Children’s Books, Picture Books
Welcome to my weekly guest blog series:
Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children
This week I’m featuring Shana Gorian, author of Rosco the Rascal series.
A Visual Step-by-Step of a Cover Redesign
I had a problem. While reviews for my three chapter books for kids ages 6-9 were overwhelmingly positive from kids, parents, teachers, even librarians—without fail, my book sales just weren’t hitting the mark.
After much discussion and research, I knew it wasn’t the writing or the editing, or even a lack of promoting them that was behind it. Instead, I realized I had a very simple problem—my book covers just didn’t look like the other book covers in my market.
I realized my covers lacked mystery, emotion, danger, and action, all staples of the covers of today’s best selling chapter and middle grade books. My covers were mainly posed pictures of a cast of characters. They didn’t make you wonder what’s ‘just around the corner’ or make you want to open the book to see what would happen next.
My solution was simple—to have them completely re-illustrated. Yes, it was going to cost money, but I was determined. I found a new illustrator, Josh Addessi, http://joshaddessi.blogspot.com/ and so far I’ve been thrilled with the results.
Here, I’d like to take you on a short, visual, step-by-step journey of the project.
Book Cover Redo 1:
Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp, the original cover spread
While this one did have some action, it’s unclear what’s really going on, and the faces lack emotion. The watercolor style is also a problem.
New cover, initial sketch: Despite the problems, I thought this scene was a great way to depict the setting of the summer camp using a scene from the book, but that it could be enhanced.
The second draft: This was to show the color as well as a few details. We decided to use the original back cover layout for each book so that my designer would be able to drop the same text into the same spot, saving me money in change fees.
The final cover: realistic, exciting, clearer and with greater dimension, plus a touch of mystery.
Book Cover Redo 2:
Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, the original cover
The original cover depicted the main characters, Mandy, Rosco, and James, smiling at the camera. There isn’t much to clue the reader in on what might happen in the story. Nothing evokes that need to open it up to see what happens!
New cover, initial sketch: We have mystery—a scene out of the book in which the kids are lost in the corn maze—and an interesting layout full of movement.
The second draft, in rough color. I asked Josh to brighten the cornstalks with more greens and yellows.
Third draft: Here is the nearly finished version. I love the realistic details, the colors, and how the large cornstalk will become the book’s spine. Rosco is turned to a slightly different angle so that we see more of him and his grin is friendlier than in the first sketch, lightening the mood just that necessary little bit to keep it from being ‘too scary’ (since the age range for these books are 6+, after all. My books are all very G-rated).
Final cover: a light outline on most of the text makes it very easy to read, despite the colorful background.
I’m over the moon with the way it turned out! My other book, Rosco the Rascal In the Land of Snow, will be re-illustrated next, so please stay tuned!
If you’d like to receive a FREE PDF version of the first two chapters of Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, please visit my web site at shanagorian.com and sign up for my mailing list, and I will email it to you. By signing up, you’ll also be notified of giveaways and special promotions, new releases, and other freebies!
The pumpkin patch book is really fun for autumn, and I’ve been told by several teachers that it’s great as a read-aloud book in classrooms as well as fun and easy for parents to read with a child at home, one chapter per night. Check out the reviews here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NS2F5BQ
Do you agree that a book cover filled with action, emotion and/or suspense appeals to kids today? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Shana Gorian is the author of the Rosco the Rascal series, chapter books in which a sometimes rascally German shepherd uses his true heroic nature to help his pals, James and Mandy, find adventure and overcome obstacles. Find her at www.shanagorian.com
Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer. He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.
If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:
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