Before I was published, I would spend hours daydreaming about the cover for PRETTY DARK NOTHING. My journal was full of ideas and lists of other covers I liked. I’m very visual, and it was fun to think about what readers would see when they picked my book up off the shelf one day. Of course, I was under no illusion about seeing my ideas in the actual design. I’d heard the horror stories from other authors about fights with their publishers over covers only to be told that they would take what they were given. Leave the design to the designers. Authors rarely get a choice in the matter, let alone get asked an opinion, so I figured my thoughts would end up being nothing more than a pipe dream.
So when I sold my book to Month9Books, I was ready to give up control, cross my fingers, and hope for the best. But that didn’t happen. My publisher actually wanted my opinion, even taking the time to ask me what I envisioned the cover to look like. No promise that it would end up being what I envisioned, but still. This doesn’t happen at every publishing house.
So, when asked what I pictured my cover to look like, I pulled out my journal. Here’s a peek at what I wished for.
1) I love dark and moody covers. Evocative covers. I hate when you can actually see the face of the girl/person on the cover. This really annoys me. I want to be able to imagine their face myself.
2) I picture the cover color scheme to be blues, dark purples, greys, black, white.
3) Quinn kneels with her head in her hands. She’s wearing her dark purple prom dress, it’s torn and ragged. Her hair is wind-blown. She’s kneeling in front of water. There are trees behind her. In the trees are dark shapes, shadows. They might be reaching for her or maybe they could reach up and out to enclose the title (similar to Torn). In the water you see her reflection, but instead of shadows, you see the faint outline of angel wings. Or something along those lines.
I honestly don’t know how much or how little of my request the designer took into consideration, if any, but here’s the final cover. What do you think?
The cover of PRETTY DARK NOTHING was designed by digital graphic artist and photographer Mette Breth Klausen. Mette lives in Denmark and has done several covers for my publisher, Month9Books, including fellow Darkly Delicious author, Dorothy Dryer. Check out Mette’s website and Facebook page, her work is amazing! She brought my cover to life and I couldn’t love it any more. She is truly a genius in my eyes. To me, she captured the mood I wanted to convey perfectly. Although, I’m told that one of the earlier versions Quinn was naked on the grave. My publisher had to ask that clothing be put on her and I love what Mette did with opaque, torn dress. It reminds me of shadows and cobwebs. So beautiful!
What are some of your favourite YA covers? What draws your eye to a book on the shelf and makes you want to pick it up?
To learn more about Heather L. Reid and her books, click here.