Hello, Peeps!

When I was waiting for an author signing at ALA I was next to the Bloomsbury publisher booth. Myself and one of their publicists started talking about the process of making a book cover, and it was super interesting! She got me in touch with someone who makes covers and I did an interview with her. If you want to know how publishers creates covers like Wild Cards, Crown of Midnight, and Me, Him, Them, and it, check out the interview!


1. How many people usually work on one book?
There is the designer, and sometimes for children's and YA books there is also an illustrator who is producing the actual art. The art director and the editors also help to guide the process by giving the designer information about the book and its intended audience.

2. Does everyone have to read the book in order to work on the project?
It depends on how much time the designer has, and how early the editor gets the manuscript and can pass it on to the rest of the group. Usually, editors write a design brief for the designer, which can include a basic plot summary, an excerpt of the manuscript, character descriptions, and other similar books on the market that can serve as inspiration or design models. If the editor has the manuscript, they usually give it to me and I will read at least a few chapters. But it varies. For some books, I know the designers have read the whole thing. And for others, they haven't.  

3. Where do you get the models from?
Most of the time, if the cover uses a photograph or a photo-illustration, we get the images from stock image sites like Getty or Corbis. We can search through thousands of photos to try to find something that fits, and then we buy the rights to use the photograph based on how many copies we're going to print, where the book will be sold, etc. If we need a really specific image and can't find it on a stock site, we will do a photo shoot. We scout for models, contact modeling agencies, and hire photographers to try to get the image we need.  

4. Does the author get a say in what they want the book to look like?
Sometimes. Big, successful authors get a say (sometimes a lot of say) in their cover design and can approve it before it goes to press. Smaller or first-time authors might not. Authors have contracts with their publishers, and there is usually a clause in the contract about the cover, so depending on what they agree to, they can often at least see the cover before it goes to press.

5. On average, how many drafts do you go through?
A lot, usually. I will almost always come up with at least three or four different initial ideas for a cover

and then we go from there. For some books, I have done more than 50 drafts. For others, one of the first three to five drafts will satisfy everyone and we just fine-tune it.

6. How do you pick the typography?
You want to pick type that works with the imagery, and that also conveys a certain mood. If the book is a romance, you might pick something with beautiful curves and swirls. If it's about friendship, it could be a little more simple or fun. You want something that suits the story and the characters and the audience.

7. What are your thoughts on judging a book by it's cover?
I always judge books by their covers! I love books not just because I like to read, but also because books can be really beautiful as objects. A lot of the ones on my shelf were purchased because I liked their covers. I think a lovely cover design and a nice package (good paper, interesting special effects, etc.) can make the reading experience even better, and if it's a book you've never heard of before, the cover is your first introduction to the story.

8. What book cover was your favorite to work on?
I used to design adult books; my favorite of those is Beautiful Fools by R. Clifton Spargo. It's a novel about the Fitzgeralds, and it was fun to try to make something that was reminiscent of the 20s and 30s but also felt modern. Right now, my favorite of the YA covers I've worked on is for a book that isn't coming out until next fall; it's about a girl who learns how to fly a plane, and it was fun to play around with the title and make it look like skywriting.

9. Why are covers in different countries not the same as the US edition?
When publishers acquire a book, they acquire the rights to publish it in a certain territory—maybe in just one country, maybe in North America, maybe for all the English-speaking countries, and so on. When I design a cover, that cover goes on my publishers' books wherever they are allowed to sell that book. Another publisher will have the rights to publish it in other countries—in Asia or in the UK. So that publisher will usually do a different cover. If they want to use the same cover design that another publisher uses, they will have to pay the original publisher to use their design.

10. What kind of degree is needed to get a job in book cover making?

In general, you should have a bachelor's degree in art or graphic design. I majored in writing and minored in art in college, and then I went to grad school for writing and publishing. I took a lot of classes about book publishing and a few design classes, and when I moved to New York I started with very small design jobs and odd freelancing gigs to build up my portfolio, and gradually I moved on to larger publishing houses.

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2 comments:

That was a super interesting interview! I really enjoyed it:)

This was a great and very interesting interview! Thanks for posting. :)

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What is Twilight?

twi·light

/ˈtwīˌlīt/
Noun
  1. The soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.
  2. The period of the evening during which this takes place, between daylight and darkness.
Synonyms
dusk - gloaming - nightfall

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