Melissa Walker

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 Melissa Walker

Brittany Geragotelis shared her Cover Story for Life’s a Witch last year, and she’s back now that her books are with Simon & Schuster (and getting royal cover treatment). Here’s the tale:

“I think I always imagined a girl being on the cover, though I’ve always been partial to covers that only showcase part of a character’s features. I think this jump-starts the imagination and allows the reader to picture the rest on their own.”I wanted something that stood out, that was magical, that showed the essence of the book and drew the reader’s eye. A cover’s so important to whether someone picks up a book or not. I wanted a cover that someone walking by in the book store had to stop in their tracks and look at.

“I have to say that Simon & Schuster was really great about coming to me for my ideas before they designed the cover for my book What the Spell? They asked me who I pictured as my main character, Brooklyn (I loved Chloe Grace Moretz and Leven Rambin). They asked me if there were any objects or artistic ways to showcase things that happen in the book.

“Past that, it was the genius of my art director who conceptualized the cover, chose the model, ran the shoot and chose the images that we ended up going with. Once they had a rough draft of what they were thinking of, I was able to see it and give my input. The sales team took a look and asked for some changes and after a few more rounds, we had our cover!

“The first time I saw my cover  I was impressed with how closely the model resembled who I pictured as my main character. The model was gorgeous, and actually ended up wearing an outfit on the cover that I had the character wear in the book. Her mannerisms were even spot-on.

“But I have to admit, at first, I was like…hmmm, a white cover? But then my editor explained that it was going to be an opaque-white that faded into silver. And everything would be foil, so it would literally pop! That was the HOT factor that I’d always been dreaming of for my cover. Once I heard that, I was totally psyched.”My editor did ask for my opinion and I think they listened to me and took how I felt into consideration. But ultimately, there are dozens of hands that are involved in creating a book. So my opinion wasn’t the only valid one of the bunch. I was pretty happy with the cover from the beginning, but when everyone else put their feelings in the mix, I think we ended up with a much more fantastic product in the end.”I always felt like I was in good hands with the art department. I had the luxury of meeting my art director beforehand (the awesome part of living in NYC and being able to visit the S&S office whenever I need to) and I think we established a great rapport before she got started. She also read some of the book before starting, so I think she really GOT who Brooklyn was, as well as the feel of the story. There were only a few notes I had, but I think, even with those, we were all on the same page.

“The design changed a bit, but the concept was always the same. Fonts were switched, placement of the title and my byline changed, as well as the color for the words. Also, in the first version, Brooklyn was more close-up than the full-length shot we ended up going with. And of course….there was the addition of the foil that brought it all home!

“It was shot with models. And the thing that I thought was REALLY cool, was that they shot the covers for all three of my books at the same time. So, they had two models there: one for Brooklyn and one for Hadley, who’s the main character for my first book in the series, Life’s a Witch (What the Spell? is the prequel to Life’s a Witch). So, even though the other two covers haven’t been finalized, I’ve seen how the books will look as a series, and I’ve got to say, it’s something really special. I think the model for What the Spell? was gorgeous (don’t you agree?) and did a great job capturing the vibe of Brooklyn.

“In the end, I love it. I love the look of the series as a whole. I think the model was perfect and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the book pops on bookshelves. I was at a bookstore the other day and took a picture of the paranormal romance section. And you know what I noticed? There wasn’t a single white or light-colored cover among the bunch. Everything was dark–blacks and reds and blues. My covers are going to be brighter, they’ll stand out and even though there’s no lack of darkness in my stories (What the Spell? is about a girl who comes into her witchy powers and decides to use her newfound magical skills to infiltrate the popular group at school, bewitch the guy of her dreams and try to avoid the trouble that seems to follow her everywhere she goes), it’s actually really very funny and light at times. My editor describes it as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Bring it On and I think this cover captures that.”

Thanks, Brittany! I think there’s something very cheeky about this cover–it definitely speaks to the humor in the book–and I can’t wait to see a hard copy with the silver fade and foil. Love those details.

AND, I should mention that the book is coming out in 3 e-book installments (beginning last week, check out the first one!), and then will hit bookstores in hardback nationwide on January 15, 2013.

PS-Hold the phone! Stop the presses! This cover has CHANGED. The new one is the one you see at right, and here’s what Brittany has to say about it: “The truth is, the original cover we had was beautiful. The model was gorgeous and I loved the simplicity of it. BUT we knew we could kick things up a notch and make WTS? something truly magical.” Read her full blog post about the changes.

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Brittany Geragotelis‘ novel, available December 8th, is a YA retelling of the Salem Witch Trials, and it has been read like a bazillion times since being posted on wattpad.com. She’s publishing the book herself (read a little about that) and she had a huge hand in the cover design, which is what she’s on the blog to talk about.

Here’s Brittany:

“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 GirlI’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?

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