I'm a cover design nerd (in case you hadn't guessed) and sometimes it's a font that draws me in. That's the case with Cara Lynn Shultz's debut novel, Spellbound. The surreal images are enticing to, but that font is what really grabbed me.


Here's Cara to talk about her cover: 


"Only after I got my book deal did I start thinking about the cover. I wanted a cover that someone wouldn't be embarrassed to read on the subway—especially as a debut author, I wanted a cover that, for lack of a better word, was cool. My main character, Emma, wears a medieval crest on a chain around her neck that figures heavily into the story. I originally thought the necklace might work well on the cover.  


"I suggested the medallion as well as two scenes in the book that could work for the cover. Harlequin Teen did try the medallion out at first but it didn't turn out well.


Spellbound cover.jpg"The first time I saw the cover, I definitely liked it—it's a blend of two of the more dramatic scenes in the book, so it helped convey moodiness and drama without giving away too much. And it's a little mysterious, a little dark, and the inclusion of the architecture from Central Park sets the stage of the book being in New York.  


"They added some more broken glass, which I thought made the cover really pop. When I saw the finished version, I was really psyched—that's when I was like, 'YES!' The background of the cover is matte, but the shards of glass are shiny and sleek. It's eye-popping in person. I think it's an illustration.


"The more I look at the cover, the more I like how Emma is running into darkness. That definitely plays into the plot of the book—she's running into the unknown (insert horror movie effect: Dun Dun Dunnnn!)"


Thanks, Cara! Moody, dramatic and mysterious are definitely fitting words. And can I say one more thing about that title font? Mesmerizing!


What do you guys think?



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Melissa Walker is the author of five Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy, Lovestruck Summer and the upcoming Small Town Sinners. She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily and the awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot, as well as the blogger for readergirlz.com. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.

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by on ‎07-05-2011 12:45 PM

I like the color scheme, dark, with a bit of light from the bridge going off into the unknown, while taking your eye to the title and girl....with shards of glass spraying the air.  I am assuming the shards come from the lamp on the bridge, but I'm not sure. 


The script of the title is interesting, flowery, not boldly present, but good.  I think that the S should have been a bit larger, bolder, and placing the girl under the "S", between the backward tail of the "P", which would capture the girl's image a bit better, instead of  hiding her behind the lettering.


I always know when a writer is first-time:  Their name is in such small font at the bottom of the cover, you can almost read it.  A dead giveaway.  But, all in all, it's a good cover.



by Blogger Melissa-Walker on ‎07-09-2011 09:02 AM

Love how you spot a first-time author, Kathy. Very true of my first book too!

by on ‎07-09-2011 10:23 AM

Hi Melissa, I have a few authors that I've followed over the years, and that's how I noticed the changes in name size.  Once a writer becomes known, their name usually ends up at the top, or middle of the book, in big, bold letters.  With popular writers, people will buy them no matter the title, or the cover art.


An aside:  I follow Lisa Tucker on Facebook, and she does love to talk about book covers.  We tried to get a discussion going (on a separate discussion page), but in that forum people aren't willing to say more than a few words.  They would rather stay on the main page, and simply say...I like it!  So that ended that.  She just now showed us her new paperback cover of Once Upon A Day, from France.  It is so different from the US cover.  Different countries certainly have different views, concepts, and interpretations.


Anyway, I think it's rather fun to try and figure them out....sometimes you can, sometimes you can't.  I also think moods will effect interpretation, whether you can be objective, or whether it's all an emotional connection - as our emotions change during any given day, or whether you can emote emotion from the art, for the reader..... Any thoughts?  If I have to read a book, before I can see something in the cover, then I don't think the art design was well thought out.  I think so many authors love their covers, because they already know what the story is....but without an objective eye, it can also be lost in obscurity to the unknowing reader.  I think the perfect covers come with collaboration, but that's not always possible.


Okay, thanks for the space, Melissa!  



by Blogger Melissa-Walker on ‎07-12-2011 12:04 PM




I love seeing different countries' takes on cover images. My own Violet series was released in France with the same covers, but they changed the colors up quite a bit (and even changed a character name--they deemed "Roger" too stuffy for the cute guy and changed it to "David," my husband's name, so he was pleased!). 


I definitely agree that state-of-mind affects how you see a book cover. Aren't we all looking for something that calls to us in that particular moment. I'm drawn to a story I might find something of myself in, so covers indicate that for me.


I'm intrigued by your thoughts on authors knowing their stories BEFORE they see the covers and therefore bringing a different eye to the cover--I hadn't pondered that! Next week I'll be showing my own new book cover and giving the designer's take... would love to hear what you think.  


by on ‎07-12-2011 01:13 PM



Changing a name of a character would drive me nuts!  It's bad enough that the covers get changed over the years, from hardcover to paperback, from country to country....after a while, you wonder what in the world some of these artists were thinking.


Here are a few thoughts:


Think about what you write in your story, and think about all of those people out there reading that story, and NOT getting it the way you want them to.  It has nothing to do with a writer's writing (usually) it has to do with what that reader is capable of understanding in those words. 


It's the eye that has to be caught, in the cover, and in the story. Understand that the artist is conveying parts, or a lot, of themselves.  Sometimes hidden so deeply, even they can't see themselves. 


I am surmising-----Covers are not a simple form of art, they are sometimes put together by a multiple of personalities, groups of people who all read differently (if they have read the story at all), and a conglomeration of interpretations can result.  The author, who is the best judge of what the book/story should say to the reader, doesn't always have that choice to choose the art work, but, in saying this, a writer does not always see in a work of visual art, as what a trained aritist can see.


It's a mixed bag to interpret cover art....and that's about all I know. 



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