"I always knew that I didn't want the full face of my main character to be shown on the cover. As a reader and book reviewer, I understand how important a book cover is. The covers I'm most drawn to are ones which display a partial identity (Gossip Girl, I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You, etc). I think this is because it looks trendy and modern, while not giving away the whole look of your main character. I think this is important for the reader, because then they can really create the final look of the character in their own imaginations.
"I really wanted the character to have a very strong pose on the cover, too, so when I was looking for images, that was especially important to me. I always pictured my main character's hands on her hips, looking very super-hero-esque and strong; a pose that would convey to the reader that she's very powerful.
"Lastly, I wanted to find a picture that showed the character in an outfit that my main character would wear--and that had to include red pumps. In Life's a Witch, Hadley is obsessed with fashion and thinks that a great pair of heels is the answer to any situation. Her favorite color is red--which is very important to the storyline--so I knew I had to have that element in there, as well.
"I never pictured the cover shot as being black and white, but after I saw this photo, I kept thinking about how great and dramatic it was. When my designer said she could turn the shoes in the picture red, I knew I'd found my shot.
"I was so lucky to have had my very talented designer friend, Toni Misthos, create my cover. She's read a lot of my books, so when I asked her if she'd design my book cover, she didn't hesitate.
"She was only able to read part of Life's a Witch before she designed the cover though, since it wasn't done yet at the time, but I told her what I was looking for and the general storyline. At this point, we both started searching through stock photography for a specific type of girl and came up with about a dozen shots to choose from. In the end, we kept going back to the one we ended up choosing.
"Toni always knew that designing my book cover was my thing, and because we'd worked together (she was the art director at the magazine I work for), she understood that I'm very opinionated and picky, so she didn't really try to fight me on anything. But as far as the font for the cover and placement, I let her choose that. She gave me a few options and in the end we chose the one we both liked most.
"I offered to pay her, but we ended up with an even trade. She's back in school and needed someone to proofread her papers before she turned them in, so I agreed to do that as a way to pay her back. It was a win/win (although I may have gotten the better end of this deal)! Since then, Toni's designed my second book cover as well. She's a genius at art design. If anyone's interested in a professional-looking cover and doesn't mind spending a little bit of money, they should check her out at fotinimisthos.com.
"The first time I saw my finished cover, I thought, 'Man, that's hot!' Ha! But really, I felt that it was classy and sassy, dramatic and powerful, just like my main character. I was so proud of the way my book was portrayed visually. I'm actually still impressed by it today, but then again, I'm a little biased.
"Because I was so heavily involved with the design of the cover from the beginning, there weren't a whole lot of suggestions I had to make throughout the process. Toni knows me and my tastes so well, that she zeroed in on what I wanted right away.
"The cover didn't really change much from version one to the version my fans see today. But the final product was definitely different than my original concept. That's to be expected though, when you're not doing your own original photography...you sort of have to settle for the closest thing to your vision. "The photo was definitely a stock photo. I actually went on istock.com (a site we use for stock photography at work) and searched through their files. The image I chose wasn't exactly cheap, and later on, I had to purchase a much bigger file (this equals more money) of the photo to ensure that I was covered if I needed to do any promotional stuff with it later. Good thing, too, because I'm using the same image now for the print version of Life's a Witch.
"I really love my cover! But then again, I was super-involved in designing it, so there's nothing for me to complain about. I get so many compliments on it today and I really feel like it showcases the book perfectly. There's no doubt in my mind that having a smart-looking, enticing cover has helped pull in potential readers."
Thanks, Brittany. I really like the cover (I'm a fan of that style, too, as my Violet books have that type of feel, as well as the black and white with a pop of color thing...), and I think the image is strong.
What do you guys think?