First of all, I want to take a moment to thank Linds from Bibliophile Brouhaha and Nic from Irresistible Reads as well as Kirsty Eagar for putting together this event. Raw Blue remains one of my very favorite books, and I cannot wait to read more from Kirsty!
You know when you see the 'one'. It peers at you from its place on the shelf as you creep around the corner. You see its design, take in its font as it mesmorizes you with the promise of what's inside.
Oh, book covers, where would our book lust be without you?
In honor of Kirsty Eagar Appreciation Week, I thought I'd take a look at what makes the covers of Kirsty's Eagar's books tick, along with comments from the some of the people behind them!
Thoughts from the designer, Tony Palmer:
I always felt a strong sense of presence of the main character in Raw Blue . . . but I also wanted to get some kind of tension on the cover. Something that might indicate the main character’s back story. The publisher’s brief was pretty strong on this point as well.
For Raw Blue I wanted to tap into the surf culture – but I didn’t want to go too deep and brand the book as being a product of that culture (because Raw Blue is much more than that). I dug around the local newsagency looking at surf magazines. I had some ideas and eventually several fonts I liked.
Probably the hardest thing about design is selling it. Firstly I have to believe in what I’m doing, then I have to get the Art Director to like it. After that, I have to show the editor and the publisher and after that (Gawd) a small, select number of covers goes to a ‘cover meeting’ held by the various publishing, marketing and sales directors, and after that (Gawd, Gawd, Gawd) we then show the author (who usually shows it to their spouse, dog and butcher) . . .
The cover of Raw Blue was a little tricky, but not too bad. All of my ideas about tension were thrown out, and I had to go back for a second round of research. I think the tension idea was becoming too cerebral, and maybe just a little too smart for its own good. But on the second round of searching for images I came across the image of the girl. It felt perfect. Just couldn’t get past it. Adding in the background and colourising the images was the final stage.
**special thanks to Kirsty Eagar for allowing us to repost from her blog entry Book design – the process…**
*cover by designer Marina Messiha*
Thoughts from Penguin Australia Senior Editor Amy Thomas, who first developed ideas on what the cover should look like:
I have to admit that I got completely carried away with my brief for this cover. The main thing that I wanted to emphasise was that we needed something suggestive of the story without being a cliché. The strengths of this book are its originality and Australianness – it weaves in the savage mutiny of the Batavia that took place off the coast of WA with a plot that involves vampires and very authentic, funny, likeable teen characters from an Australian coastal town, who are all gearing up for the town’s music festival.
I’m actually a little bit embarrassed when I look at my specific ideas now! Basically these were meant just as a springboard for Marina to come up with her own interpretation. In the end, the final cover is quite different and far more arresting than I could ever have imagined it would be; this is one of the wonderful and satisfying things about the whole cover process. It really is a lot of fun!
What can I say? As soon as I saw it, I had chills down my spine. I just love, love, love how Jamie’s eyes really draw you in – they mesmerise you – and this reflects some important scenes in the book, too (Jamie in front of the mirror; Jamie running through the bush), so that really pleased me. It was one of those moments where you just say, ‘Wow!’ In that instant I knew we had our cover.
And thoughts from author Kirsty Eagar:
What's so cool about the cover process is that it gives you someone else's interpretation of the story and the characters, and while their perception is different to yours, it's equally true. It means you get to see the whole thing from a different angle. In a way, knowing the back story made me anxious after the event! And that's because the final cover is the perfect cover, and I'm SO glad that Marina kept going until it was developed. I am never, ever going to forget the reaction I had when I first saw it. I felt winded. Just gobsmacked. Not only did it capture the story, but it also inspired me – it seemed to encapsulate everything about where I wanted to go with my writing. All that in just one arresting image!"
**special thanks to Between the Lines, Penguin Australia's site for teen readers, for graciously allowing us to repost from their two features How a Book Becomes a Cover, Parts I and II (p.s. part II has examples of great early concepts for Saltwater Vampires).**
*cover by designer Marina Messiha*
I personally adore this cover. From a design standpoint I think it's beautifully executed, the muted blacks and grays giving it soft quality that makes you want to reach out and touch it just to see if any texture meets your fingertips. While the image of the girl merged with the waves down is simple, there's still a great deal of movement created with her tangled hair and the splash of the water which automatically draws the eye to it.
The entire cover to me has an eerie but romantic feel, making me want to step into this world while simultaneously warning me to stay out of it. I can't wait to get my hands on this one, this cover needs to be proudly displayed on my shelf!
Thanks to Linds, Nic and Kirsty I have a signed copy of Saltwater Vampires to give away on the blog today! To enter, just leave a comment on this post with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on Wednesday, September 7th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!