Cover Stories: 3 by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lauren Baratz-Logsted has a bunch of new e-books out, and with them come new covers! Here she is to talk about three: "Along with my husband Greg Logsted and our daughter Jackie, I created The Sisters 8 series (read some previous Cover Stories) for young readers ages 6-10 that launched in 2008. The ninth book was published this fall and even though the series has sold nearly 200,000 copies to date, the publisher has no intention of continuing at this time. And yet daily, I get emails from kids, asking for more books in the series; and those kids keep getting older with each day that passes. So, I decided to launch my own series, this time for 8-12-year-olds!

Cover 16Here’s the description of Book 1: GUYS AGAINST THE GIRLS:

There's trouble at Hat City Middle School! This first volume in an exciting new series by the author of the popular Sisters 8 series introduces readers to the six guys and six girls who make up a special class at Hat City Middle School. When a substitute teacher says something she shouldn't, the girls are outraged. Then their regular teacher makes matters worse, and everyone is outraged. Soon the guys and girls are facing off about everything, but will it end in victory or disaster? Told in alternating first-person plural viewpoints, GUYS AGAINST THE GIRLS is as original in its execution as any middle-grade novel out there today.

The cover for this was created by Griffin Ced. I said I wanted a red buzzer somewhere on the cover – because a red buzzer figures prominently in the storyline – and possibly some equations, since math is a great source of conflict in the book, and this is what he come up with. I love the way the school is literally splitting in two from the conflict and there’s my red buzzer, right over the entryway.

Here’s the description for Book 2 in the Hat City Middle School Series: ROBBIE KNIGHTLEY:

Cover 5aA modern-day Dennis the Menace, Robbie Knightley stumbles through life annoying the next-door neighbor, frustrating his teachers and perplexing his parents, who can't quite understand why he's so different than his six older sisters. When Robbie opens his Christmas presents prematurely without remorse for the second year running, his parents consult his therapist grandfather and Robbie hears his parents say they think there's something wrong with him, something missing. Robbie decides he'll get by in life by keeping his mouth shut and avoiding spending too much time with other people. But when a five-day class trip is unexpectedly moved up and he can't get out of it, Robbie fears the worst: that his friends will see him for who he really is, a boy with something missing.

"This time, I was a little more specific in my desires. I said I wanted a school bus stranded in a snowstorm and this is what Christiana Miller, working with Griffin Ced, came up with. Yes, I asked for a stranded school bus, but I never envisioned all these extras they gave me, like the icicles hanging from the top, framing it.

Jane2Last, but not least, JANE’S WORLD:

In 2003, The Thin Pink Line, a dark comedy about a sociopathic Londoner who fakes an entire pregnancy, was published. It was released in 11 countries and received a starred Kirkus review with Publishers Weekly calling it "hilarious and original"; a sequel, Crossing the Line, followed. Now, with the publication of JANE'S WORLD, four of the standout characters from those books - ditsy receptionist Constance; beleaguered blond bombshell editor Dodo; penny-pinching and bottom-pinching Stan from Accounting; and adorable baby Emma - all get to finally tell their sides of the story of what it's like being in the orbit of crazy Jane Taylor. No matter who's talking, it's always JANE'S WORLD.

"A couple of pieces of items you should know: The Thin Pink Line was indeed originally published in 2003 and, according to my most recent royalty statement, has sold over 172,000 copies worldwide to date. A few years ago, when Amazon had its Amazon Shorts program going, these stories were sold there as individual pieces. Then that program folded and they returned to living solely on my hard drive. But once again, through the wonders of e-publishing, they’re together, only this time as a single set. Back when The Thin Pink Line and its sequel, Crossing the Line, were published, I dreamed of doing a series of stories based on the characters. I wanted to call it Jane’s World and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. I told Rachel Cole at Littera Book Designs about my vision and this is what she gave me: exactly what I wanted.

"Three books, three different covers, three different designers. Through listening to what I wanted – and sometimes knowing what I wanted even when I didn’t know! – I ended up with all of this.

"So, I know what I think of these covers – love, love, love and love. Now what do you think?"

Thanks, Lauren! I always think it's interesting when authors work on covers themselves. Jane's World is my favorite of these three, maybe because I'm drawn to older-reader covers.

What do you guys think?