Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guest Blog- Cover Stories by Stacy Kramer (From What I Remember)

Apparently, it’s not unusual for a book to hit some cover hiccups along the way to publication but Valerie and I were blithely unaware of this fact from our previous experience. FROM WHAT I REMEMBER…is our second novel. Our first, KARMA BITES, a middle grade novel from Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, was a fun, magical romp and from the moment we saw the fanciful, colorful cover, we were both smitten. The cover fit the book perfectly. Things never changed from idea through inception and we were naïve enough to think that it would always be that way…

Cut to two years later. Our newest book, FROM WHAT I REMEMBER…, is readying for publication with Hyperion, our new publisher, and we start to receive cover ideas. We’re told that a photo with four teens will be the cover. Personally, I don’t love it. I find it looks too much like a movie poster and since we already know the book will be a Paramount movie I think it’s odd to see four teens on the cover who won’t actually be in the film. Valerie, on the other hand loves it. It’s one of our first disagreements on the book. Usually, we are both on the same page (pardon the pun), which is probably why we make such ideal writing partners. Two heads, one voice.

A few weeks later, we get word that a new cover has been chosen. The four teens have been jettisoned in place of a more audacious choice. I love it immediately. Valerie, not at all. In the foreground is a girl’s hand, holding a red solo cup, bright red nail polish splashed on the tip of her fingers. In the blurred background is clearly a wild party, with a Mexican flavor. I liked the bold color, the raciness, the devil-may-care of it all. I thought it captured the high-octane, slightly skewed, romantic, Mexican adventure. Valerie worried that the statement might be glorifying teen drinking. We argued over it. But, in the end, Hyperion went with the new cover. I was all for it. Valerie was disappointed.

When reports came back glowing, people were loving the cover, Valerie warmed to it. All was well. And then, we hit a huge speed bump. Barnes & Noble did not like the cover. It turns out the teen drinking angle was a problem. They didn’t like what the cover conveyed. Not to mention, they thought it misrepresented that book (which is not entirely incorrect – the book is actually a lot more fun and a lot less dangerous than that cover indicated). A cover change was made and we returned to the original cover with four teens.

In the end, I’ve come around. I’ve learned to like the cover, if not love it. And Valerie is happy. Which makes me happy. All’s well that ends well.


  1. Estelle and I both really loved FROM WHAT I REMEMBER, so it's quite a treat to get to read about the cover changes. I do remember seeing multiple cover options on Goodreads and wondering what was happening. No matter the cover, the content inside is amazing!

  2. Thanks for that interview, its really interesting to hear the different opinions on how the cover should look and how they both wanted it to be different, I can imagine some tense discussions going on at the time, I really like the cover they ended up going with.

  3. It's always so interesting to hear about the "cover process". I never thought about the underage drinking being an issue on the cover. (Maybe bc I'm 27 and love a good margarita.) I also had no idea that B&N would have a say about the cover so that's a lesson learned for me. I do think the cover pops quite nicely in the store. In fact the past 2 days it has caught my eye in two different stores. Of course, I always want to guide people toward the book because it's really a great premise with interesting twists and turns. I can't wait to see how this movie comes out.

    1. B&N has a HUGE say in covers. A book (Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison) actually ended up being pushed back a year because B&N didn't like the cover and so they had to completely re-do it. So I had an ARC of it for about a year and a half before it actually released. It's kinda insane how much power they have.