Thursday, 25 October 2012

Getting it covered - the book, that is

I'm covering for Karen King, who should have been writing this post. Instead, she's getting married. That seems like a much more important thing to do. Congratulations Karen!

So this is a cover version of a blog post. To make sure I've got everything covered, I'm going to talk about covers.

Book covers.

It's a little-known fact, but every now and then people ask me to design a book cover for them. Here is the most recent one:

Most of them are books for grown-ups. But earlier this year I did one for young adult girls. Here it is:

I really enjoy designing book covers. Surfing Through Minefields is a realistic story (no vampires) about a young girl who moves to an old coalmining area and gets into a spot of trouble.

You could say that there's trouble at t'pit, but I won't because that's corny.

Bel was very specific about what she wanted. There had to be a dog, the girl, and a coal mine.

Oh yes, and she had to have a skateboard, hence the title.

How do you aim a book at a particular kind of reader? How do you attract their attention and make them pick it up?

My approach was to think: if I put a really cool girl on the cover, then it looks like the book is aimed at that type of reader.

I made her sassy and confident, too: she's got attitude. Just, I hope, like a lot of girls aged 11 to 13 like to think they are.

Bel said she was really pleased with it anyway.

How did I do it? Sorry, that's a trade secret. I'll have to keep it under cover.

There was a print version and an e-book version. For the print version I had to design the spine and the back cover as well.

I also copy edited the blurb for her and the publisher.

Doing something like this makes me think a lot more about writing the content of my own books, and how they are aimed at particular kinds of readers.

But I wouldn't design covers for my own books. It's hard enough writing them.


Kate said...

Cover design sounds fascinating. I hear some authors have very firm views on how they want their covers to appear - I'm just curious to see what they come up with for mine!

Sue Purkiss said...

So many talents, David!

Lynne Garner said...

All my books have been written with an audience in mind. I find it easier to know who I'm writing for so I know the type of language to use. Fab covers by the way!

David Thorpe said...

Thanks Lynne. Some publishers, Kate, a very good at consulting with all those on cover design. Others leave them quite out of the loop, with questionable benefits.

Bel Roberts said...

I really love the cover you designed for Surfing Through Minefields for me, David. Lots of people have commented favourably on it. The book is intended for teenage boys as well as girls, for their parents and grandparents. It is a contemporary story involving a past tragedy but the book has humour and also deals with lots of current social problems.