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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: book design, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Books by design

By Maggie Belnap


Despite the old saying, a book’s cover is perhaps the strongest factor in why we pick up a book off the shelf or pause during our online web shopping. Of course, we all like to think that we are above such a judgmental mentality, but the truth is that a cover design can make — or break — a book’s fortunes.

Brady McNamara, Senior Designer at Oxford University Press, admitted that designing book covers isn’t as easy as one might think.

“To create a book jacket,” McNamara explained, “You have to first understand book’s concept. I have about 75 books at a time to design jackets for. That’s just too much. To help, I have about 10-12 really great freelance designers who really know what OUP is all about.” He continued, “I also always try one or two new freelancers each go around. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. That’s kind of what happened to Dog Whistle Politics.”

Ian Haney Lopez’s book, examining how politicians use veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the rich and threaten the middle class, is a difficult concept to capture. “It was a particularly tough cover to design: the subject just doesn’t lend itself to one concrete image,” McNamara agreed. He and his freelancer toiled over numerous cover drafts.

Dog Whistle Politics Design 1:

McNamara: “This is the initial sketches shown by our freelancer, I really liked [the] 1950’s clip art man. It had a kitchiness and style typical to ‘the conservative establishment.’ However, the cover review panel (editor and marketing manager) thought the starburst frame seemed out of place, like vintage advertising.”

First desing - Dog Whistle politics

Dog Whistle Politics Design 2:

McNamara: “In another sketch, the designer used a black background and surrounded our clip art guy with symbols of the economy and arrows illustrating its downfall. It was arbitrary and yet too obvious; just didn’t feel right.”

Design two - Dog Whistle Politics

Dog Whistle Politics Design 3:

McNamara: “[The] editor suggested that an actual image of a dog could work. The sketch was submitted but not shown. I made a personal call that it was too gimmicky and distractingly odd. It was weird, and a not funny weird.”

Design three - Dog Whistle Politics

Dog Whistle Politics Design 4:

“I finally took the design on myself,” says McNamara, laughing slightly as he remembers the process. “I had a pretty good idea of what we needed by now. It really wasn’t the freelancer’s fault, again, it’s just one of those books that is tough to design for. I tried an image of a bull dog and after the author mentioned a dog whistle, I incorporated that into the title. Nothing more literal I guess. The bulldog turned out to be too cute.”

Design Four - Dog Whistle Politics

Dog Whistle Politics Design 5:

McNamara: “I tried a more menacing Doberman in black and white—ears pricked up as if hearing the whistle. I also brought a serious tone back to the design by using just red, gray, and black type. This was finally approved. Not the most esoteric design, but it stands out on the shelf – if only for those pointy ears.”

Final Design - Dog Whistle Politics

While McNamara struggled with the concept for Dog Whistle Politics, design is a collaborative process.

James Cook, an Oxford University Press editor, discussed the pressing dilemmas of the design process: “I know the book best and worked with it the longest, so I understand the themes and perhaps have some ideas about how they can be illustrated.” He serves as a translator to the designer from the book itself and the author. “I talk with the author and try to relay his or her wishes to the designer, while also making sure the book and title are being represented. A cover needs to align, interpret, and reflect the books themes accurately, while also being attractive to a buyer.”

One of his titles, Coming Up Short, a book that sheds light on what it really means to be a working class young adult with all its economic insecurity and deepening inequality, also went through a number of cover jackets before finding the right fit.

Coming Up Short Design 1:

“One of the first designs was a girl in a skirt, sitting on a swing in the park,” remembers Cook. “It certainly portrayed what we wanted, but also had a sexual predator vibe as well.”

“I didn’t have a good feeling about the first cover I saw,” the author Jennifer Silva confessed. “I thought it had a kind of Lolita vibe when mixed with the title of the book. I expressed my concern, and it turned out that others at Oxford agreed.”

Swing design - Coming Up Short

“Jen was great to work with,” Cook acknowledged. “Sometimes it becomes difficult going back and forth trying to satisfy everyone’s wishes while also finding a good portrayal of the book. Sometimes authors just don’t want certain colors or schemes in the cover, and it’s my job to make sure they are heard.”

Coming Up Short Design 2:

After several other drafts, everyone agreed on a jacket: saturated yellow with multiple ladders.

“I love it,” raved Silva. “It feels young, modern, and hip. It’s not too literal, and also looks great on a bookshelf.” When asked about if the experience of jacket designing was frustrating or stressful, Jen waves the issue away saying, “No, it was fun to go back and forth!”

Final Design - Coming Up Short

Not all books are as design-intensive as Dog Whistle Politics and Coming Up Short. Cook says, “Some academic books are easy because you can follow a certain style that is well known and easily recognized as being a textbook.”

However, there are always a few books along the way that keep designers and editors nimble.

Maggie Belnap is a Social Media Intern at Oxford University Press. She attends Amherst College.

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2. Harvard Experts Confirm Book Bound With Human Skin

Experts at Harvard have confirmed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de lame is bound in human skin. They are 99 percent sure that their tests are correct. Here is more about the tests from the Harvard blog: "Microscopic samples were taken from various locations on the binding, and were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting, which identifies proteins to create a “peptide mass fingerprint” (PMF) allowing analysts to identify the source." The university also concluded that two other books which were suspected to be made of human skin were actually bound in sheepskin.

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3. Water is Life Designs Book That Can Filter Water

Nonprofit Water is Life has a new book available that not only educates readers on safe water drinking tips, but also acts as a tool to purify water and kill deadly waterborne diseases. "The Drinkable Book" is designed to educate people who are unaware of the risks of contaminated water and at the same time serve as a functional object that can help readers do something about it. The book uses technology invented by chemists at Carnegie Mellon University. We've embedded a video with more details above.

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4. The art of book art

Whew, it’s good to be back on schedule after the days and days of being down while Typepad suffered a denial of service attack. Why are there such creeps on the Internet?

Ian Miller artWe writers spend most of our time working with and on our words, but there comes a time when the work of an artist enters the picture. We Indie authors (the PC term for self-published) can’t usually afford to commission the work of a top artist—but that can’t stop us from appreciating amazing art.

To that end, take a moment to look at examples of Ian Miller's Awe-Inspiring Fantasy/Horror Book Art. I can’t begin to imagine the time and talent it takes to execute images such as these. Enjoy.

Ray

© 2014 Ray Rhamey

Design-MotherDaughter

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5. Harvard Discovers Old Library Books Bound in Human Skin

harvardlibraryHarvard University recently discovered three books in its collection that are bound in human hide.

The details make it sound more like the elements of a novel than of real life. One book was found in the Langdell Law Library, another in the Countway Library of Medicine, and yet another in the Houghton Collection. One book deals with medieval law, another Roman poetry and the other French philosophy. The book Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias… doesn’t jump out as bound in human flesh, as The Harvard Crimson reports. Check it out:

The book’s 794th and final page includes an inscription in purple cursive: ‘the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace.’

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6. Paperback Boxed Set Design Revealed for 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Vintage and Anchor Books art director John Gall has revealed the design for the paperback edition of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.

We’ve embedded a photograph above–what do you think?

The New York Times had more details: “Gall, the art director for Vintage, designed the paperbacks to be visible through a clear plastic box, fitting together to create one image. The list price is $29.95, and Vintage will initially print 50,000 copies.” (Image link via Sarah Weinman)

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7. The Cover Evolution of Me Earl and the Dying Girl

Me Earl and the Dying Girl is the finniest book I have read this year. And when I say book I don't just mean young adult I mean adult books as well. This is why I knew I need to find someone who had the whit and edginess of the story to design the cover. That lucky man turned out to be Ben Wiseman. Ben up until recently had only designed book covers for adult books.  An impressive list of adult titles I might add. Such as...









First let me tell you a little about,  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Up until senior year, Greg has maintained total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time—when not playing video games and avoiding Earl’s terrifying brothers— making movies, their own versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are f*@$ing terrible, but he and Earl don’t make them for other people. Until Rachel.Rachel has leukemia, and Greg’s mom gets the genius idea that Greg should befriend her. Against his bet

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8. What If Classic Novels Had 8-Bit Covers?

Over at SlackStory, artist Oliver Miller has created 8-bit covers for famous books, turning classic novels into pixel-paintings that look like video games from the 1980s.

We’ve embedded Miller’s cover for J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Two Towers above, what do you think about his computerized take on the fantasy novel? The image above built upon Wizard by Radpants at Make Pixel Art and Towers by Mildtoast at Make Pixel Art. If you like his 8-bit art, Miller also illustrated the first lines of some famous short stories.

Here’s more from the artist: “I selected the novels above, not as a list of the Greatest Novels of All Time, or as a list of My Favorite Novels of All Time, but because they were (mostly) books that I love whose covers I knew how to illustrate. Full confession: I have not read An American Tragedy, and I think that Theodore Dreiser is a boring writer. I just liked the title. And I started reading Moby-Dick (“Call me Ishmael”) and Gravity’s Rainbow (“A screaming comes across the sky”) but I did not finish reading them. Someday I will finish reading them. I read all the others.”

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9. Fahrenheit 451 Cover Design Contest Winner Revealed

Matthew Owen has won the  Fahrenheit 451 cover design contest from Simon & Schuster and the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The winning cover (embedded above) was revealed at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Owen, who hails from Little Rock, AR, created a cover that beat out more than 360 submissions. Both the Simon & Schuster staff and the Bradbury estate participated in judging the entries.

continued…

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10. Fahrenheit 451 Design Includes Match & Striking Paper

Combining a matchbook and a classic novel, designer Elizabeth Perez created a thought-provoking edition of Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 for the Austin Creative Department.

Her design made the front page of Reddit, earning more than 400,000 views in a couple days. What do you think? Here’s more from the designer:

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel about a dystopian future where books are outlawed and firemen burn any house that contains them. The story is about supressing ideas, and about how television destroys interest in reading literature. I wanted to spread the book-burning message to the book itself. The book’s spine is screen-printed with a matchbook striking paper suface, so the book itself can be burned.

(Link via)

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11. New Literary Agency

dede_DSC8434fdcdsignature

I personally do not know Dede Cummings, but I thought you would want to informed when a new agency opens.  Here is a little bit about Dede, her background, and what she brings to the table.

Dede Cummings started her literary career as a book designer at Little Brown & Company. Prior to working at Little Brown, she worked at David R. Godine in Boston as a designer and production editor. Design is something she loves to do, and she still designs covers and interiors of books; most notably, she is a six-time winner of the New England Book Award for a number of authors’ works, including Slow Learner by Thomas Pynchon, Voices From The Moon by Andre Dubus, a reissue of Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan, four books of poetry by Mary Oliver, and others.

She is also a publicist and literary agent for emerging writers. She’s been coined as one of the most accessible and yet well-connected agents starting out in the business. Because she is an author herself, she understands both sides of the publishing process. Dede is a 2010 graduate of the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Education course “Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Non-Fiction,” under the direction of Julie Silver, M.D. Her first book, Living With Crohn’s & Colitis: A Comprehensive Naturopathic Guide for Complete Digestive Wellness, was published in 2010 by Hatherleigh Press and distributed by Random House. She has another cookbook (Cooking Well:IBS) under the same imprint, and her third book—Questions for the Dalai Lama—is due out in 2014.

Dede holds a BA from Middlebury College in Literature where she was also a poetry contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and was the recipient of the Mary Dunning Thwing Award. In 1991, she received an award to study with Hayden Carruth at the Bennington Writers’ Workshop. Dede has had her poetry published in Mademoiselle magazine and she was a Discovery/The Nation poetry semi-finalist, and she was most recently published by ConnotationPress for her poetry.

Dede has attended the National Publicity Summit in NYC where she made media contacts at this premier event. She is excited to work with writers — from Children’s picture books, YA fiction and non-fiction, to adult trade books, and she will help you think about all aspects of publishing from pitch to publicity, and even self-publishing. In its first year, the Dede Cummings Literary Agency has sold a number of books to the trade, most notably, “Wonder Woman Isn’t Bulletproof,” by Shannon Galpin, to Daniela Rapp at St. Martin’s Press.

Dede is interested in literary fiction, both adult and YA, Children’s illustrated books, self-help memoir, health and wellness. Submissions can be emailed to her at dcdesignteamvt@gmail.com  and usually take 6-10 weeks for review. Self- or co-publishing writers may also contact Dede at this email.

Dede Cummings, literary agent, author, publishing + design
West Brattleboro, Vermont  05301    802-380-1121 http://dedecummingsdesigns.com  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Tumblr  |  Pinterest Follow my book’s blog 
Talk tomorrow,
Kathy

Filed under: Agent, need to know, opportunity, Publishers and Agencies Tagged: BA Middlebury College in Literature, book design, dcdesign, Dede Cummings, Little Brown & Company

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12. Covers make a difference--a big difference

Sexy cover 150WSelf-published novelist R.L. Mathewson initially published Playing for Keeps on Smashwords with a plain blue and white cover, but saw a significant sales spike in the iBookstore once she added a steamy Shutterstock photo to her cover

 

 

 

Sexy cover sales spike-300W

Smashwords founder Mark Coker had this to say:

“The new covers caught the readers eye and it helped clear up any confusion they may have had about the books. The new cover along with the price helped the books sell. I would say that you should avoid covers that cause confusion, are horrible to look at, too plain, or too over the top. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good cover, but you do need something that can help draw attention to your book and intrigue someone to take a chance on your work.”

For what it's worth.

Ray

Design-NobodyKnows

© 2013 Ray Rhamey

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13. Book cover design

Crrreative logo 100WIn addition to editing and writing, I do book design, too, both covers and interiors. I've worked for a small publishing company for a couple of years, and the occasional independent author comes along. Here are the latest of the latter.

Hookernomics cover Hookernomics is a title suggested by an FTQ reader (whose name I've lost) is non-fiction, ebook-only cover. It's about the business of sex, and I thought the art of a red light worked pretty well for catching attention and lending subtext.

Collected works coverCollected Works is a private book, not available for sale, and at the far end of the spectrum from the first book. It is a book of poetry published in memory of my client's mother. I learned that she had, long ago, kept poems in what she called her "lavendar box," and that was the thought that led to this cover. It's a hard-cover book, and the cover is a "dust cover" with flaps on the inside.

Collected works interior spreadIt was a very short book--there weren't a lot of poems--and many of the poems were about one page long. So the interior design for Collected Works uses spreads, graphics, and white space to display her art.

Kosher Sutra front cover jpgLastly, a lively, funny "food memoir" by a Jewish author. What else but Kosher Sutra would do? The art I found foreshadows the book nicely--lively, fun, and food (there are some delicious-sounding recipes in it).

Samples of other full cover designs are here.

For what it's worth,

Ray

© 2012 Ray Rhamey

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14. Book cover design workshop coming, maybe a book, too

On Sunday, August 3, I'll be Willamette graphicdoing a workshop at the Willamette Writers Conference on Book Cover Design for Less than $50.

The workshop will cover these things:

  • Tools: the free GIMP image manipulation program
  • Resources: the best stock image resources and free typography resources
  • Considerations: the goals of your design, things to watch out for
  • Techniques: using single images, manipulating color and images for effect, combining multiple images, and more. I'll show the original art used, the type selected, and the process of putting them together for a number of books, including fiction, memoir, and non-fiction.

So I'm building a Powerpoint presentation on the above right now and I got to thinking--maybe people who visit FtQ would be interested in a book covering those topics.

The book would be an ebook, a PDF at the minimum, maybe a Kindle version. It would cover all the topics listed for the workshop, and be illustrated with many many color examples. I think a good price would be $2.99 or $3.99.

So please give me some insight with the poll below--you can enter multiple answers.

Many thanks, and I hope to see you at the workshop.

What's your interest in designing a book cover?

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15. The Storytellers Cover Reveal & Giveaway

storytellers.ebook.600

Synopsis:

Four storytellers
One ancient demon
No way out…
Four women who call themselves The Storytellers have gathered one hot August evening to tell tales, as they have for years. But on this night, they unknowingly evoke the powers of an ancient Mayan idol that breathes real life into their stories. The Mayan idol isn’t the only ancient being awakened. A power-hungry demon is determined to see the women fail and become enslaved to him forever.
Now the women’s lives depend on surviving each other’s stories, defeating the demon and solving a centuries-old mystery.
If they survive until The End untold wealth is theirs. But some stories have a life of their own…

ADD ON GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18289410-the-storytellers

OMG! The road to this cover has been hilarious! There was the too-chicklity version the hands-down-the-pants version, the oh-kiss-her-already version and then…..the version that won….the Quentin Tarantino version! Cover design is an adventure for every writer. It’s near and dear to my heart because I loved working in graphics for decades and there’s lots to do here at what I lovingly call the fiction factory. I make the coffee and the popcorn, (you all know that :) ) …I’m the janitor….tech support….I’m the buddy in the cubicle next to me who drives me nuts and chews my clock….AND…..I’m the book trailer gal, word maven, wine drinker, coach, and book designer. LOL! Next to writing, book cover design has got to be one of my favorite jobs as an indie––in a terrifying but fun sort of way. I love designing book trailers too but the covers are where I usually get to see my characters for the first time and that’s always magical. I hope you enjoy them. But enough about the book cover journey……

Click here for the giveaway!
Up for grabs? 5 e-arcs of THE STORYTELLERS

Get in on the special contest!
For every 100 adds Laura gets on goodreads for THE STORYTELLERS before the release (September 10th), she will reveal 5 pages of the book early!

If the book hits 600 adds before the release, Laura will release a bonus scene! She will also choose random people who use the tag #THESTORYTELLERS on twitter and facebook, or adds the book to their TBR list, to receive swag!

Goodreads link:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18289410-the-storytellers


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16. Q&A with Designers

Greetings from Melbourne! Well, Geelong, to be exact. I've been here since Friday morning, and am slowly getting over jetlag. I'm staying with old friends who used to live in NY and am having a great time--getting a taste of what normal life is like, combined with a bit of sightseeing, too. Today I'm off to Melbourne to have lunch with author Karen Healey and her Australian editors at Allyn & Unwin.

Before I left NYC, I arranged a Q&A with two of our fantastic Associate Art Directors at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Thank you so much to Tracy Shaw and Alison Impey for answering some questions! Note: they both answered these questions independently, but I loved arranging this so it seemed more like a conversation--I thought it especially telling that they answered question five in the exact same way.


1) Please list five books you've designed in the last two years.
Alison:
The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky; Huntress by Malinda Lo; You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin; Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Reckless by Cornelia Funke.


Tracy:
Bunheads by Sophie Flack, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, The Daughters series by Joanna Philbin, Jane by April Lindner, The Duff by Kody Keplinger

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17. Best of Student Work 2011 – Part 2: The Pratt Show

Mozart at the Beach from Christee Curran on Vimeo.

Oh, the Pratt Show . . . it’s hard to believe that it’s been a full year since all the momentous graduation-related events were happening to me!  It was great to be on the other side of things last week… browsing new artists, sipping champagne and catching up with old classmates, without the stress of having my own work in the show.

This year’s class certainly didn’t disappoint in talent!  I was so proud to see many familiar faces represented at the show, from Sarah Mimo‘s swoonworthy clocks, to new textile prints from Alexa MacFarlane and new comics from our former Putnam intern, Kris Mukai.  I’m also jumping for joy to showcase Christee Curran‘s video storyboard project (above). How adorable is that kid at the beach?!

In addition to old friends, there were also a few new faces at the show.  Here were my favorite kids’/book related discoveries:

1. Alexandria Marie Compo / I loved her quirky animal characters, and combination of digital and hand-crafted work. In fact, we were all so taken with her 3-D figures that they almost “walked” away with us!  Very well suited for the pages of a trade hardcover picture book.

2. Michelle Lynch / Michelle’s range of work is crazy &nd

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18. How Much Do Book Designers Earn?

According to the anonymous job site Glassdoor.com, the average salary for a book designer in the New York area is $58,924 a year.

The site also breaks out figures from specific companies. Below, we’ve made a list of what book designers at three book publishing companies make–all the figures drawn from anonymous users at Glassdoor.com.

Follow this link to find out how much book editors earn and this link to find out how much book publicists earn. For more details on book publicist salaries, keep reading…

continued…

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19. I just finished illustration a children’s book full of...







I just finished illustration a children’s book full of dozens of spaceships, and I wish I had this book to use as a resource when I was doing my initial concept work.

Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss collects the art that originally graced the covers of paperback scifi books from the 70s and 80s. Foss’s designs are both strangely organic and severely industrial.

The book features forewords from Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky whose collaboration on the comic book The Incal directly influenced the film The Fifth Element.

I’m keeping this on my reference shelf for the next time I need to draw dozens of spaceships.

Images © Chris Foss, courtesy ChrisFossArt.com







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20. Kern Type: Practice Publishing the Old Fashioned Way

Think you have what it takes to be a book designer? Test your skills with the addictive Kern Type game.

The free game gives you a word, testing your ability to evenly space, or “kern” the letters, an old fashioned skill from the days of the printing press. Even though modern printers don’t physically lay out letters on a printing press, kerning is still very important for modern designers as they straighten letters in digital space.

Adobe’s glossary provides the simplest definition of kerning: “The adjustment of horizontal space between individual characters in a line of text. Adjustments in kerning are especially important in large display and headline text lines. Without kerning adjustments, many letter combinations can look awkward. The objective of kerning is to create visually equal spaces between all letters so that the eye can move smoothly along the text.” (Via Book Bench)

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21. Interactive Digital Book Cover Changes at Your Touch

What if your book cover could interact with your reader? Drag your mouse over the book cover embedded above to see what the future might look like.

UK Publisher Walker Books just unveiled that cover for Daylight Savings by Edward Hogan. Impressed by the design, literary agent Jonny Geller tweeted a great question: “Better than a book trailer?”

Here’s more about the book: “Today, in fact right this second, the clocks are going back an hour. For most of us, this is a fantastic day as it means we get an extra hour to stay wrapped under the duvet, safe in our beds. But for one of the main characters in Edward Hogan’s debut young adult novel, Daylight Saving, this time of year brings nothing but fear… it’s a thriller ghost story by a new voice in YA fiction that will have you utterly gripped. We can also tell you that this very night, when the clocks go back, is one that fills the characters with dread.” (via Jane L.)

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22. Slated: Getting it Covered

by Teri TerryIt has been a year with a lot to smile about: the last twelve months have seen an agent, and not just any agent but Caroline Sheldon; a publishing deal for Slated with Megan Larkin and Orchard Books; and finally: a long-awaited moment. An actual book cover!!Read on, and there just might be a chance to read Slated before the 3rd May publication date...One of the most exciting moments

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23. The Blog Is BACK!!!

It’s finally time to resurrect my blog from its long hiatus!  I’ve actually missed being on Walking In Public… digging up blog content has always kept me engaged with the publishing/art/design industries, and it motivates me to write and draw regularly.  So, I’ll be back on the blog for a long while, with all-new features and updates on my journey to success in the children’s book world!

What have you missed while I’ve been away from the blog? Here are the best things that happened, circa 2011:

Annie’s Top 5 2011 Professional Developments

1. Illustrated and designed the Little Farmer app.

You may remember that I began a project working on a toddler game app, called Little Farmer, back in May.  Well, after months of illustrating, designing and developing, we released it for sale in the iTunes store in October!  It has been a really wonderful experience working with a talented developer, Anita Hirth, to create artwork that children can interact with, right there on any iPhone.  There’s much more to say about the process of creating an app, and my future in the digital world… but those are subjects for bigger posts!

In the meantime, purchase the app here, or watch the video trailer, above!

2. Joined the Children’s Book Council’s Early Career Committee.

I’ve been attending events for young adults in the publishing industry for awhile, so it was exciting to be asked to represent Penguin Young Readers (and designers everywhere) on the Children’s Book Council’s Early Career Committee.  This organization creates opportunities for those in the first 5 years of the children’s book industry to network, learn, and become more involved in their fields… so their mission is right up my alley!  Since becoming a part of the team this summer, I’ve had a TON of fun making great friends with 20-somethings in different houses, through planning creative programming.  I’m also having a blast designing fliers, making good use of my design time and talents.

If you haven’t already, make sure to catch up on the CBC and ECC’s fabulous social media enterprises – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

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24. Free Customized ‘Go Away, I’m Reading’ Book Covers

Wish you could tune out the world while reading your favorite book? The free “Go Away, I’m Reading” book covers will send a blunt message, customized for your book.

Erin Bowman, Sarah Enni and Traci Neithercott created the simple but inspiring dust jackets pictured above–what cover will you pick?

They have built “Climbing Mount Doom” for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy,  “In Narnia BRB” for readers of C. S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia, “At Hogwarts” for aficionados of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series, “In Forks, Send Help” for fans of Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight series and finally, “In the Arena, BRB” for readers of Suzanne CollinsHunger Games series.

Here’s more about printing: “These covers will fit the traditionally-sized YA book. Take the PDFs to your local FedEx or Staples and get them printed on tabloid paper (11x17in). We suggest a matte cardstock (you could print on something glossy, but sometimes that causes light glares at certain angles and you want people to be able to read that Go Away message without incident). Choose a weight between 60-80lb for the paper. Anything lighter and the page will be too thin, anything heavier and folding it around your book will be difficult.”

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New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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25. Your Words Need Good Design


A well-marked document design book
this writer loves. | Elizabeth King Humphrey

I believe that my eyes are heavily involved in the tactileexperience of reading. Sure, I love to handle a new book or to upload a neweBook. There is that tactile. But my eyes want in on the game, too.

While the words definitely matters, keep in mind that the design of a book also matters.

 As a graduate student in creative writing, I insisted onalso taking a document design class. It was clear to me that regardless ofwhere my books ended up, I wanted them to be aesthetically pleasing. I want mywriting to use beautiful fonts. I want my future books to look good. (Yes, I do believe that you can judge a book's design by its cover.)

And I want to be able to explain that to whoever is spendingthe time to layout my book.

A few months ago, I was hired to copyedit. But one of theelements of copyediting often overlooked is the job of ensuring the manuscript's overall consistency.

I spent hours ensuring that there were the correct number ofspaces between a chapter heading and the first paragraph. I looked at samplesof previous publications to provide the correct bold or italics placement. I eradicated two spaces after each period, if necessary.

When the design works, you don’t notice it.  But when if fails, you probably notice it and itimpacts your enjoyment of the book. Your eyes catch the inconsistencies.

But design also helps by making books more inviting.

I checked a book out of the library recently. At home wealready owned two books dealing with the same subject. The library book wascolorful and the layout was accessible. The reason we hadn't consulted the other books was their layouts are flat. In the library book, the designer had festooned the pageswith illustrations that grounded me.

The book invited me into its pages. The words spoke to me. And my eyes were happy.

Look at your bookshelves, what books invite you into theirpages?

Elizabeth King Humphrey writes and edits in coastal NorthCarolina. Generally she loves reading books that are good AND have good design.


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