Cover Stories: Frenemies and Faketastic, by Alexa Young

The fabulous and funny Alexa Young released Frenemies #2: Faketastic this month, and she's here to share her cover story--it's a doozy (and one of my favorites!).FrenemiesCoverDesign1.jpg "I had an idea in mind for the cover of FRENEMIES, but only because my editor sent me some of the early cover concepts a designer had been working on. I loved them--especially one with two separate pairs of girls all over the cover, and the cool bedazzled font. I especially liked how there weren't just two characters representing 'frenemies' but that there were four girls, leaving the reader to decide which of them--if any--were supposed to represent the characters in the book. "I was never asked for, nor did I ever offer, any cover design ideas. Alloy (a book packager) came up with the initial concept for the series and the preliminary designs (hence the author name in that pic--I hadn't been hired to write the books yet!). I just figured they already had a vision for how the series should look. I'd coauthored one nonfiction project in the past and had a TON of input into how that book looked--but that was with an independent publisher and it was nonfiction. My assumption--accurate or not--was that I was just supposed to focus on the writing and let the industry veterans handle everything else on this one. :-) "I think the first mock-up had stock images of supermodels. (I'm pretty sure I recognize at least one of them from a runway show.) But the girls who appear on the covers of FRENEMIES and FAKETASTIC and on the website were all models that were shot specifically for the series. (The dog on the website is actually my dog-niece--my brother and sister-in-law's dog, Leona!) FrenemiesCover.jpg "This is going to sound HORRIBLE, but I wasn't all that happy with the cover of FRENEMIES the first time I saw it. Let me immediately follow that up by saying that I'm the kind of person who doesn't like ANYTHING at first. My husband makes fun of me for this all the time. I take a really long time to warm up to things. I'm not terribly good at adapting to new people, situations--anything! That said, it was difficult to see something that was pretty different from what I'd been shown initially, except for the bedazzled font which I loved. The hardest part was seeing a photographic representation of these characters who had only existed on the page and in my head. When I saw that Halley had the wrong eye color and they both had certain physical features that didn't match my description or vision, that was really hard! "By the time I saw the cover, it was pretty much on its way to the printer, so I didn't have an opportunity to comment or suggest any changes. But once I got used to the look of the cover and I showed it to some other people who liked it, I began to embrace it. I realized that the models weren't supposed to be literal representations of the characters in the book but rather representations of the concept--two best friends who become worst enemies. I do love the beachy feel of both the FRENEMIES and FAKETASTIC covers. I love the colors. 9780061175701.jpg "And, as much as I loved the step-back/keyhole cover for FRENEMIES, ultimately I'm glad they decided to change that for FAKETASTIC. I think it's much cleaner and eye-catching with the full cover image of the girls--and I like that it's two new models, which sort of reinforces the fact that these are all just sets of 'frenemies,' not specifically HALLEY and AVALON. I do feel like these girls don't look nearly as fashion-forward as they should. (But I don't look nearly as fashion-forward as I should, either! :-) "Of course, the cover that wins--hands-down--for me is the FRENCH cover: MeilleuresEnnemies1.jpg.jpgMeilleuresEnnemies2.jpg.jpg "I love every last detail of it: The way the girls look super-stylish (especially the shoes)--but in very different ways from each other; the fact that they look very much like they're described in the book (with the right eye colors!); the subtle destructive images of bombs and skulls-and-crossbones; the way Halley is sticking pins into an Avalon voodoo doll and Avalon is drawing a picture of Halley as a pig (even though Halley is the artist--that might be one tiny change I would have made). "I seriously could not love this cover more. I can't wait to see what FAKETASTIC looks like--and what the title for that winds up being. I'm hoping they call it FAUXTASTIQUE! The book doesn't come out in France until June, so we'll have to wait a bit to find out all the details on that." This is a great cover story, Alexa! Lots of drama, emotion and sparkle--just like in the books! Also, on the keyhole cover thing (you know I love me some keyhole covers), bookseller E. Kristin Anderson explains that they're sometimes evil on the shelves. So what do you guys think of these covers? I'm with Alexa--the French ones are tres jolie! PS-Still time to enter to win a copy of Violet in Private from Harmony! (And she's also hosting a contest to win Jessica Burkhart's debut, Take the Reigns.)