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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!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cover Stories: Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

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Miss Erin recently reviewed Siobhan Vivian's two novels, and today, Siobhan shares the Cover Story behind her spring release, Same Difference:

"I was extremely anxious about the cover for SAME DIFFERENCE when my editor called me into his office for a meeting to brainstorm possible directions. At the time, I was just about to finish up the first draft of the book, and the story still wasn't clicking together the way I wanted it to. If my editor had asked me any questions about theme or whatever, I probably would have had a complete meltdown.

"But part of me hoped that if we did come up with something amazing for a cover, it could act like a lighthouse, and I could follow that beam of light through the fog and arrive safely on the shores. To me, covers and titles can help in that way. They can bring clarity, focus.

"Anyhow, my editor pitched me a couple of concepts. These are the two I remember: 1) A photograph of a girl, painting her self-portrait. You wouldn't see her actual face, only the portrait. 2) A photograph of a girl from the waist down, carrying her art portfolio which would be covered in a bunch of random stickers.

"On the surface, these felt like okay solutions. After all, SAME DIFFERENCE was a book about a girl who goes to a summer art program--which was also the stock answer I'd been giving to people who asked what my new book was about. But I wasn't completely sold either. Their ideas seemed so art-heavy. And I wondered if that kind of approach would alienate readers who didn't find that kind of experience interesting.

"It challenged me to dig to the heart of my story. And I quickly realized that even though SAME DIFFERENCE had art in it, art it wasn't the crux of the story. The meat and bones were Emily's journey as she tried to figure herself out. A girl stuck between two worlds, two friends.

"Hmmm... I ran home and went onto the stock photo sites and started doing some research. I typed in TEEN and GIRL and REFLECTION. A couple interesting pictures came up. But when I saw the one that would turn out to be my cover.

"First off, the girl was PERFECT. I mean, she was beautiful...but she also still looked like a normal girl. (This has always been so important in my covers! Real girls only!) And I loved the reflection, and watching her step out of the glass and leave a version of herself behind. Totally a slam dunk, IMHO! I sent the photo to my editor, who shared it with the design team. Everyone agreed it was perfect.

"Finding that cover definitely gave me the clarity to push through the rest of my first draft with confidence. Once I found out who Emily really was, there was no looking back!"

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"And... I got a FaceBook message from the model! She lives in South Africa and a friend found my book and recognized her. She was so excited, and I was too! Here she is, and her name is Marcelle."
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"Also, someone had commented on my LJ a long time ago that they
thought she looked familiar from another cover,
Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player by Antony John. I couldn't tell for sure, but sent her the link.
Turns out it IS her...and her brother. So she went from ZERO to a cover star of two YA books in a matter of minutes!"

How cool is that? Love meeting-the-model stories. And, I love how Siobhan had to dig deeper into her story to find the right cover. Nice!

What do you guys think?

1 comment:

liznwyrk said...

Great post! I love that the author not only had a voice in discussions about the cover, but actually made the selection. Yay!