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Book Jackets

The Most Common Mistake Made by Self-Published Book Cover Designers

As self-published books multiply, a new generation of amateur designers are working on their own book covers. We attended the inaugural day of the  Blurb Pop-Up store in New York City (pictured) this afternoon, covering  the “Compelling Cover Design Workshop.” Designer Alan Rapp shared the most common mistake he saw amateur cover designers make–lack of experimentation.

He explained: “One of the tendencies that people have–I don’t even know if I would call it a mistake–is to be too conservative with topography. At publishing houses, when designers are submitting book designs, they don’t present one idea. They present at least three to five ideas. It manifests something that’s latent, something you didn’t imagine. What I like about Blurb is you can do that kind of experiment. I can do a number of versions, and I can see how they will feel.”

If you want more book cover deign resources, check out our collection of book cover resources for self-published authors. We also encourage self-published authors to RSVP for our Book Pitch Party on November 3rd.

Charlotte’s Web Cover Fetches High Price at Auction

Garth Williams‘ original graphite-and-ink cover for the E.B. White classic, Charlotte’s Web sold for $155k at auction. Altogether, 17 bids were made via internet, phone, and mail on the Heritage Auctions item.

Besides the original cover, another three items were included in the lot: “a 14 x 16.5 in. ink drawing of a web that was used to create the decorative end paper design for the book, and two 9 x 8 in. watercolors of the cover design.”

According to The Washington Post, the auction organizers originally estimated it would go for $30,000, but it exceeded expectations by more than 500 percent. 42 of Williams’ art pieces were sold in the same auction and in total, the collection grossed more than $780,000. The New York buyer for Charlotte’s Web preferred to remain anonymous.

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Tina Fey Explains Her Eye-Popping Cover

The cover for Tina Fey‘s first book, Bossypants starred at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Flavorpill has a photo: Fey’s face superimposed on the body of a large man with a tie and a white-collar shirt. In the video embedded above, Fey talked to Zap2it about the eye-popping cover.

Fey said: “I shot it with this great, great photographer named Ruven Afanador, and it was an idea he had that I really liked. It’s funny to me that some people think it’s funny, and some people, it makes them furious. I can’t figure out why. It’s not dirty or mean… it’s a memorable image, at the very least.”

As a writer, Fey is best known for her comedy writing on Saturday Night Live. Bossypants comes out in hardcover on April 5, 2011 from Reagan Arthur Books.

Book Cover Design Resources for Self-Published Authors

Cover art may be the toughest task facing self-published authors. Last weekend, Andy Carpenter (ACD & Co. principle and former VP & Art Director St. Martin’s Press) and Eric Baker (design director of O Design and The Design Observer contributing editor) shared some cover design resources for self-published authors.

GalleyCat prowled the floor of the Self-Publishing Book Expo last Saturday. We picked up some book pitching tips and encouraged self-published authors to enter our ongoing Book Pitch contest–a chance to win a free ticket to the eBook Summit in December.

At the Expo’s “Design and Illustration: How Your Cover Can Sell Volumes” panel discussion, Baker and Carpenter shared a list of public domain image collections and other book cover resources that self-published writers can use.  “When you self-publish, it behooves you to dress up your book as much as possible,” Carpenter reminded the audience. The complete list of resources follows below.

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New York Post Profiles ‘Twilight’ Cover Hand Model

twilight-cover.jpegParts model Kimbra Hickey landed a hand modeling job where the end product was re-printed 17 million times. Her hands hold the apple on the cover of Twilight, the first book in Stephenie Meyer‘s vampire saga.

In a New York Post interview, Hickey confessed she wished for a little more fame from the cover job. The forty-year-old model admits to having acted “a bit goofy” about her lack of status.

Hickey sometimes haunts the Barnes & Noble nearby her New York City apartment to alert customers reading the books. She has even gone so far as to carry an apple in her purse so she can re-create the pose upon request. Right now, she works mainly as a massage therapist and she performs parts-modeling a few days each month.

Hickey told the New York Post: “It was major exposure for my hands, but nobody knew who I was…I see people reading it on the subway, and I say, ‘Those are my hands! I’m a hand model!’ I’m sure they think I’m crazy–a crazy lady on the subway.”
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Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘Forever’ Cover Revealed

forever-175.jpgScholastic unveiled the cover for Maggie Stiefvater‘s final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Forever. Stylistically, it follows the first two books, Shiver and Linger. All three covers feature bold color palettes, a natural woodsy frame, a wolf, and the title in a white center. Forever was done in shades of crimson red.

Scholastic associate art director Chris Stengel was the mastermind behind all three Wolves of Mercy Falls‘ covers. In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, he revealed: “I definitely knew that I wanted to make the third book red. It seemed logical to me to follow the progression of the seasons. At first, I wasn’t sure how close to Shiver the sequels should be, but once the artwork came together, it felt right to create a variation on the theme. The reversal of positions for the girl, boy, and the wolves relates to the plots of the books.”

Stiefvater became a published novelist at age 26 with her Books of Faerie novels. A year later, she published two more novels including the second fairy novel and a paranormal romance featuring a werewolf and a human girl. The first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Shiver went on to sell more than 130,000 copies in 2009. Linger came out in July 2010. Forever will be released in July 2011.

Pakistani Truck Artist Paints Granta Cover

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Today Granta unveiled that gorgeous cover for Granta 112, painted by truck and bus artist Islam Gull from a Bhutta village in Karachi.

Released this fall, the new Pakistan-themed issue will feature work by Daniyal Mueenuddin, Fatima Bhutto, and Lorraine Adams working with Ayesha Nasir.

Here’s more from the journal: ” Gull, born in Peshawar, has been painting since the age of thirteen. Twenty-two years ago he settled in Karachi, where he now teaches his craft to two young apprentices. In addition to trucks and buses, Gull decorates buildings and housewares and has worked for several consulates in Karachi, as well as traveling to Kandahar, Afghanistan to paint trucks there. Commissioned with the assistance of the British Council in Karachi, Gull produced two chipboard panels to be photographed for the magazine’s cover, using the same industrial paints with which he embellishes Pakistani trucks.”

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Bob Woodward Cover Unveiled for Obama’s Wars

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Simon & Schuster has unveiled the cover for journalist Bob Woodward‘s forthcoming book, Obama’s Wars. The 441-page tome will hit shelves on September 27th, Wooward’s 16th book.

Here’s more from the release: “Working behind the scenes for 18 months, Woodward has written the most intimate and sweeping portrait of Obama making the critical decisions on the Afghanistan War, the secret war in Pakistan and the worldwide fight against terrorism. Drawing on internal memos, classified documents, meeting notes and hundreds of hours of interviews with most of the key players, including the president, Woodward offers an original, you-are-there account of Obama and his team in this time of turmoil and uncertainty.”

The cover image is embedded above. In addition, The Washington Post will publish excerpts from the book on the week of publication.

Dick and Jane and Vampires: Behind the Scenes

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The Penguin imprint Grosset & Dunlap released Dick and Jane and Vampires this month, bringing the mash-up trend to children’s books. We caught up with Penguin designer Megan Bennett to find out how they created more than 80 mash-up images for the book.

Bennett explained: “This book was truly a collaborative project. After the author, Laura Marchesani, had brilliantly reinterpreted text from the original Dick and Jane stories to fit the addition of Vampire to the plot, it was my job to see that the illustrator did the same with the addition of Vampire into the illustrations. Laura and I worked together, using her manuscript, to compile the art suggestions for each story.

She added: “Then, I amassed a sort of digital library of original Dick and Jane illustrations from the previous stories that would be used in this book. This library was passed along to the illustrator, Tommy Hunt, with the illustration suggestions.”

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Dan Wilbur Writes Better Book Titles

stiegcovered.pngComedian and writer Dan Wilbur has launched a Tumblr blog simplifying the titles of popular books–revealing the juicy bits that a tasteful book jacket might hide. It’s perfect for a sleepy summer Friday.

Above, you can see Wilbur’s take on Stieg Larsson‘s bestselling The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Another one of our favorites was “A Quaint Midafternoon Panic Attack” as the new title for Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. You can submit your own suggestions to dwilbs [at] gmail [dot] com.

Here’s more about the site: “This page is for people who have trouble slogging through the information on book jackets or feel intimidated by the title and cover itself. How many times have you perused the cover of a novel only to rub your sore eyes and realize you’ve learned NOTHING from the book’s title?! This blog is for people who do not have thousands of hours to read book reviews or blurbs or first sentences. I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image.” (Via Sarah Weinman)

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