Elizabeth LaBan's first novel, The Tragedy Paper, has shades of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why  and John Green's Looking for Alaska. Its snowy cover is perfect for a winter debut--it's out January 8th. Here's Elizabeth to tell us about the cover process: 

"The book takes place at a prep school in New York that was, in my mind, based on a school I went to for my last two years of high school. I guess I imagined the cover would be an image of the school – maybe the quad or one of the buildings. Now that I think about it, I didn’t have a strong picture of what the cover would be while I was writing the book. That strikes me as funny, in light of one of the questions I answered at the back of the book. I was asked about the initial idea for The Tragedy Paper, which led me to talk about how I have wanted to write a book since I was in fourth grade. At that time, I worked with a friend and we created a character named Chopped Suey – but all we ever did was design and redesign the cover! So I guess it says a lot about my progress as a writer that I was finally able to get away from that and focus on the words!

"I knew there were a few covers in the works, but I was not brought in to talk about it until there were two possible designs. I have to say, I’m glad about that because I never could have come up with this cover – and now I can’t imagine any other image on the front of the book. I would love to give a shout out to the jacket designer Stephanie Moss!

"I was shown two covers. The one that was ultimately chosen was the one I liked best and, to be perfectly honest, I liked it immediately. I still think about the second cover sometimes, the one that was not chosen. It showed a boy walking across a snowy field toward a building that was supposed to be The Irving School but, to me, it was not the school that I had in mind. The building looked more like an intriguing rundown mansion. There was a slightly pinkish tone to that cover – very different from the snowy blue we went with. I liked that, but worried it might appeal more to girls than to both boys and girls – which is who I hope will buy the book. It was a beautiful cover, but not the cover The Tragedy Paper was meant to have. There is no question that this is the perfect cover for the book. I still feel excited every time I see it.

Tragedy Paper"This is the first time that I’ve gone through this process – so I am not sure what is typical and what isn’t - but I felt completely included in the final decision of which cover would be used. My editor, Erin Clarke, was very interested in my opinion of the two covers that were presented – and ultimately went with the one my agent, Uwe Stender, and I preferred (that might have just been a coincidence but I felt good about it).

"The basic premise has remained the same, but the title is now more readable than it initially was. Also, I have not yet seen the final book – I have seen only the ARCs which are soft cover. The book will be hard cover and I think, if I understand this correctly, there will be some parts with a matte finish, and then shiny water marks to make the snow come to life. I can’t wait to see the final book!

"I don’t want to give too much away, but in many ways this scene on the cover is what everything is leading up to. Readers know pretty quickly that something happened on a snowy night, so I love the idea that this image is with them while they are reading the book. Once the book is out there, if readers do see any hidden meaning in the cover, I would love it if they shared it with me."

Thanks, Elizabeth! I think the blue fits the tone of the story perfectly, and I especially love the blurry snowflakes in the foreground of the photo.


What do you guys think of this cover?



Melissa Walker is the author of six Young Adult novels, the latest of which is Unbreak My Heart (pictured). Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com. Follow her on Twitter @melissacwalker.


Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!



0 Kudos
About Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
Unabashedly Bookish features new articles every day from the Book Clubs staff, guest authors, and friends on hot topics in the world of books, language, writing, and publishing. From trends in the publishing business to updates on genre fiction fan communities, from fun lessons on grammar to reflections on literature in our personal lives, this blog is the best source for your daily dose of all things bookish.


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.