Posted by: L.J. Popp | October 1, 2012

Story of a Book Cover

Ever wondered how a book cover is designed? Many authors don’t have a say in their covers, but I’m so blessed because I get to work directly with the artist. She uses shutter stock to manipulate various backgrounds. This is the story of our process to create the perfect cover for Treasure Traitor. My first email: “Plot: Sixteen-year-old Renagada (RENA) just wants to fit in. That’s not easy when her best friend’s a vulture. Rena shares a special bond with her carrion-eater ACHA that allows them to exchange mental pictures, sensations, and emotions. But when Rena overhears her parents plotting to kill Acha because of a silly superstition, she must leave her fiancé and home of sheltered luxury to flee with Acha into the desert where danger and adventure await. Here’s just a rough idea I have: How about a single vulture’s silhouette flying in the sunset/sunrise (maybe even so that it’s hard to tell whether it’s a sunrise or sunset). Such an image portrays freedom, ending, beginning, and Acha as the main conflict of the book. I’m thinking it’s better not to have Rena on the cover, because I know the way I am, and no matter how good of an artist anyone is, I know a cover like that would always bother me because Rena wouldn’t look exactly how I imagine her. Possible other themes: Maybe an abandoned battlefield under the flying bird, or two long, curved knives stuck in the ground (Rena’s weapon of choice). Simple might be better, though. You know the original cover for Hunger Games (before the movie came out)? That’s a very simple cover, but elegant and memorable. I’m eager to hear your thoughts and ideas! If you’d like to read the book or just exerts of it, please let me know!”

Here’s what she came up with:

Here was my response: OK, I’ve had some time to really think about it. I totally love the concept! It actually reminds me a lot of the covers of the old Dune books. It rings very nicely of fantasy. I love the sun on the spine of the book. I have just three minor suggestions. 1.) Maybe we could add a tiny bit of color into the clouds? Light pink or purple, just to give the sky some character, and possibly a tinge of purple into the title too? 2.) What would it look like to have some rays radiating from the sun representing God? Good or bad? 3.) Could my name on the front be L.J. Popp? I still like the idea of a cursive or fancy-type font for my name. Could we see what it looks like, and if it’s no good, we can change it back? Anyway, that’s my two cents. Thanks again for all your hard work!

Here’s the second design:

My response: OK, sorry it’s taken me soooooo long to get back to you! I’ve been in India with spotty internet access and just got back. Anywho, I’ve been thinking about the cover a lot. There seems to be a general consensus between me and my writer friends that the first cover is best. It’s stark and looks just like where Rena lives. If there’s any way you could possibly put a little color into the title and my name, L.J. Popp, that would be cool. Maybe some purples and pinks or blues? I don’t know; maybe you could play around with it? Next, I love the knives on the back in the second design! Is there any way you can make them scimitars? That’s Rena’s (the main character’s) weapon of choice. A scimitar is a long curved knife, kind of like a machete, or the swords used in the Arabian Nights/Aladdin. Make sense? Finally, maybe my name and the title should go across the spine, like you did in the second design. Perhaps “Popp” could go above the sun, and “Treasure Traitor” under it? Would that work? You’re awesome! Totally love what you’re doing. Thanks again!

So here’s the latest design with Lynda’s explanation:

“Okay, here’s the original background with more color in the title. ^_^ And our friendly vulture flying high. On the back I created a semi-opaque box for text and for the floating blades. Layout is not exact at this point, as I have no idea what text will fill the back cover. Do you have a tag line? And let me tell you, scimitars are hard to find! Let me know if these are acceptable. Once we get the okay on all images used, we can purchase them and create the real deal.”

That’s what we have so far! The book is scheduled for release in November, but the exact date of the release party at Steve’s Books and Magazines in Tulsa, Oklahoma is not set. We still have to do the final edits, copy edits, and lay out. As soon as I have them, I’ll be sending out reader’s copies for review. If you’d be interested in doing a review or having me guest post on your blog or if you’re in charge of acquisitions for a bookstore or library, please feel free to contact me: laurajanepopp (at) ymail.com.

Prayer Requests: Just that the final stages of the publishing process will go smoothly and get done on time! Also, I’ve started teaching two English classes for foreigners at the YWCA in Tulsa. Right now it’s just volunteer, but I’ve applied for my state certification, so as soon as that comes through I’ll start getting paid. Please pray I get my certification soon and I’ll find creative waves of sharing Christ’s love with my students!

Until next time, keep loving and praying,
L.J. Popp

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Responses

  1. Very interesting entry. The back and forth on the cover design is fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks! Are you a writer too?

      • More of a wannabe. I have a collection of short stories almost ready to go – working on final edits.

  2. Cool! Do you have a publisher yet?

  3. I like the second design with more of the purple. It catches your eye more than the other ones due to the complementary color contrast. The bird becomes a focal point, draws your attention down to the title, and then you notice that it’s a desert.

  4. Congratulations, Laura! Great work! It’s wonderful that you’ll have your book in your hands soon. 🙂 And I agree that it’s very interesting to hear the back-and-forth on the cover design — thanks for sharing.

    On the subject of teaching, is your YWCA a Christian organization (I know they all were in the past, but I mean today)? If not, are you sure it’s OK for you to be teaching the Gospel to your students in your English class?

    – Susannah in Mie 🙂

    • Hey, Susannah, great to hear from you! Treasure Traitor will be available on Kendal and Nook, if you want to buy a copy in Japan. How’s life in Mie?

      As for the YWCA, my situation is a little different, since my classes are actually in a church with students who are already Christian. What I meant by “sharing the Gospel” was more like sharing God’s love. I’ll be sure to make that more clear in the future.

      Thanks again!
      Laura


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