Melissa Walker

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 Melissa Walker

As you know if you read this blog, I’m kind of into covers. So when it comes to the subject of my own covers, I feel especially, um, assertive. I like to give inspiration images, write random things down, and generally insert myself to a point that might be annoying.

When my editor Caroline asked me if I had any cover ideas for Small Town Sinners, I sent her this email:

“I’m going to attach some images and give a little explanation of why they’re in the mix for me.

“If we show LACEY: I picture her sort of like an early Sissy Spacek:


“The FEEL: I love the late sunset, dusty, small-town feel of the NYLON cover, the ‘portrait’ (really small, sorry), and that GUARDIAN ANGELS book. The color and tone of these images is really appealing to me.

**I do really love the close-up on one girl kind of cover, and an American gothic 70s feel seems right to me.

“Another Layout thought: The JAMAICA INN cover is a little random, but the grouping of the figures over this ‘town,’the way it’s laid out, appeals to me too, if we were to show a few characters and maybe some hint of Hell House (not sure how to do this!). OR Totally different direction: The Valley of the Dolls cover is obviously very graphic with text, but I do really like it, and I can see something like this working for Small Town Sinners just because the title feels geometric to me somehow, if that makes sense.”

Caroline wrote back to me and said, “We’re definitely on the same page. The first thing that had come to my mind was the description of Lacey from chapter one and the idea of showing her in sort of a dusty sunlight—perhaps a light coming from behind that feels almost spiritual?”

The first version they sent me blew me away! But I felt like the coloring might make the girl seem a little dead (left) so the art department agreed to brighten it for the final (right). Now I love noticing that there’s a sun spot in the lens–it’s on the bottom right of this close-up (you kind of have to see it in person) and I adore that detail!


Also, I just noticed that the apple bite got bigger (and better, I think)! Remember to enter the apple bite contest to try to win a copy of the book.

So in the end we got a gorgeous cover that went with the first idea and I’m so glad that everyone was really into that concept! I have an interview with the cover designer and then one the photographer of that shot coming next week in Parts 2 and 3 of this Cover Story (you know I have to milk my own!).

What do you guys think of the small changes, the original ideas, etc? I’d love to hear!

Release is just a week away! Yay! Pre-order from your local bookstore or amazon or or anywhere and I will be super happy!

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  1. Bee says:

    I love reading stories behind covers, especially the ones you carry on your blog. And I really liked the Small Town Sinners cover as soon as it came out, so it was great hearing your inputs behind it.
    I don’t like saying it, but covers have a tendency to turn me to or away from a book, so good covers are always such a boon.

  2. Ashley says:

    I just love the lighting… I think it’s good that they brightened it up. And the bigger heart looks better, too, I think.

    That’s so awesome that you guys were on the same page and you were able to get some of your ideas incorporated. =)

  3. Lauren says:

    Wow – it’s so neat how they took all of your suggestions, and came up with the beautiful cover!

  4. capillya says:

    Woohoo, 3 part series! If I got design/inspirational pieces from a client it’d take everything I had to NOT want to kiss them! So often I only hear of what people DON’T like when it comes to design, and rarely the opposite of what they do (especially in the prep stage). So glad they took your suggestions into consideration, and of course it’s an awesome cover. =)

  5. I like the brighter image better, too. And just a touch bigger on the apple makes so much of a distance! I think the cover came out very nicely <3

  6. The bigger apple heart really stands out…and I love the lighter image, it just looks so much nicer :)

  7. [...] more backstory on how the Small Town Sinners cover came to be, go here.  And for more information on Melissa and her many books, visit her website. bookmark entry | [...]

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