Laughing at The Haters

One of my most recent reads was The Haters by Jesse Andrews. Andrews is also the author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. While I hadn’t read his previous novel, I had watched the movie on HBO and thought The Haters might be something I’d like. I had just finished reading some serious books, and I was looking for something fun to read. The Haters book blurb sounded like just the book I needed. Basically, three teens bust out of a lame jazz camp and go on an epic road trip in order to find some gigs for the new band they’ve decided to form. They don’t have a band name yet. They don’t even take along their cell phones. Just two guys and girl, trying to make music that doesn’t suck.

This book was better than I expected, and it kind of caught me by surprise. It was written in such a smart format and was laugh-out-loud funny (seriously- my laughing woke up my husband more than once as I was reading this in bed at night!). This is what I want John Green’s books to be! Instead of pretentious, philosophical teens and pages and pages of book without a plot, Jesse Andrews’ teenagers were smart, but in a goofy, true-to-their-age way. There was a plot and ridiculous twists and turns and real conversations and real consequences. There was still a manic-pixie dream girl who didn’t really show any growth, but I would still recommend this book. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I held out on rating it five stars because some of the content was a bit too mature for YA Lit, in my opinion. There was recreational drug use, sex while on drugs, and plenty of profanity and crude humor. That being said, I still look forward to reading more books by this smart author.

 

Somehow, just weeks later, I stumbled across this cool blog post about how the book’s cover was designed. I liked seeing the progression of ideas, and reading about the reasoning behind the artistic choices. The artists played with microphones, drum sets, cassette tapes, famous singers, bright colors, and bold, graphic fonts. However, I was a bit surprised with the end result. When I was reading The Haters on my Kindle, the cover was orange and had little icons of people that were clearly the band. I liked this cover and the humor in it. It matched the simple green cover that I had seen for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl nicely. But in the design post, they went in a different direction and chose a cover with headphones and dials that looked like a frowny face. To me, I didn’t see the correlation between these two covers. If I had seen the yellow cover, I’m not sure that I would have given the book a chance. Hmm, I guess that’s why books re-brand themselves with so many different covers! Readers tend to judge their book covers more than we’d like to admit. 

How about you? Which cover design for The Haters do you like better?

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Merry Christmas to Me!

mctome

I got to open an exciting package yesterday from Blurb (a book printing company that I highly recommend). Blurb has been having deal after great deal after great deal since Thanksgiving. I took advantage of a 40% off coupon code and printed copies of my (very rough) works-in-progress. I was amazed at how awesome my books looked when I took them out of the box. I keep picking them up and admiring them. They look so professional. I feel quite proud for having completed a project, or rather, TWO projects. Merry Christmas to me!

I hope your Christmas is joyful and book-filled.

Cover Art

coverartI recently took a break from editing my book and worked on some cover art. Instead of “borrowing” images from the internet, I decided to do some original artwork.

My novel is a historical thriller that intertwines the story of Queen Elizabeth I with a modern tale, complete with puzzles. I wanted my cover to look modern, but hint at the history that is included within.

First, I printed off some reference pictures. Queen Elizabeth I is pretty iconic, so I thought her image would look great on a cover.

Next, I sketched out a design and colored it in. Afterwards, I scanned it into my computer so I could play around with the image.

I tried out different layouts and fonts. I want the cover to be clean, but something that would interest me if I saw it on a bookshelf. As of yet, I haven’t hit on the winning design, but I’m enjoying the process. Now that I look at it, I think readers may get the wrong impression about the book – the Queen Elizabeth sections are much shorter than the modern day parts. I’ll have to rethink this and keep playing around. I also felt like my font choices were pretty limited. I’ll have to download some new ones soon.

What about a book’s design makes you want to pick it up off the shelf?