Category Archives: Book Covers


Okay, so it’s come up on this blog a few times, but my degree is in design. To be more specific, cover design. More specific still, typography. So I’m a bit of a type geek.

And to be honest, I’ve always gravitated more toward the aesthetic of adult literary covers because of their use of typography. Much as I love the content of YA, cover-wise it hasn’t been one for playing with type (I am making generalizations here, and of course there are exceptions).

And I get it.

I get that it has to appeal to teens (not JUST teens) and the best way to do that is a photographic cover (especially one with a dead girl in a dress, apparently). The vast majority of YA covers, even the GORGEOUS ones, don’t play with type. They pick a nice, solid font, and place it front and center. Sometimes they add swirls, or a bit of filigree…:

…but it’s fairly safe. Lovely, but static. I picked three covers for popular upcoming titles, but the MAJORITY of books out there–fantasy and realism alike, though I’ve noticed there’s MORE willingness to play in realism–will fit the mold. The key is, there’s little to no interaction between the type and the image (have you seen Zombieland? That’s an AMAZING example of the type interacting with the environment). And that’s okay, it’s a balancing act. The type is there to be lovely without overshadowing the image. And I like them.

But I LOVE typographically active covers. Which is why I’m SO, SO, SO happy to see a handful of YA covers going in that direction!!!

I don’t know what’s guiding this. I suspect it’s publishers wanting to generate more crossover appeal, though I suppose it could be a genuine interest in exploring typographic potential, but whatever it is, I LOVE IT.

So this is my plea to cover designers, publishers, and the people who make the big decisions: be daring! I’m not saying to get rid of the dead girls/girls in dresses, I’m just saying I’d LOVE to see this kind of thing continue!!

ETA: Megan Crewe showed me THIS LINK to an awesome list on GR!


TEA TIME is my brand new interview series!

That sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it? Does it make you want a scone? Some finger sandwiches? Now I’m hungry…

Anyway, I am lucky enough to kick things off with awesometastic (I don’t know WHY WordPress insists that isn’t a word) Rebecca Maizel, author of the incredible INFINITE DAYS.

First, before we even begin, LOOK AT THE COVER.

You know how I feel about covers. This is one I even mention in my cover art vlog. And and and INFINITE DAYS officially comes out TOMORROW!!

For the full pitch, head on over to the GoodReads page! Or, you can read another one over on the Amazon page. But be sure to come back!

Now, onto the interview!


1. Hey Rebecca, thanks for kicking off the Tea Time series! Give us the essence of INFINITE DAYS in as few words as possible.

The essence…hmm. I would say when you sit down to read Infinite Days, Lenah will make you feel, awake. Everything is new to her, even the smell of cookies and coffee. Oh, woops. This isn’t a few words. I stink at this.

Okay, take two:

The moment right before you kiss. Those seconds right before the lips touch – that’s what Infinite Days feels like.

2. Oh, well put! Now tell us a bit about YOU.

Former bartender. Former radio DJ. Bichon Frise LOVER (my dog Louie is a person, I swear.) Favorite items include: my printer, Stop and Shop seltzer water, coffeeeeeeee and very pointy pens. Purple ink or black.

3. Mmmm pens. I do love pens. Pilot V5 Precise are so nice too….Oh, sorry! So, the journey is different for everyone, so much so that I don’t think there is a normal path to publication. Give us a glimpse into yours.

It took me eight months to write, ID. It came out of a very visceral place, a place that commanded that I write Lenah’s story. I queried a publisher looking for unsolicited manuscripts. The agent came next. It was backwards but I’m a firm believer that a well written query can open the doors to publication.

ID wasn’t my first book, I wrote a lot of fiction and creative work before IDays. That’s the thing, you need to keep writing every day. You need to believe that the piece you are working on matters, even if no one ever sees it.

4. What has been your favorite part of the publication process?

Writing. Lame answer, I know. But seriously! That I get to wake up every day and write is an amazing, amazing, thing. I’ll never get over how incredible it feels.

5. What was your favorite part of writing ID?

When Lenah’s voice came to me for the first time. I couldn’t write fast enough, I couldn’t get her words onto the page quick enough!

6. Villains. Really, what more do I need to say? They rock. Give me your favorite villain.

Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter # 5. I have never wanted to jump through a book and THROTTLE someone so badly.

7. YES. YES A THOUSAND TIMES UMBRIDGE HAUNTS MY DREAMS WITH KITTEN PLATES… Okay, most important question of all. Favorite kind of cupcake?

ANYTHING buttercream. Or chocolate. Chocolate buttercream!?

Mmmm, delicious.

And a delicious book, kids. Go forth and purchase!

If you have ANY comments or questions for miss Maizel, she has agreed to answer them, so post them in the comments section!

Tagged ,

“All books are pretty in their own way, like babies!”

Let’s talk book covers.

First, you should know:

I technically have a degree in design, with a specialty in typography and book design. Yep. Right industry, wrong position!

This might be the WORST thing to have a degree in if you want to be a writer!!! Because, to answer the question I get asked a BAZILLION* times a week, by both ex-classmates and random passerbys, NO, I DO NOT GET TO DESIGN MY COVER. Really. I swear.

Anyway, this week on the YA Rebels, we’re talking about book covers. And I had to decide, do I go all serious and analytical, or do I go playful? As you can probably tell by the title of this post, as well as the vlog itself, I chose the latter.

But I want to add a short list of (my very subjective) thoughts regarding successful covers…

-Cover should say something about the book. Even if the cover makes more sense after reading, I want it to give me a hint, an inclination of what the book involves.

-Cover should take advantage of type. This is an OFTEN-missed opportunity and it makes my heart sad.

-Cover should not be cluttered.

-Cover should be memorable. I love covers that plant some seed in your mind, some recognizable element that stays with you and then when you see it again, you go OH!

-Covers should try something, take a risk, be playful, and be confident. By this I mean, I don’t like seeing covers that follow in other book’s footsteps because it’s a formula, and “it works”.

-Covers should stand out…BUT should not do so at the detriment of the above factors. Meaning, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH should probably not be HOT PINK, even if HOT PINK would make it stand out. Shameless gimmick = Sad Victoria. And most likely sad author.**

What do YOU think? What makes a cover good? Do you have any favorites? Do you know WHY you like those covers?

*Perhaps a slight exaggeration.

**Please keep in mind that the author almost never has say, and their words will be “clothed” with a cover they most likely didn’t pick. Meaning, we don’t have control over the first impression (and that is scary). I think almost all authors would like their cover to reflect their book’s content or mood, at least a LITTLE.