to come together to make this possible.  One of the most important parts of any book is the cover.  So, I figured I’d blog about the cover to give you a better understanding of some of the things that happened during that process.
Over the course of writing this book I’ve used one cover to represent the characters of the book.  My goal was to have a real artist make an improved version of the one I created.  I also wanted the characters to be anonymous, so I created stick figures that would not allow the reader to know much more about the how the characters looked.  For the cover, the picture I created placed the characters in front of a police lineup.  I used Microsoft Paint to attempt to capture the same vibe as the cover for the Usual Suspects movie.  I wanted my readers to have to select the correct character out of the lineup.

While I always thought this was a great idea because of its simplicity, somehow using this cover for my book may have caused a parent or two to think twice about purchasing the book.  After making a few T-shirts with that picture on them, I came up with one that dropped the lineup and included the names for the characters.

Once the art for the cover was out of my hands, we had to try to explain the vision of the cover to the artist.  It took a few attempts to get on the same page, but once we did, things started to come together.  One of the things that helped us to get on the same page was a Linkin Park picture that showcased how to make them ambiguous. 

Fast forward a few covers and we came up with this:

I really liked this cover because it kept everyone ambiguous.  All that was left was to add a background and some color.  The next cover had a background:  
I like this cover.  The only major issue I had with it was the fact that when I went to Barnes and Noble, there were about 18 other covers in the store that also had some sort of lined paper on the cover.  With that said, we went back to the Acme drawing board and our artist used the night angle from the title in the background.  After a few adjustments on textures, we had this:

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that I didn’t like it.  I LOVED IT! 
The next test, which came from my graphic designing younger brother, was to take the covers from the first book of a series that was also aimed at my target audience and make a collage. 

After looking at how my book compared to that of other books, I felt pretty good about the visual impact it could have on the shelves of a book store. 
So, that's the story about how my book cover evolved from being stick figures in front of a police lineup to what it is now.  I think it fits my characters and I cannot wait to see what the artist does for the next three books I’ve written in the series.

Thanks for reading and looking.


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