January 7, 2019

Some thousands of words about covers

So I want to share something with you today, but first, some backstory.

Recently, during a panel at Denver Comic Con, some authors discussed whether book cover artists actually read the books they illustrate. My position was that mine did, at least since I publish in the US.

I know this isn't always the case. Never was, never will be. It's how the industry works. For my first novel, Dormir amb Winona Ryder, released by a big Catalan publisher, designers sent me five proposals that were, at best, illustrations based on two-word concepts jotted down by someone who had read it. Emphasis on "at best": one was just a flower pattern. We went with a sixth proposal, just as random.

For my next book, Vallvi, I insisted (tooth and claw) on drawing the cover myself. In the end, they accepted the illustration, but went with their own design. (Left is the actual book, right is my proposal.)

This said, I have good reasons to affirm that my cover artist at Doubleday, Michael J. Windsor, reads my books before doing his job. First, I've met him and he's told me so. Second, just check out the back of the jacket for This Body's Not Big Enough.

That little thing in front of the car is a roadrunner. The roadrunner is a very minor theme in the book. No way a synopsis, even a thorough synopsis, would mention it. This is the kind of thing that tells me whether the artist has read the book or not.

And now, here's what I wanted to share: this design for the Brazilian edition of Meddling Kids is clearly by someone who has *SO* read the book.

The illustration, I'm told, is by Jefferson Costa. And I think it's my favorite design for anything I've written, ever. It's not that the looks are perfectly dark and fun, it's not just Kerri's lavish red hair and the car that really looks like a Vega Kammback Wagon (and I even like the color). I mean... let's zoom into some details:

That little Kerri there seems to be reading something longer than a mysterious note to the BSDC. I'd say she's reading a love letter. (Also, check out the six-limbed wheezies!)

A figure lurking from the *round* attic window of Deboën Mansion. That's a very accurate rendition of my words.

And that's Pierce in Andy's hand. What can I say. Bravo, Brazil. Hope you enjoy the book as much as the artist seems to have.