Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Book Jacket Program

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2013 by Jacket Whys

I’m baaack! Well. Sort of.

I have not posted to this blog in years. When I first started, I couldn’t find anyone else talking about YA book covers. I was a fan of a book cover blog that covered adult book jackets, and thought there should be a blog covering young adult book jackets. By the time I stopped, there was so much interesting talk out there in Blogland, that I didn’t have anything to add.

But I just did a conference program on the subject and I need a place to put my links. I am still following the topic, so I’ve decided to continue to aggregate links here. Who knows? I may have something to say about a cover ever now and then.

In the meantime, I promised links to the people who attended my program – and here they are:

Ted Talk by the famous book designer. In my program, I asked “What does a book cover do?” I recommended watching this Ted Talk.
Chip Kidd: Designing Books is No Laughing Matter. OK, it is.

We talked about process. In this post, Lucy Ruth Cummins explains her process in designing the cover of Becca Fitzpatrick’s “Hush Hush.”
An Interveiw with Lucy Ruth Cummins at Jacket Knack

The photographer for the cover of Hush Hush talks about his process for photographing the subject on “Hush Hush.”
Making the Cover for Hush Hush at Porto Blog, February 1, 2011

We talked about the use of stock photography. This is the website of a common source, Getty Images.

We saw the video, with special attention to the use of stock photography.
The Making of a Book Cover: BLAMELESS, by Gail Carriger

In our discussion of the use of stock photography, we looked at some of the “lookalikes” highlighted here.
Lookalikes at Pop Culture Junkie

I mentioned some of Elizabeth Bluemle’s comments from this article.
Publishers: Want to Improve Sales? by Elizabeth Bluemle at PW Shelftalker, October 26, 2011

We talked about the author’s stake in his/her own book jacket, and showed this as an example of multiple drafts, and the author being happy (or not) with the final cover choice.
Arts & Drafts at Lisi Harrison’s blog and also
Six Writers Tell All About Covers and Blurbs by Matthew Gallaway at The Awl, April 4, 2011

We talked extensively about book cover trends, referencing these posts:
The Season of Windblown Hair – or, the Zeitgeist of Book Covers by Elizabeth Bluemle at PW Shelftalker, July 22, 2010
Uncovering YA Covers: 2011 at
Trends in Young Adult Book Covers at
2013 Cover Trends: Part One, Part Two and Part Three at Stacked.

And also “Whitewashing” for which you can find lot of articles in a Google search (whitewashing book covers). This one was good:
It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers by Annie Schutte at YALSA’s The Hub, December 10, 2012

And some possible new trends, which I may post at a later date.

We talked about book covers accurately representing their stories. Melissa Marr talks about two books in this post.
Deconstructing Book Covers & Pondering Misleading Clues by Melissa Marr, May 28, 2012

And the “Cover Reveal,” which can be found on author and publisher blogs, Facebook pages, and in other blogs.

We talked about ready-to-go book covers for the self-published.
Paranormal Premade Book Covers at The Book Cover Designer

An finally, we talked about interesting things people were doing with book covers like:
Matching nail polish to book covers.
At Razorbill and at Macmillan.
And matching flower arrangents to book covers.

Keep up with what’s going on in YA book covers on my Articles page!

The Faces of ’97

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Still plugging away looking at the representation of people of color on book covers over the past decade or two. It’s been a little tricky to identify them, but I’ve settled on a strategy.
I looked up racial identifiers in the Library of Congress database like, in this case, “African Americans–Fiction.” And then I looked for the book covers for those titles. I counted how many titles were assigned that heading as one of the subjects, by year. The highest number of hits on the LC subject headings for children “African Americans–Fiction” was in 1997 – more than any year before or since. Most of them were picture books.
What follows is a collection of middle and high school level books from this category. My next post will be a similar collection for 2010. Can putting them all together like this help to formulate an idea of how things have changed or stayed the same?

Curiouser and Curiouser

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Have you noticed that Bloomsbury is putting its name right on the front cover these days? My memory is unreliable – I could very well be wrong… but I can’t think of any other children’s/YA publisher that does this on their hardcover books. Does it have something to do with recent controversy? Curious, indeed.

For example (white arrows are mine):

The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson (May): Jack embarks on a journey to save London from a magician trying to turn the city to gold, but first he must release a dragon and rescue seven kidnapped boys who will help Jack finish his quest.
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan (August): Precocious thirteen-year-old Lou meets a homeless eighteen-year-old girl on the streets of Paris and Lou’s life is forever changed.

The Soon-to-be Lost Art of Book Covers?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 by Jacket Whys

A coworker sent me this interesting article by James Bridle today. Food for thought…
In the comments: “While the idiom of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ retains its truth, consumers nonetheless appear to be buying books mostly with their eyes.”
I like that image. Buying books with your eyes. What happens if we can’t do that anymore??

Do You Design YA Book Covers?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 by Jacket Whys

And do you blog? I have a request (a challenge?). Here it is: Do one blog post like Ian Shimkoviak’s, where you show us several different ideas you had for a book cover – and which one was chosen for final production. Some narrative would be a bonus. Shimkoviak seems to do lots of finished looking covers for a book – all different ideas. It’s fun to see the different interpretations, but he rarely adds any explanation.
If you don’t blog, and don’t mind sharing – send them to me – I’ll be happy to post them!
I’ve always wanted to do interviews of cover designers on this blog. But there’s a problem. I want real stories… things like what outrageous requests designers have had to comply with. But I don’t want anyone to jeopardize their job.
But if anyone wants to include and anonymous story here, now would be the time. We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks!

UPDATE: Adding links to posts that are sent to me, or I find… Lucky Breaks – Erin McGuire ; Brain Camp – Colleen Venable ; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda – Chad Beckerman ; Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies – Chad Beckerman ;

Design Power

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Black and red can make for a book jacket with impact. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Little, Brown 2010) is another in a growing field of werewolf novels. What I see here is the power of sticking with good design over the present day practice of stock photo manipulation.
You might not immediately notice the wolf face here, because the white shapes draw your eye first. Which one would you pick up? This one? Or this one?

Sisters Red: After a Fenris, or werewolf, killed their grandmother and almost killed them, sisters Scarlett and Rosie March devote themselves to hunting and killing the beasts that prey on teenaged girls, learning how to lure them with red cloaks and occasionally using the help of their old friend, Silas, the woodsman’s son. Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Book Covers as Homework

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by Jacket Whys

I’ve been away (CSLP Conference in Tacoma) and haven’t had enough time to put together a real post. Instead I’m linking you to another cool book cover related thing – students assigned to redesign a book cover, endpapers, titlepage, and bookplate for a special edition novelization of The Wizard of Oz. Great assignment – and some good designs. I like the one on the top the best, and also the one with the upside-down house. Which do you like the best?


Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 by Jacket Whys

I would really love to see someone do this with YA book covers.

Thank you!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Thanks so much for the thoughtful in put to my “Fresh” post. The kudos were nice to get, and the ideas were great!
Here is a boiled down list of suggestions:

  • Cover trends in countries other than the U.S.
  • Comparison of covers from countries other than the U.S.
  • The use of stock photos: financial issues, pros & cons, exclusive rights, cover-specific photo shoots
  • Evolution of covers for books long in print
  • Historical accuracy on historical fiction
  • Publisher’s process in choosing cover art: Interviews with graphic designers, photographers, editors, big booksellers and authors about the choice of a book cover
  • Book spines
  • Endpapers
  • Cover trends over the decades (admission: I’ve been working on this one for a long time, with the goal of a journal article, perhaps far into the future – there’s a lot to look at

I keep a backlog of post ideas, so you may not see all of this right away – but be assured I will be working with these suggestions in mind.
IF you are a cover designer, cover photographer, editor who makes cover choices, bookseller who influences choices, or author who has a book cover story, I’d love to hear from you at jacketwhys (at)

Many thanks to all who responded!


Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2009 by Jacket Whys

It occurs to me this morning, that all of this – other than covering controversy – could get stale.

So I’m asking you. What would you like to see covered ;-) here? What have I not addressed? What burning questions have you? (about book covers, of course!).

Thanks for your feedback.