The awesome Barry Lyga is here today, sharing the Cover Story for his just-released sequel to The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising. (He's also giving away some insanely cool Goth Girl minimates! Read on for details...) Here's Barry!
"For my cover, I had an idea that, in retrospect, is one of those things that sounds cool, but wouldn't work. My idea was to co-opt the cover to the first book, but reverse it: Red lips on a black background for the hardcover, then blue lips on a black background for the paperback. It totally makes sense from a story point of view, but now I think it's too cutesy.
[Here are the first book's covers, hardcover (left) and paperback:]
"Speaking of that first book: I had some strong ideas for that one, to the point where I even had a friend of mine mock one up. Houghton politely declined it and commissioned Jon Gray to produce the kick-ass cover we ended up with (way above). I have never in my life been so happy to be proven wrong!
"Houghton has always consulted with me about covers, which I really, really appreciate. Like I said, they weren't too keen on my original idea (which I don't blame them for). So they sent me three or four different cover designs, all based on the same general aesthetic. I wasn't thrilled with any of them. There was nothing WRONG with them; they just didn't seem like the cover to my book, you know? "We went back and forth a few times and my problem was that I just couldn't articulate what I didn't like or what I wanted to see instead. So I just resigned myself to having a cover I didn't like. I told my agent this and she spoke to my editor on my behalf, explaining I wasn't happy with the covers and offering some suggestions of her own.
"The next thing I knew - I mean literally within hours - my editor sent along the photo that ended up becoming the cover. The instant I saw it, I fell immediately and irretrievably in love. I think the first thing I said was, 'Oh my God! Kyra is real and they found a picture of her!' It turns out to be a stock photo that my editor found just by poking around. It was just a massive chunk of serendipity dropped into our laps.
"They took that picture and did two versions of the cover, one of which ended up being the final cover. The other one was just as good, in my estimation, and had a big black block sort of weighing her down and closing her in. In the end, though, the model is just so damn striking, her eyes so haunting, that everyone agreed that it was best to show her as big as possible.
"I think the only thing I asked was if we could Photoshop in Kyra's facial piercings - her lip ring and nose stud. The art department gave it the old college try, but it just didn't look right. It looked, well, like someone had Photoshopped in that stuff. So my feeling - and what I tell fans - is that Kyra just decided to take them out the day that picture was taken.
"It's really so perfect that the piercings, to me, are a minor issue.
"Now that I've seen the actual, physical cover, I love it even more. I love the font, the raised type, the shiny lipstick. I love the details, the little elegant graphics that wrap around the spine. It's my favorite of the covers I've had so far. If you could marry a book cover, I'd be on my honeymoon right now."
I agree that the final cover is truly striking -- her eyes are kind of boring into my soul, and I love the violet hues. What do you guys think? How do you think it compares to the first book's covers?
Oh! Also, you can read a deleted scene from Goth Girl Rising here. (I love it when authors share these. I hope I have a deleted scene that's worth posting one day!)
For more on how to win a mini-mate (I have one, and I love her), see Barry's Share the Love Contest. Thanks, Barry!