Thursday, May 15, 2014

Darkly Delicious Secrets About My Cover(s) by Kendall Kulper

I seriously love my cover. Cover design is one of those nerdy things that I’m super into, but I’d always heard from writers that authors rarely if ever get any say in their own cover, so after SALT & STORM was sold, I pretty much kissed my dreams of cover design goodbye.

So you can imagine how deliriously happy I was to discover that not only did my publisher, Little, Brown, want my input, but they really wanted to work with me to get to a design that made all of us happy.

It started about a year before S&S’s publication. I got an email from my editor asking me for cover thoughts, and I sent out a bunch of my favorites (like fellow LB author Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown), along with a list (okay, a sort of long list…) of things I loved and things I hated when it came to covers. Things I thought would be great for S&S: iconic imagery, illustration and hand-lettering, simplicity. Things I thought would be terrible: pretty girls in pretty dresses (my main character, Avery, is very much not a fan of pretty dresses).

I sent off the list and crossed my fingers.

Last December, I was in New York visiting family when LB invited me to stop by the offices to meet some of the (amazing) people working on my book, including…my cover designer! I was so thrilled to meet her, because she showed me samples of the cover! This on its own was enough to earn her a permanent place in my heart, but what was more, she truly loved and got the book and really wanted to design something that spoke to the complicated tangle of stories and emotions.

Avery’s family makes good luck charms for sailors, and so the designer asked me some questions about what these charms might look like. In my mind, they were always rustic, simple things—hooks and fishing lures and bundles of grass—but I’d also been captivated by knot work and knot art, and the designer loved the idea.

She asked me to send her a few favorite images, so I did a quick search, threw the pictures up on my tumblr, and re-crossed my fingers.

When I finally opened up the image of the final cover, I was blown away. I loved it so so hard! There was the iconic imagery, the subtlety and simplicity I wanted, the bright and beautiful colors. It looked great teeny tiny on an Amazon order page; it looked fantastic big and bold splashed across a web banner—it was eye-catching, spoke so much to the story, and is the number one thing that people reach out to me about. I seriously could not be happier.

And as a special treat for Darkly Delicious readers, you get a sneak peek at S&S’s UK cover! This version of the book will be published by Orchard Books, and I am so thrilled with what their team put together—it’s a different version of S&S but one that also so beautifully captures the feel and emotion of the story. Enjoy!


  1. That's awesome. I love hearing the details behind the covers! :)

  2. You're covers are awesome, both the US and UK versions. =)