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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cover Stories: Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent

08_Final Cover of MY SOUL TO TAKE.jpg
Rachel Vincent, author of My Soul to Take (August 2009), My Soul to Save (January 2010), My Soul to Keep (June 2010), and My Soul to Lose (free e-book prequel here) stopped by to chat about the Soul Screamers covers (and give you a chance to win some cool prizes). Read on!

"I think the coolest thing about the cover process for the Soul Screamers books is that all three of the covers were designed at the same time, so the continuity between the titles is flawless. In other words, they match each other perfectly. ;-)

"For each Harlequin title, the author is asked to fill out an online art fact sheet, which is a form full of questions about every possible aspect of the novel. Plot, characters, setting, clothing, themes, physical characteristics, title meanings, etc... But for the Soul Screamers books, among the very first of Harlequin's young adult covers, we went a bit beyond the art fact sheet.

"In addition to the forms I filled out, my editor asked me to send in pictures that best reflected Kaylee (my main character) physically, as well as other images that captured the tone of the novel. I sent in these images of Danielle Panabaker and Alexis Bledel, who both have that every-girl look I was going for:


"Pretty, but in an average-teenager kind of way. I also sent in about a dozen different creepy images to represent the eerie feel of the Netherworld (which we'll see a lot of in the second and third books).

"Personally, in the beginning, I pictured an ensemble cast shot (similar to what I later saw on the cover for Another Faust), with some creepy Netherworld imagery around them, but the art department decided pretty early on to focus on just Kaylee, which I think works, because she's the only viewpoint character.

"For a while, there was talk about a close-up of just her face, with some color swirls in her irises, but in the end, they decided to go with a full body shot. Once they'd chosen a design, my editor sent me images of all three cover concepts (mockups). Each showed 'Kaylee' in a different pose, wearing a different dress, on a different colored background. Red for My Soul To Take, blue-green for My Soul to Save, and purple for My Soul to Keep. For these mockups, they used stock images, and approximations of the final fonts.

"My favorite part of the concepts was the 'word ribbon' (see the final cover, top). On each mockup, the title was repeated over and over, winding around Kaylee's body in a continuous stream. I loved that! I'd never seen it done anywhere else.

01_Finding the Right Model.jpg
"Once they'd scheduled the cover shoot, my editor sent me pictures of the two models they were considering for Kaylee, and they were both perfect for the part (see the chosen one, left). And since the art department already had concepts in place for all three titles, they were able to take pictures for all three covers during that one cover shoot. For me, that was a big relief, because with my adult series, we're on our third cover model, after having lost the previous two mid-series.

[Here are the three poses for My Soul to Take:]

02_Photo Shoot Image - Option 1.jpg
03_Photo Shoot Image - Option 2.jpg
04_Photo Shoot Image - Option 3.jpg

[And here's the retouched image of the chosen cover image:]

05_Retouched Cover Image.jpg

MSTS standard.jpg
"Unfortunately, doing the word ribbon on the actual cover proved more difficult than on the mockup, so the review copies went out with different, regular swirlies. But I was thrilled to see that the word ribbon made it onto the final cover of My Soul to Take, and that it's even more prominent on My Soul to Save (right). And soon, we should have the final cover for My Soul to Keep! I can't wait to see it!"

I love all this insider info and the shots! Thanks, Rachel! What do you guys think of the covers in the series so far?

Harlequin Teen says: We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about Rachel Vincent's covers and that you’ll love the books as much as we love our covers. We’d also like to hear what you—truly!—think about our covers, and YA covers in general. Which are your favorites, which are your least favorites, and why?Comment here, and you might win a copy of My Soul to Take, Intertwined, or a cool matching T-shirt. Thanks for being with us today at Readergirlz!


Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit said...

Like Rachel, I love the word ribbon - what a great idea. I also like that all of the covers were done at the same time to ensure continuity - I love that in a book series. I think the cover looks extremely romantic, and fantastical, which, hopefully, is what the book is like!

Alea said...

I love how detailed this cover story was! How wonderful! Can't wait to see the third book, and I too am a fan of having all the series covers done together like that!

No need to enter me!

Charlotte said...

I love the cover stories, they are all fascinating ! Book covers are so important !

BN Book Blog said...

Covers are fascinating. We must say that two of our recent favorites were Prophecy of the Sisters and Eyes Like Stars. We'd love to be entered!

Beth & Nathan

Priya said...

I love all of these covers! I wish the title stood out a little more though -- maybe with a brighter shade or something.

Scott Romanski said...

Fav cover? Hmmmm....i kinda like the covers on the Twilight series, symbolic and simple. Loving the covers on this series

Anonymous said...

I wish there were more explanations about cover art like this!

And I love the covers to this series. :3

Tynga said...

Don't enter me for the contest since I already have both books, but really enjoyed hearing about the cover process it's awesome!
And I love them, they are so beautifuL!

Erica said...

That was such a great cover story! I wish more people shared cover stories as detailed as this! I think that's really neat they shot all the covers at once. I love the word ribbon!

Some of my favorite YA covers are Evermore and Shadowland, What I Wore To Save The World, Going Too Far, all 3 of covers for the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, and Hush, Hush. I like all of them for different reasons - but they're all simply stunning.

Lexie said...

I really like the cover to Elizabeth Bunce's A Curse Dark as Gold and the Once Upon a Time...books from Simon and Schuster (I prefered the Kinuko Y. Craft covers, but most of the new 'realistic' ones are pretty cool as well).

And yes I prefer it when the covers are all at least the same style--it bothers me to no end when four books in the cover artist changes or worse, the art is different between the hardcover and paperback (which isn't as frequent thankfully).


Daisy Whitney said...

This is totally fascinating! I had no idea an author got to have so much input!

Anonymous said...

That's great. Was having that much input into your covers in your contract? Or did your editor just call up one day and say "surprise!"?

I can get tracked back down at @axisor on twitter or axisor.livejournal.com (its not letting me log in to the LJ openID)

Unknown said...

I like that in most of the covers there is more then one thing going on, I am the type of person who sometimes buys a book based on a cover so hearing the process is fascinating =)

DeNiSe said...

I love covers that are digital photography
I personally dont like cover w/drawing I love the cover for my soul to take their a very cool colore

Please enter me


Travis said...

I really like these covers. There's not too much going on, and it adds a little mystery as to what it's about.

Unknown said...

That is sooo cool. I'll be sharing it with my students so they see how some covers are done.

My favorite covers - right now it's the cover for The Otherworldlies and Goth Girl Rising. If you look at them they are similar - close up of a face with VERY stricking eyes. I like that type.

What I don't like - book covers that don't match the story. Like showing a blond girl when the girl has dark hair.

Thanks for the give-away!

foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com

Paradox said...

I absolutely love the covers of Evermore by Alyson Noel, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, and Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. For me to like a cover, it has to have a beautiful image or design, a good use of colors, and a font that goes well with it (NO GENERIC FONTS OR BAD PHOTOSHOPPING... it looks unprofessional and/or amateurishly self-published.) And racism in covers is always frowned upon (see Liar cover controversy.)

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Kristi said...

Wasn't until I started blogging that I actually realized how important covers can be in whether or not I pick up a book. I also am amazed at how many covers are actually used for more than one book! I like these soul screamer covers alot! Another series of covers that I like is the Melissa Marr series that includes Wicked Lovely.

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

I loved learning about this process! The decision on the covers is a process that I think is overlooked a great deal of the time. I am glad that they truly tried to collaborate with Rachel on the process. I also love the word ribbon! Great article.


victoriasdreams said...

i love the covers...just like i love rachel's books i would love to win

Sara said...

Those covers are absolutely beautiful! Love the My Soul To Save cover in specific!


whitewolfreads said...

I'm very impressed with these covers and especially the thought put into them. A lot of YA covers tend to depict a girl or guy that looks nothing like the main character so it is very refreshing to see that with this series they tried to stay true to the character. Please enter me!

Jess S.


kohsamui14 said...

super covers.. so much thought reflects the quality of writing

Chris R said...

I like covers that are simple and if they show one of the characters it looks like the character. Nothing worse than have a hero with long hair and he has a buzz cut on the cover. I also hate if the cover is the same as the cover as another author from last month but the image has been flipped.

Wicked Walker said...

All the covers are awesome, A Soul to Save is probably my favorite because of the color. Interesting write up about how they did the cover. Thanks!

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Thanks for all the detail on this cover story! The behind-the-scenes pictures and everything was great!

I'm tired of photographic covers in general, though. It seems to be pretty much all we see anymore in teen books and, as a result, they all blend together. There's only so much uniqueness you can pull out of an image when it's one of fifteen in a row that are all photographs of girls. Seriously, an interesting non-photographic cover is far more likely to grab my attention. At this point, I pick up almost anything that doesn't have a photo on the cover because it stands out, even if the art isn't very good. Be unique and actually reflect the book inside.

One of my favorite teen covers was the cover on the hardcover version of "An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green because it stood out, was graphically simple, reflected the book and between the images and the way the title was presented (with math symbols), grabbed my attention right away. Similarly, I liked the original cover for the hardcover version of "The Market", with the silhouettes in boxes with numbers. I didn't even read that book, but it instantly drew my eye to it on a busy shelf, gave me an idea of what it was about, and made me want to read it. I loved the painted cover for "The Phoenix Dance". It was so beautiful it instantly grabbed my attention and, again, reflected the book very well.

I don't generally like any cover with a girl's body missing her head (why are there so many of these?) because they feel void of personality to me the vast majority of the time. The Gossip Girl covers are a great example of this. I also hated the paperback covers of both of the hardcovers listed above because they lacked all the qualities I liked in the hardcovers. They totally blended into the shelves, lacked uniqueness and told me next to nothing about the book. Why would I even pick up a book like that?

I think about book covers a lot. Sorry for the long answer, but it seemed like you really wanted a thoughtful response.

Rosie said...

I love Rachel's cover shown on this interview. Can't wait to read the book!! Some of my favorite covers are the the Libba Bray books. Very unique.

Ellz said...

These covers are so romantic. I saw on Rachels blog that they were voting on two covers. I liked the one that showed more dress, it seems more magical.

Llehn said...

I love the one that ended up being the final cover of the book. It's so lush and beautiful!


Marjolein Reads said...

Interesting post, I love the cover and how it was developed.
Makes me really curious for the book!

Yan said...

Out of those three I believe that MY SOUL TO SAVE is the most pleasing to me. Some covers that I really like, as said by someone else, was EYES LIKE STARS. I also really like GRACELING and FIRE (the UK edition). I love the powerful silhouette shown in FIRE.

Anum F said...

the covers of all the books are innovative.it gives me a very sweet felling when i look at the covers the model looks like an angel ready to soar to the sky .on the whole the covers are amazing and totally rock♥

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