Evolution Of A Cover (Part One)

March 31, 2010

So I have three YA books coming out this summer – ONE NIGHT THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING, ACES UP, and the rerelease of Reality Chick, which will be called WATCH ME.

All three books are getting new covers.

I know! What are the chances? (Actually, I guess a lot since covers get changed all the time. But still! Three for three!)

I love all three new covers more than their originals, which is crazy, seeing as how I thought the original ONE NIGHT cover was especially amazing.

I thought I’d post each cover here, and talk about how the cover was changed, and the reasons for the changes.

First, ACES UP.

This book is about a girl named Shannon who lies about her age so she can get a job waitressing at a local casino. While she’s there, she gets caught up in this scandalous undercover poker ring led by this super sexy guy named Cole. She has a lot of other stuff going on, too, like a crazy boss, a dad who’s out of work, and the fact that her best guy friend (well, until they almost kissed) Max and his new girlfriend are creating all sorts of drama for her. (Including more almost kisses.)

Here was the original cover:

Honestly, I thought it was just okay. I didn’t love it, because to me, it seemed very poker. And, yes, it IS a poker book, but I was afraid that people who DIDN’T like poker wouldn’t pick it up because they’d think it’s was just a story about gambling and casinos. The romance is a huge part of the story, and I felt like that kind of got lost with this cover. Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the feathers on the boa, which I thought were a little bit old-fashioned, and are never featured in the story.

I loved the red, though, (I think I actually heard somewhere that red covers sell better than any other color?) and Delacorte’s thinking was that teens have a certain fascination with casinos, and so this cover would appeal to them. I started liking it more as time went on, and figured it was different enough from my usual covers (read: pink and girly) that it would stand out from ONE NIGHT and WATCH ME, which are coming out around the same time.

Then we heard back from my editor, with some requests from the buyer at Barnes and Noble. (Note: If you don’t know, the buyers at big accounts – usually B&N, since they’re the biggest – can have an impact on the cover. If a buyer is going to up an order because of a cover change, or not carry the book at all because they don’t like the cover, the publisher usually tries to accommodate their request.)

In this case, the buyer thought it would be a good idea to make this cover look more like the cover for TWO-WAY STREET:

His feeling was that TWO-WAY STREET had done so well, and had such a contemporary, sexy look, that the ACES UP cover would do better if updated. He also requested a tagline calling me out as the author of TWO-WAY STREET.

So Delacorte came up with this:

I liked this one better a lot better than the original. Even though the tweaks were small, I thought it made a huge difference. The font is more modern, and I liked that it linked me to TWO-WAY STREET – I hoped this would make people who liked TWO-WAY STREET pick it up, even if they thought it was a poker book.

The boa was still a bit much for my taste, but overall I was really happy with these updates.

Then, a couple of weeks later, we got word that B&N felt the cover still wasn’t working. They talked about the TWO-WAY STREET cover again, how it made it clear that there was a relationship between the guy and the girl. (The TWO-WAY STREET cover is a wraparound, and the back shows a guy trying to fix the car.)

So Delacorte went back to the drawing board and came up with this:

And this will be the cover! I really love, love, love it. I think it’s so cute and really shows that there’s a lot of romance (even though the story does center around gambling, and my MC does get herself in a lot more trouble than my heroines are used to.)

I feel so fortunate that my wonderful editor Stephanie Elliott and the team at Random House were willing to keep at it.

Tomorrow? The cover for WATCH ME, and why that one’s changing not only covers (twice!) but titles…

More later,

Posted by Lauren @ 9:23 am  

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  1. Chantal Kirkland says:

    This is so awesome. I love that you can share all this and do so! I had no idea that the book stores (B&N) had such a huge influence on the cover decision. That’s so awesome – since they would know!

  2. Lisa and Laura says:

    OK, this is fascinating. Especially since we literally just shot an e-mail off to our editor about our cover. Can’t wait to see the post tomorrow.

  3. Anne Kenny says:

    I never knew that the buyers had such pull! I love the new cover, it seems to appeal to a younger crowd, while the first seemed like a stretch. Thank you for posting this!

  4. Renee Combs says:

    Congrats! I really love this new cover, it’s adorable. I’ll definitely be picking up a copy. 😀

  5. Sylvia says:

    I love the new cover very much. I’m really glad they changed it! I’m really looking forward to reading all your three books!!:)

  6. Book Chic says:

    I love the new cover for it!! It still peeves me off a bit to know how much pull a buyer has on a cover, but at least it didn’t affect your release date. It bothered me a lot when The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison got pushed back a whole year (which then meant I had an really early copy of the book, lol) because the bookstores didn’t like the cover even though it was REALLY GOOD. The one that’s out now is just so stupid.

    So I guess it bothers me when they ask for a change on a perfectly good cover and then they agree to a bland cover, as well as pushing a book to a future release date from the original.

  7. Evolution Of A Cover (Part Three) says:

    […] I blogged here about the new cover of ACES UP, and I blogged here about the new cover of WATCH ME, and now it’s […]

  8. R3ad3R says:

    I loved Two-Way Street. And I am so excited for all of your current books coming out, especially Aces Up!

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