ACW

ACW

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Cover Appeal by Adrianne Fitzpatrick

We all know how important a cover is when it comes to attracting readers and selling our books. A significant proportion of the books that I produce through Books to Treasure are reprints, and as such my job is generally very simple when it comes to covers: whenever possible I use the first edition dustwrapper; or, if that’s not available, a reprint wrapper. And on one notable occasion, there was no wrapper known to man—or collector—and the boards of the book I had access to were in too poor a condition to use, so I adapted one of the internal colour plates instead:


On other occasions (for other publishers), I’ve done photographic covers using my own (commissioned) photograph:



Or covers blending a photograph and illustrations related to the contents of the book:



And of course with the picture books, the illustrators naturally created cover illustrations as part of their remit.



But with the two young adult books coming out next month—Philip S Davies’ Destiny's Rebel and Eleanor Watkins’ The Village—I faced a new situation: hiring a designer/illustrator just for the cover.

Eleanor’s book is historical, set in the time of the Black Death, and I knew I wanted a painted wrap-around cover for that book, which meant finding an artist. I happened to see the work of illustrator Emma Graham on Facebook, and I contacted her about working with me. She read the book, sent me a couple of concept sketches, and the end product is truly a work of art:



But for Philip’s book I wanted something completely different. Firstly, Destiny’s Rebel is fantasy rather than historical, and the cover needed to reflect that; and secondly, it’s aimed at the older young adult and so whatever we did would need to appeal to that age group. Emma showed her professionalism and amazing versatility as an artist: as with Eleanor’s book, we looked at numerous concept sketches, and experimented by adding and removing various details until we ended up with a very simple, clean look.



Coming up with the right cover design isn’t easy, and sometimes it means acknowledging our own limitations and calling on the skill and expertise of others.

The Village and Destiny's Rebel will be published on  15th September 2015.


Adrianne Fitzpatrick has around 25 years’ experience in the publishing industry as a writer (for adults and children), editor, teacher (of writing and editing), photographer, book designer and bookseller (both new and secondhand books). She has had numerous short stories and articles published; and her first novel, Champion of the Chalet School, was published by Girls Gone By Publishers in 2014. Adrianne has worked with many authors to see their dreams of publication come true, so it’s not surprising that she has started her own publishing house, Books to Treasure, specialising in books for children. 

12 comments:

  1. Interesting insights here. We had a children's author come to visit our school to talk to the year 7s, and one thing he did was to show them a range of 'possible' book covers for his story, then he told them a bit about the book, then they had to vote on which one they preferred. They loved it, and it raised a lot of issues about what makes a book cover persuasive.

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    1. What a wonderful exercise! And yes, there's a lot more to a cover than most of us realise.

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  2. What a fascinating insight into cover design. Thank you Adrianne. I agree, the cover is crucial as it is the first thing the reader sees. I think you've got it spot on with both these covers. I'm looking forward to their publication

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. Yes, I'm very pleased with what we came up with for both of the YA covers. It was a truly collaborative effort between publisher, illustrator and writer.

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  3. Great post, Adrianne, and so good to see your publishing business such a success. xx

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  4. A real insight into the process involved in producing great book covers. Thank you :)

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  5. I just don't have an eye for it at all. I always think that I can imagine the perfect cover, but the one the publisher comes up with is always SO much better!

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    1. Isn't it wonderful, though, to see what other people bring to the project. Quite often they add a dimension we never realised was there - whether that be in the cover design, the internal design or even in the editing process. So many skilled people help to make the project the "whole-est" it can be.

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  6. It was such a pleasure and a privilege to be so fully involved in the discussions with Adrianne and Emma about the cover for "Destiny's Rebel". Not many authors with traditional publishers get such an input about it as I did. :-)

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    1. Yes, I think I spoiled you a bit! ;-p

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