Win-It Wednesday + Cover Stories: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Last week's winner of I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison is... Genevieve! Send me your address, G. (BTW, the final vote count on US vs. UK cover was 22 to 5, with the UK's graphic design crushing the US's photo version!).five flavors.jpgThis week, Antony John (whose first novel, Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player shares a cover model with Siobhan Vivian's second book) is here to talk about his upcoming release (next week!) Five Flavors of Dumb. It has an epic cover, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm also reading it and loooving the book. So, you know, you really want to win this one. Read the Cover Story and weigh in to enter. Here's Antony! "Believe it or not, as I was writing DUMB I didn't have a clue what the cover would look like. I'm sure that's quite unusual, but I simply couldn't imagine a design that would capture the essence and attitude of the novel without looking seriously weird. I mean, the book touches on everything from deafness to rock 'n' roll to family relationships to college funds to secret crushes to self-identity and, uh... chess. What cover could possibly hope to encompass all of that, right? So I just gave up thinking about it altogether. Looking back, it was kind of nice not to have to worry about the cover as well as every other aspect of the novel. "Of course, the flip side of having ZERO input is that I had no clue what the finished cover would look like. My editor, Liz Waniewski, emailed it to me last November, just as friends were arriving, so I got to open it in front of them. Trust me: I wasn't the only one who used a really good expletive to describe it. Then I forwarded it to my wife (even though I wasn't supposed to; I just couldn't resist, you know?) and she wrote back within about seven seconds with a similarly giddy response. Seriously, it was just one of those 'THEY NAILED IT!' moments that you dream about as an author. "My editor then asked if there were any changes I'd like (uh, no), or perhaps minor tweaks (uh... no), or alterations to the font style (uh, let me think about this...NO!). I really wanted to seem engaged and critical, but all I think was, 'Please don't change this cover.' Thankfully, all the sales and marketing people liked it too (as did booksellers), so the whole thing was wrapped up in record time. I owe the designer, Kristin Smith, big time! "I have since discovered that Kristin's approach was similarly unconventional. Apparently, she usually prepares several different 'comps,' but with DUMB, she knew she wanted to evoke the grunge feel of the book through a split-image of band and narrator, so she went all-out on the one design. I know she spent days looking through stock photos until she found the photo of the girl, who conveys Piper's attitude and vibe perfectly. Thankfully, the art director, editor, and publisher all loved her original comp (see below left), and so she was able to dedicate more time to tweaking the lighting, colors, position of the band, font, poster effect, and so on until she arrived at the finished version (below right). 5FlavorsDumbCOMP.jpg five flavors.jpg "I've had almost a year to look at the cover now, and I still adore it. Piper looks so cool and in control--an anchor for all this chaos. Plus, on the finished cover, the title is debossed, which gives it the appearance of a stamp, as though you're about to enter a club. Finally, several people have commented that it looks like a movie poster; and let's be honest, who wouldn't want to have a movie poster on the front of their book? But most of all, I just love the cover's irresistible vibe." Thanks, Antony! Movie poster: Yes. "Anchor for all this chaos": Yes. This cover RULES. I like the cover tweaks, too--from yellows/greens to pinks/grays. (And it's always good to make the author's name stand out more, which it does on the second version.) You can almost feel the light and the sound, but Piper sits cool and collected among it. L-O-V-E. What do you guys think? Comment below to be entered to win a copy of the book! PS-Everyone who "likes" Antony's new Facebook author page automatically gets entered into another contest to win not only a signed copy of DUMB, but also a copy of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON signed by both John Green and David Levithan. So get liking!