We all know that the adage about not judging a book by its cover is ridiculous. EVERY book gets judged by its cover. And while I had a lot of love for the original cover of WISH YOU WEREN’T, I knew it wasn’t conveying the excitement and sci-fi adventure that readers would find between the pages.
I started studying the covers of my favorite MG sci-fi books, concentrating on stories that were similar to WISH YOU WEREN’T, which blends sci-fi, time travel and magic. When I found covers that demanded to be picked up, I looked inside to find out who the artist was. I discovered that one of my favorite artists had illustrated covers for several books that I liked so I contacted him…and found out that he charged way more to do a cover than I had earned in royalties for the past year. So that was a no.
I kept looking, and was lucky enough on my second attempt, to find an artist who was super talented and affordable. Hooray!
Fabián Cobos was great to work with. I sent him an excerpt from Wish You Weren’t of a scene that I thought could make a cool cover along with a few NASA photos from outer space. He asked for detailed descriptions of each character, and then he sent me four rough concepts. I started getting excited because even in rough form, I could tell that he got exactly what I was looking for.
We went back and forth over the details for about two weeks, refining the look of each character, the colors, the motion. Fabián was wonderfully responsive and never took offense when I asked him to change things. As a graphic designer, I had a very specific concept in mind. But I also trusted his ability to bring everything to life and infuse his interpretation into the final art.
I’m thrilled with how the final artwork turned out, and judging from the reaction of people who’ve seen the new cover, it was a smart decision to change it. I’m so glad that I was able to get Fabián to do the illustration. His talent matched perfectly with my vision and together we were able to create something that makes kids want to read this story.
*This piece originally appeared on the Book Country website in April of 2015, but since that blog is no longer active, I’ve posted it here.