First of all, I have two amazing blurbs from two amazing authors. These are both authors I adore, both as people and as writers. I admire them both immensely! So I can't tell you how thrilled I was to hear their thoughts on my book. It seriously made me weepy. I'm so pleased to share with you PROPHECY blurbs from Marie Lu and Robin LaFevers.
"What an adventure! I fell in love with the lush, richly woven world of PROPHECY. Kira is truly a force to be reckoned with. When I finished my journey with her, all I wanted was more. Spectacular!" - Marie Lu, author of the LEGEND trilogy
"Filled with ancient lore, political intrigue, non-stop action, and a fiercely determined heroine, PROPHECY is a rich and thrilling read—my favorite kind of book!" - Robin LaFevers, author of GRAVE MERCY
Man, if this wasn't my own book I totally would want to read it!! ;o)
Anyway, I have a bit more for you also. When I was up in NYC last month, I had the pleasure of meeting with my art directors Amy Ryan, Senior Art Director (who has been with Harper for 12 years!), and Joel Tippie, Art Supervisor at HarperTeen. Not only are they wickedly talented and smart, they are really nice people who took the time to explain about the cover process. So here's my interview with my design team giving you a behind the scenes look at how HarperTeen comes up with their fabulous book covers!
Ello - When I first saw my final book cover, I was blown away by the intensity of the colors and the smoky effect of the water dragon that wraps itself around the ruby. So my first question is how did you come up with the design?
Amy - Thank you! We love to hear about how our authors react to our covers! The ruby was definitely appealing to us from a design aesthetic.
Joel - Although we did explore figurative approaches based on scenes from the book, but we just kept coming back to the ruby. We had a strong feeling about it from the get go.
Ello - During a design process, how many various ideas do you consider before deciding to move forward with a specific design?
Amy - The design process really varies from book to book. We usually like to comp up 3-5 rough ideas and then develop 2 of them to a tighter concepts before we share them. We have cover meetings each week with editors and we discuss ideas there and show really rough comps at that stage. Then, we develop the best of those ideas and prep them to show the Sales team for feedback.
Ello - May I ask how the design process happens? Is it brainstorming ideas together or putting together picture layouts?
Amy - For each book, we get a cover summary that includes main plot points, details on the characters, and competitive titles that are in the same vein as far as the type of book. Sometimes the summary even includes the author's ideas. The design team meets with editorial early on to toss around ideas and look at competitive titles. From there, we begin pulling visuals and swipe images that evoke the right mood.
Joel - We also used your map as a frame of reference as it was such a great map. (Map by the fabulous Virginia Allyn!)
Amy - Sometimes, we put together comps in-house to share and sometimes we hire a digital artist to do so. For this book, we worked with a wonderful designer and digital artist, Sarah Hoy, to create the comps. We sent her all of the relevant info and material based on our discussions with Phoebe and Jess (my wonderful editorial team!) and she worked the magic!! Sarah put the comps together and then digitally composited all of the stock photos for the final cover, too.
Joel - We really wanted to do an iconic cover. The first comp was just the ruby but we were looking for a fresh way to add to an iconic cover so we added the water dragon and there you have it!
Ello - And I love it! How long does the process take?
Joel - Generally it takes about a year.
Ello - Is it a difficult process?
Amy - I wouldn't say that the cover design process is difficult but it certain is challenging! Each book needs to look unique and special and we look a lot at the competitive titles to see what is working in the market. When we work on concepts and comps, we're often using swipe images or fpo (For Placement Only) images just to get the concept across. Once we get a concept approved, we need to figure out the best way to create the cover. Sometimes, we're able to license multiple stock photos and then have a digital artist put everything together in a seamless way. If we can't find the right photo (especially if the concept involves seeing a character) in stock, we will do a photo shoot. We will work with a photographer to cast just the right model and then work with them on the lighting and mood to achieve the best result. While all of this is happening, we are also working on various type treatments. We often try quite a few different fonts and lock-ups to start and work closely with the editor to be sure our type gets across the right mood. Sometimes, we even hire a hand lettering artist to create the type.
Joel - For PROPHECY we used a font that a boy or girl would want to read.
Amy - It's so fun to work with all types of creative people to create covers.
Ello - Thank you Amy and Joel! And thank you Sarah Hoy! I couldn't be happier with my gorgeous cover!