Evolution of a Graphic Novel Cover

Last week, Bustle revealed the cover to my forthcoming graphic novel, Something New, (Spring 2016). I was excited to share the cover with everyone, because I'd been working on it with my designer and editor for months, and we were all really happy with the result. And because it's sometimes fun to see how the sausage is made, I thought it would be cool to write about some of the steps along the road to the finished cover. 

The first step in the process was a long chat with my editor about what we wanted the cover to convey. As with most of my chats with my editor, we detoured into discussions about cats and TV and food, but we ended the meeting with some good ideas. In fact, I texted her a few hours after the meeting with a couple of ideas, including the eventual cover concept, to which she responded in a typically businesslike demeanor:

Yes, the texting that follows is similarly businesslike. 

Yes, the texting that follows is similarly businesslike. 

Then came time to work with my designer, Danielle, to whom I sent a collection of cover sketches. The actual cover concept sketch is highlighted in pink, and the other ones we liked enough to develop are blue. (The book's subtitle was still being developed. We cycled through a few during this process before winding up with "Tales From a Makeshift Bride," in the end)

The fourth sketch actually made it onto the inside flap! Work is never wasted except sometimes!

The fourth sketch actually made it onto the inside flap! Work is never wasted except sometimes!

I developed the chosen concepts a bit more, running though a few ideas to see what worked and what didn't. Again, the chosen cover made the grade, seen below in pink. It's cool to see how the cover might have wound up, though. I was pretty fond of that upside-down bouquet one.

I'm glad the one where my dress is falling down didn't wind up being the cover...

I'm glad the one where my dress is falling down didn't wind up being the cover...

So we all agreed that I should develop the cake concept! The image is a nice simple line-drawing, and I began with this text and color treatment:

I would draw cakes all day every day if given the opportunity.

I would draw cakes all day every day if given the opportunity.

The cover went before the high court of marketing people at my publisher, and notes were made:

It's like when you would get back an essay in grade school. 

It's like when you would get back an essay in grade school. 

I made the revisions, as instructed, but I was not feeling the pink-ness of the cover. This book was meant to try to subvert the gendered stereotypes of wedding madness, so why would I have a rather goofily pink cake? Plus the icing looked weird and I wanted to try to tweak it.

Hello, I am the pinkest cake in the universe.

Hello, I am the pinkest cake in the universe.

So I tweaked! I tried a new color concept, and liked it much better! I played with the icing and the text a little, and lo and behold, there was the cover! 

Ta da!

Ta da!

Every time I make a cover for a book, I get better at it. A lot of the learning curve is gaining an ease of communicating with my editor, my designer and the marketing team, and understanding what I want to convey with this design. It's not an easy process. So much of the book has to be represented by a single image, and a lot depends on how it's initially perceived. There are many cooks in the kitchen, which is a mixed blessing, but ultimately a major help in crafting something that will do what it's supposed to do as a book cover.

It's going to be a pretty book, friends! I can't wait to share with you what's under this cover! Stay tuned for its release this Spring, and hold tight while I bundle myself up into work on the new book, all Winter long.

Meanwhile, here's my brand new author photo, hot off the presses and ready for the jacket flap!

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