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readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cover Stories: Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Over at my author blog, I interview authors about their book covers on Mondays, and I'll be cross-posting here at readergirlz when I can, so here's this week's story!

I'm so behind on my to-read pile, but I'm aiming to finish at least three books this week, and I have a signed copy of Skinned waiting for me (and then for you, on Win-It Wednesday) soon! I've heard such great things about this book, and I can't wait to dive in. For the meantime, I'll have to be content with the awesome Robin Wasserman's compelling Cover Story. Enjoy!

"I've never pretended to have good taste (or any taste, for that matter) when it comes to the visual arts. Back when I used to work in publishing, the cover designers all loved me, because I was happy for them to do whatever they wanted. (Figuring that it was their job to have better taste than me. They certainly couldn't have had worse.)

"So when it comes time for me to weigh in on covers for my own books, I generally go with a 'silence is golden' policy. But when we were working on SKINNED, I did send along a selection of cool cyborg images that I found online. I thought this might help them find a way to depict the fact that Lia (the main character) is both human and machine. These were my favorites:

91871BgJF_w.jpg91761mrUQ_w.jpgcyborg.jpg

"Not that I wanted Lia to look quite this mechanical, but I thought it would be good food for thought! In the end, they decided to go with something a little less...bizarre.

"At their request, I gave them a description of the main character: 'Long blond hair, pale, smooth skin, perfect proportions, a Barbie doll come to life. Preferably blue eyes, though it doesn't matter so much. If possible, the eyes should somehow be (digitally?) made to look a bit off—some kind of machinery whirring at the center of the pupil, or an iris color that's too solid, or slightly too bright. Something to make them look totally inhuman.'

"They found the perfect cover model:

cover%20story%20cover%20model.jpg

"And once they had their Lia, things moved pretty quickly. Here's what the rough version of the cover looked like:

Cover%20story%20original%20cover.jpg

"And here's the final cover:

Cover%20story%20final%20cover.jpg

"Points if you can figure out the differences. (It took me quite a while. I'm always mystified by the way such tiny changes add up to something big.)

"The major difference, obviously, is the title. We started with Skinjacked, but when it turned out this term was going to play a prominent role in another Simon & Schuster book, we groped around for something else. Anything else. I came up with about a million options (Skinflyer, Skincrash, Skin Deep, etc etc etc -- I have a document on my computer of at least a hundred sub-par options) until finally settling on the simplest one of all. My editor promised me that after a few weeks of looking at SKINNED on the cover, I wouldn't be able to imagine the book being titled anything else.

"She was right."

Wow--I love this story, Robin, and I'm blown away by the process. I also think the title is perfect, and I'm glad the font got bigger so you can see more clearly how it glows on the cover. What do you guys think?

7 comments:

Little Willow said...

I love book covers that acurately depict the contents within said covers. There are plenty of eyecatching covers which don't match the characters or the story, and plenty of fantastic books which have "plain" or misleading or unattractive covers. I constantly remind friends and customers not to judge books by their covers - which they do, constantly! I've written pieces about covers vs. content before. I really like the cover of Skinned, and I've enjoyed all of the Wasserman books I've read to date, so I'm looking forward to reading Skinned.

hollycupala said...

Fascinating! I'm about to be in this process myself, so it's really cool to be able to see how it all fits together in the end. I noticed all of the little details (being a graphics person) - the title being the last. Titles and covers seem to make all the difference.

Gerb said...

Oh, I'm so glad to see the cover stories continue on here, Melissa. And these were fascinating. I love the finished product.

Polo.Pony said...

Thanks for doing the cover stories, I really love to read them! This was a great cover story! I liked how you showed pictures of the different stages of the book throughout the process! And, I do like the way the final cover turned out the best!

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