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, May 23, 2010

Cover Stories: My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel

Courtney Sheinmel is back to share the Cover Story behind her first novel, My So-Called Family (read yesterday's Cover Story about Courtney's latest release, Positively).

My So-Called Family is the tale of a 13-year-old girl named Leah who finds out that she was conceived through artificial insemination. So her father is "Donor 730," and though she has a stepfather and younger brother and a loving mom, she wants to know more. So w
hen she finds out that Donor 730 has another daughter around her age, she intends to meet her half-sister!

That sounds like a great book and a tough cover to design. Here's Courtney with the story:

Final cover high res.jpg
"MY SO-CALLED FAMILY, went through a few different covers before the final version. About a year before the publication date, my editor emailed over a sketch from the cover artist depicting the concept for the cover - a girl, her mother, and the dotted outlines of her unknown father and siblings.I liked the concept and they scheduled a photo shoot. But then when my editor emailed me a few weeks later with the actual cover, it was not at all what I expected. I thought the colors were too jarring, the font seemed off, and I didn't like the ex
pression on the girl's face. They kept the concept, but changed the colors, font and picture, and I really liked the second version. It was the version that ended up on the galleys (left), and I showed them off to everyone I knew.

"Sometime later I found out that the design had changed for a third
MSF paperback for website.jpg
time: same concept, same girl, but the colors were different and the mom was taking off the front cover and moved to the back. The final version pops out more (above right), and I'm really happy with it.

"The paperback cover of MY SO-CALLED FAMILY is different than the hardcover - the colors and fonts have changed again (right). It came out September 15th, the same day as POSITIVELY!"

I like the way the cover ended up, and I think the colors on the paperback pop a little more than the blue-green of the hardcover (plus the title stands out more on the paperback). However, I think I like the hardcover better overall. What do you guys think?


emily said...

You always have the best cover stories. It's so interesting to know how the covers were made.

Melissa Walker said...

Thanks, Milli! So glad you like them!

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