Zetta Elliott is here today to talk about the covers for A Wish After Midnight. Zetta self-published the book at first, and then it was picked up by AmazoneEncore for traditional publishing! Lyn Miller-Lachmann wrote a beautiful review of Zetta's book for Readergirlz Salon, so check that out.
"My story's a little unusual because I first wrote AWAM in 2003, and at that time I had no idea whatsoever what I wanted the cover to look like. I was just happy to have finished, and I was sending out query letters to agents and editors. Five years later, after endless rejections, I heard about Lulu.com through a friend and decided to give my book its own life in the world. My award-winning picture book, Bird, was coming out in the fall of 2008, and so I hustled to get AWAM ready for release at the same time.
"Shadra Strickland, who went on to win two major awards for illustrating Bird, agreed to design the cover for AWAM. I gave her the elements I wanted to include, selected a color, and she produced a cover design I absolutely loved (below left). I really wanted my main character, Genna, to be represented accurately--in popular culture, you don't often see dark-skinned black girls celebrated and/or placed front and center. So I bought a stock photo, photo-shopped it to make the girl's skin tone correct, and then Shadra skillfully combined the sankofa symbol and my photo-shopped picture of the fountain in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
[Here are the old and the new covers, side by side:]
"I wasn't asked for input, but in our early negotiations, my editor made a point of saying that the AmazonEncore edition would have a cover that far outshone the one on my self-published book. I didn't quite appreciate that remark at the time, because I loved my cover!"
Read the rest of Zetta's Cover Story on melissacwalker.com.