The original artwork for a book cover, however awesome it may be, is sometimes scrapped before the book hits stores. There are a number of reasons for this.
In the case of THE EMERALD TABLET, by our own P. J. Hoover. a time crunch required the publisher to come up with a temporary cover for the advance reader’s copy. The ARC cover was never meant to be permanent and so the original artwork was later swapped for a photographic cover before the book was sold in stores.
The cover for THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES (HarperCollins/Greenwillow), by Jody Feldman, was a bit trickier. The novel is about a boy who competes in a contest surrounding the Golly Toy & Game Company. The ARC featured an enchanting cover illustrated by John Rocco. Feldman says, “It depicted the most visually exciting scene in the book, a team competition set inside an overgrown warehouse crammed with random items. When people saw it, they most often commented how much it resembled, in tone, Harry Potter covers.”
Advance Reader's Copy
In the end, the lovely cover had to be changed. Feldman: “There was a faction that felt my cover could be interpreted as carnival-like and didn’t capture the true excitement, action and flavor of the book. That faction was very persuasive. My editor called to explain the situation, but told me the choice was ultimately mine. While a new cover would push my release date back a month, it would also increase my opportunities for face-out exposure within bookstores. We all felt this was the smartest way to go.”
Feldman loved the “bright new colors and graphic feel” even though it was such a big change, and in the end she recognized how much the new cover would pop on bookshelves.”
It all changed again, though, with the paperback cover. “My publishing team felt we might have missed capturing the attention of some readers who would have been attracted to the fantasy feel of the original cover. (Even though The Gollywhopper Games is not a fantasy, it does have a fantastical element to it.)”
The paperback is almost a hybrid design (done by Brandon Dorman), with the bright colors of the hardback image but the whimsy of the original, ARC image. Feldman shows all three images to students during school visits. She says, “If recent student reaction is any indication, this new cover should work out just fine.”
For a whole lot more “Cover Stories” check out Melissa Walker’s blog, where you can find out how this stock photograph
became this cover for SEA CHANGE by Aimee Friedman.
To see the process for creating a book cover in detail, check out Mishaps and Adventures for the scoop on how this sketch
became this book cover for THE UNKNOWNS by Benedict Carey.
Parker Peevyhouse is curious about book covers