IndieNext

Indie Next List

December edition

The American Booksellers Association has announced the selections for the December Indie Next list, drawn from the recommendations of indie booksellers throughout the US. You can request many of these titles on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the ABA site

If you are a bookseller, you can nominate titles for the Indie Next list via NetGalley, and receive special access to new galleys via the Digital White Box program. Sign up today!

Additional Indie Next titles:

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel, by Louise Erdrich
(Harper, 9780062694058)

The City of Brass: A Novel, by S.A. Chakraborty
(Harper Voyager, 9780062678102)

Year One: Chronicles of the One, Book 1, by Nora Roberts
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250122957)

Reservoir 13: A Novel, by Jon McGregor
(Catapult, 9781936787708)

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us: Essays, by Hanif Abdurraqib
(Two Dollar Radio, 9781937512651)

Improvement: A Novel, by Joan Silber
(Counterpoint, 9781619029606)

Mrs. Caliban, by Rachel Ingalls
(New Directions, 9780811226691)

Signal Loss, by Garry Disher
(Soho Crime, 9781616958596)

Divider

Celebrate Picture Book Month with Lerner Publishing

 

What Is Possible in a Picture Book?

By Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books Editorial Director Carol Hinz

We all know what a picture book is.

But what is a picture book meant to do?

One answer to that question is that it should catch children’s interest and entertain them. While I don’t disagree with this statement, neither do I believe it is the whole truth. Picture books inform, they delight, and they offer us endless opportunities to look at our world from fresh perspectives.

I’m a believer that while a picture book must speak to a child, a child needn’t be the book’s only audience—reading a picture book can be a powerful experience for a person of any age. As an editor, my time spent working on picture books has made me increasingly curious about what can be accomplished within the confines of this format . . . and to look for possibilities to break the format’s “rules” every once in a while.

I’d like to spotlight a few forthcoming picture books from Carolrhoda Books and Millbrook Press to explore the question of what’s possible with a picture book.

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday
by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne

Ana wants tickets to the amusement park for her birthday . . . and instead her abuela gives her a chicken. It turns out that this is no ordinary chicken! It doesn’t like chicken feed, it’s too busy to lay eggs, and it’s building SOMETHING in Ana’s backyard.

In this picture book, a chicken is also a construction whiz, and a gift that isn’t what our main character wanted turns out to be even better than she could have imagined. The illustrations include lots of fun details that encourage repeat readings.

Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families
by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

What kind of families do animal babies have? All different kinds! Main text written in rhyming verse brings together a wide range of animal babies, from the sweet to the fierce. Meet a wolf pup cared for by the pack, a young orangutan snuggling with its mother high in a tree, a poison dart frog riding piggyback on its dad, a shark pup going solo, and much more.

This book offers a look at the many kinds of families found in the animal kingdom, and it gives us a chance to look at adorable animal babies in a fresh way!

Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones
by Sara Levine, illustrated by T.S Spookytooth

What dinosaur would you be if you had a bony ridge rising from the back of your skull and three horns poking up from the front? A triceratops!

This book makes the most of a Q&A format to show readers just how much our own skeletons have in common with those of some of the best-known dinosaurs. And it ends by highlighting the scientific connection between dinosaurs and birds. (Yes, birds!)

This book may just change how you see dinosaurs . . . and modern-day birds!

Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

A picture book can make us laugh, it can teach us something new, and sometimes it can help us join a conversation.

How often do you talk to the kids in your life about race? A little? A lot? In this book, Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, have a conversation that all of us are welcome to join. They imagine themselves as fifth-grade classmates who are stuck together working on a poetry project. In the course of 33 poems, they reflect on their own experiences of race while exploring relatable topics such as hair, recess, family dinners, and much more. Artwork by acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko beautifully shows how two people who begin the book as near-strangers can end it as friends.

For more thoughts on picture books, check out these blog posts:

Greetings from PictureBookLand

How Picture Book Pagination Keeps Readers Turning the Pages

The Element of Surprise in Nonfiction Picture Books

Divider
Librarian's Choice

Librarians' Choice: top 10

Librarians’ Choice has announced the Top 10 titles for November 2017 that librarians across Australia love. You can request or wish for the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the Librarians’ Choice site.

If you are a librarian in Australia, you can nominate titles for the Librarians’ Choice list via NetGalley!

Divider

Top Ten Books from the UK – Dec ’17 & Jan ’18

A very exciting Books of the Month roundup comes at a very exciting time for NetGalley UK. As I hope you’re aware, www.netgalley.co.uk went live on Wednesday – our new home for UK members. Here you’ll find all the books you love, all in one place. And these ten titles are a great reason to sign in and have a look around!

Joanna Cannon – author of the phenomenal bestseller The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – is back with her next warm-hearted, witty and deeply affecting novel, Three Things About Elsie, while our top pick for thrillers in early 2018, Anatomy of a Scandal, is causing quite a stir already with NetGalley members. There’s also some top YA action, including the truly wonderful I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan, and a beguiling new literary novel, Peach by Emma Glass.

We do hope that you love the new NetGalley UK site and look forward to reading all your reviews. Enjoy!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Three Things About Elsie
Joanna Cannon
The Borough Press
UK Edition

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. But as she waits to be rescued, Florence has other things on her mind than her health. The charming new resident for example. If he is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago? And does his presence mean a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light?

A captivating, engrossing and brilliantly told tale from the bestselling author of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep.

Anatomy of a Scandal
Sarah Vaughan
Simon & Schuster
UK Edition

Already one of the most reviewed 2018 titles on NetGalley, Anatomy of a Scandal is shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest thrillers. When Sophie’s husband is accused of a terrible crime, she is convinced of his innocence and prepared to do anything to support him. But Kate, the prosecuting barrister, is adamant of James’s guilt. Is James telling the truth? Or is there something sinister afoot? A provocative, compelling and suspenseful psychological thriller with real bite.

Trying
Emily Phillips
Hodder & Stoughton
UK Edition

The can-women-have-it-all? question remains one of the bedrocks of contemporary fiction, but this fresh take on modern womanhood is searingly honest, genuinely funny and stylishly original. Olivia and Felix are trying for a baby. They both know Olivia’s cycle and sex is organised with military precision. They’ve even moved to the suburbs. But as her friends procreate around her, nothing’s happening to Olivia. And soon she begins to ask: does happily ever after really have to involve a child?

I Am Thunder
Muhammad Khan
Macmillan Children's Books
UK Edition

An exciting new voice in YA, Muhammad Khan is a teacher in South London who takes his inspiration from the children in his classes. I Am Thunder is his debut, and centres on 15-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer but is being strong-armed by her super-controlling parents into studying medicine and marrying a cousin from Pakistan. Her life seems mapped out, until high-school hottie, Arif, takes an interest in her. But first love can be hard – especially as Arif has a dark, and deadly, secret…

Peach
Emma Glass
Bloomsbury Circus
UK Edition

A mesmerising, deeply disturbing and stylistically daring debut, Peach reads almost like an incantation of dread and fear. As the novel opens, Peach is walking home, battered, bruised and bleeding. Her parents do not even notice her condition, and she patches herself up to meet her boyfriend, Green. What follows is a visceral and unflinching journey through one woman’s internal life. Like A Girl is a Half -formed Thing before it, this is a ground-breaking work of experimentation.

Everless
Sara Holland
Orchard Books
UK Edition

For fans of The Red Queen, comes the first novel from a brilliant new YA voice – one set in a fantasy land with very contemporary undertones. In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything – even time, which they extract from blood. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry. To save her father from debt, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family. The truths Jules uncovers there change everything – including, possibly, the future of time itself…

Save Me
Mandasue Heller
Macmillan
UK Edition

In terms of gritty, streetwise fiction, Mandasue Heller is the only real competition to Martina Cole – and Save Me is her most gripping novel to date. When Ellie Fisher misses her train home, she has no idea that being in the right place at the wrong time will change her life forever. That night she comes across Gareth, a young man about to take his own life, and convinces him that there’s always something left, always something to cling to. It’s a good deed that will put her life in mortal danger…

This Is How It Ends
Eva Dolan
Raven Books
UK Edition

Eva Dolan is one of the most consistently impressive British crime writers, her Zigic and Ferreira series lauded by the likes of Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. This stand-alone shows all her skills of suspense and plotting, set against the gentrification of our cities. How it begins is with two women in a deserted building with a dead body in a lift shaft. But how will it end?

The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Heather Morris
Zaffre
UK Edition

Based on the true story of Lale Sokolov – the man who tattooed the numbers on his fellow prisoners’ arms in Auschwitz – this is a harrowing and powerful story of love in a time of absolute darkness, and humanity in the face of the worst kind of brutality. Tender, rich and terrifying, Heather Morris’s novel is a survivor’s tale like no other, and a love story that you will not forget.

Bad Girls With Perfect Faces
Lynn Weingarten
Electric Monkey
UK Edition

The bestselling author of Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls – which NetGalley members loved – returns with another pitch-perfect thriller. Sasha’s best friend is Xavier, but his cheating ex-girlfriend Ivy is back, and Sasha won’t let him be hurt again. So she poses as a hot man online, determined to prove Ivy’s cheating ways. But Sasha gets more than she bargained for…

Divider
News from NetGalley

Announcing NetGalley UK!

It’s been a long time coming, but at last UK members have their very own dedicated NetGalley site – www.netgalley.co.uk!

On .co.uk, UK members will find books that are the most relevant to them, meaning they’re more likely to be approved and are more likely to find the books they love. When they see a title on .co.uk, UK members will know they won’t be declined based on region, and that the edition of the book they see is the right one for them.

UK members will still be auto-approved for the same publishers, and all existing approvals will stay exactly as before. UK members will also still be able to sign in to www.netgalley.com using their existing accounts, but as all books they’re likely to want will be loud and proud on .co.uk, please bookmark www.netgalley.co.uk.

This has been a real labour of love for us at NetGalley UK, and we’re so excited that you can now sign into the site. There you’ll see featured titles specifically from the UK, and UK-centric category spotlights, making it even easier to find your next great passion.

Your reviews make NetGalley – and we hope that this new site will encourage you to leave even more feedback and even more reviews. If you have any comments, suggestions or general thoughts, do feel free to email stuart.evers@netgalley.co.uk. We want www.netgalley.co.uk to become the destination for all UK readers of influence – and we appreciate all of your input.

For more information, please see our FAQs about NetGalley.co.uk

So there it is: all the books you love, all in one place. We can’t wait for you to sign in and get involved – so head to www.netgalley.co.uk now!

Divider

Adapting One Historical Novel to Another: How to Make It Work

Originally published on Bookish.com, an editorially independent division of NetGalley.

We’ve all been there: We read a novel, and wonder “How did the author do that?!” Sophfronia Scott has written just such a novel. Her book Unforgivable Love is a retelling of Dangerous Liaisons that will enchant and entertain readers with its historical flair. Here, she tells Bookish readers just how she went about adapting the original.

Ideas are a dime a dozen—they exist in multitudes and any creative thinker knows there is no shortage of good ideas. Still there’s a fascination with ideas and they are considered scarce—that’s why authors consistently get asked how they found the idea for their latest work. But the idea is only the beginning. Two writers can start with the same basic idea and create entirely different products. I think that’s a much more interesting question: How did the writer bring the idea to life?

My latest novel, Unforgivable Love, is a retelling of the 18th Century French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The original was an epistolary novel, written in 1782, and told a story of seduction and betrayal among the aristocracy. I set the tale against the glamorous backdrop of 1940s Harlem, with two wealthy people playing games of sexual intrigue to feed their sense of ego and power.

Essentially I took one historical novel and turned it into another historical novel. How did  I make it work?

It’s all about the elements: understanding what makes a good story and building an interesting world in which the story can unfold. In order to do this, I couldn’t just retell the story. I had to create a new one.

Creating a story begins with characters. I chose to tell my story in close third person, giving voice to four characters and their inner lives.

Marquise de Merteuil became Mae Malveaux. Both characters are wealthy but they are also restricted by the conventions of their times. They act out accordingly. For Mae, I added aspects of her having felt something like love in her early years.

Vicomte de Valmont became Valiant “Val” Jackson. I sensed a vulnerability in this character that I wanted to explore. What makes him prone to fall in love? His story explores themes of race and class as well.

Madame de Tourvel became Elizabeth Townsend. My Elizabeth is just as virtuous as Madame de Tourvel but she also has a sense of not being complete somehow as a person, as a human being. She’s looking for meaning in her life.

Cecile de Volanges became Cecily Vaughn. This character, I think, has been given short shrift in the various adaptations of this novel. She’s often portrayed as clownish and awkward, but she’s also a character who makes a full journey from innocence to experience. I wanted to see how Cecily behaved once she began to act with agency.

Once I had my characters I had to create the world in which they lived their lives. For Unforgivable Love, I created social circles to suit the time and the African-American community.

Church: I had no doubt in my mind that the main social setting of this book would be in a church, especially since morals and virtue were going to be important themes. I modeled Mount Nebo Baptist Church, in size and influence, after the granddaddy of Harlem churches, Abyssinian Baptist Church.

Jazz music and night clubs: I used the setting of two clubs to illustrate the different classes. The Savoy Ballroom inspired the Diamond, Val Jackson’s club in my novel. The fact that the Savoy was crowded with people from all walks of life made me think about how Mae Malveaux wouldn’t be caught dead in such a place. That led me to create the Swan, a more refined setting for Mae and her cohort.

Fashion: I used fashion as another way to set Mae apart. I was particularly inspired by the designer Christian Dior’s “New Look” that was introduced during the time of my novel. The look was defined by a narrow waist, full skirt, and dramatic hats. One outfit with a yellow jacket reminded me of a costume worn by Glenn Close in the film Dangerous Liaisons and I knew I had to describe Mae wearing that Dior ensemble.

This is also a story about sexuality and how the way we wield it can be the deepest expression of our human nature. What happens when we take ownership of our sexuality? This question, I think, is why the story of Dangerous Liaisons is still so captivating today. We are still on this quest when it comes to exploring sexuality. It is the foundation that grounds Unforgivable Love, giving the reader a place to stand while at the same time launching him or her into this other world.

Sophfronia Scott hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son.

Divider
Book

Cover Love

We’ve rounded up covers we love, and we hope you will too. We’ve also gathered all of your cover votes from this month, and your most loved cover is…The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!

Click on each cover to read the full description, request (or wish for) the title, and “Like” the cover if you haven’t already. If you’ve read these titles, don’t forget to share feedback with the publisher and with your friends & followers.

Tell us in the comments below which covers you’re loving right now &
they could be included in next month’s edition!

Divider

Julie C. Dao: Women I Write Should Never, Ever Be Underestimated

Originally published on Bookish.com, an editorially independent division of NetGalley.

Bookshelf, bookshelf, on the wall. What is the most anticipated fall release of all? To be fair, there are quite a few. But Julie C. Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns has been at the top of our list for a while. It’s a dark fairy tale retelling that reimagines the Evil Queen from “Snow White” rising to power in a world inspired by Imperial China. To celebrate the book’s release, we chatted with Dao about writing a villain, the power of beauty, and why you should never, ever underestimate any of her female characters.

Bookish: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a retelling/origin story for the Evil Queen from “Snow White.” Which elements of the original tale or character did you want to keep? Which elements did you want to leave behind?

Julie C. Dao: I wanted it to be a completely original reimagining of “Snow White” that was like nothing I had seen before in YA, but I also wanted to hold on to important elements of the old fairy tale. It’s crucial, when writing a fairy tale retelling, to ground the reader in your story. I wanted to make my reader feel comfortable, make them think this is going to be like the tale with which they’re familiar, and then… yank the rug from underneath them! From the original “Snow White,” I wanted to keep the magic mirror, the apple, and the stepmother/stepdaughter dynamic, but I twisted these concepts to fit my own purposes. In doing this, I hoped to make the reader still recognize the inspiration behind the story, but at the same time think of FOTL as fresh and new.

Bookish: What is the hardest part of writing a villain? What is your favorite part?

JCD: I knew I had my work cut out for me with someone like Xifeng who has a character arc that spirals downward. My biggest concern was making her somewhat sympathetic, even as she makes all the wrong choices and succumbs to her own greed for power. That was the hardest part: making her believable in some capacity. My favorite part was putting myself in the shoes of someone so completely different from me and everything I believe in—someone who has no moral boundaries whatsoever when it comes to their ambition. It was an interesting experience!

Bookish: The Evil Queen is famously vain, and in the book we see Xifeng grow from resenting how her beauty defines her to learning to use it as a gift and a weapon. How do you view the relationship between beauty and power?

JCD: I knew, in writing a “Snow White”-inspired tale, that I wanted to keep beauty as power and a status symbol in my story. Classic fairy tales favor youth and attractiveness above all and consistently depict older female characters as evil. So what would happen if a princess grew older and her beauty faded according to society’s standards? The stories seem to insist that the aging princess accept this fate, this loss of her perceived importance as a human being. If she dared to fight against this or resent a younger woman, then she was deemed the Evil Queen/Stepmother.

Basically, according to fairy tales, women were supposed to be young and beautiful until they were not, and then go away. I think our society would like to believe we are beyond this, but the worshipping of physical beauty persists. The perception of beauty may change, but the value placed upon it never does. Outward attractiveness—however defined, depending on the time and place—is seen to help get people ahead and earn them attention.

In Forest, Xifeng recognizes that her youth and beauty are vital assets. She’s clever and educated, but believes her physical attributes will win her the throne and help her keep it, and she’s terrified of losing them. This increasing fear and paranoia propel her toward a tragic choice: She essentially sells her soul for the assurance that she will never lose her looks. She is not a queen punished for aging; she is a queen whose self-inflicted punishment is that she herself cannot see her own worth beyond the prejudices of beauty.

Bookish: Xifeng has a Lady Macbeth moment of seeing blood that no one else can see. Did Lady Macbeth also serve as an inspiration for Xifeng?

JCD: Actually, she was not, but I can totally see what you mean! Lady Macbeth is the instigator behind her husband’s deeds and the blood on her hands is guilt for what she has indirectly wrought, if I remember correctly. For Xifeng, however, the blood that appears on her face is a symbol and a reminder that her beauty is fleeting—that once gone, she will have lost what she considers to be her greatest power. Also, Xifeng would never be content pulling the puppet strings in the background. She would want to be front and center!

Bookish: Underestimating women is a big theme in this book. We see Xifeng overlooked as “just a pretty face” time and again, but we also see her fail to realize how strong the Empress truly is. What drew you to this theme?

JCD: It is ironic that Xifeng hates being underestimated, yet falls victim to doing this to other women, isn’t it? I’m drawn to powerful female characters, and when I say “powerful,” I mean all different types of power. So often in fiction and film we associate female strength with perceived traditional masculine characteristics, like wielding a sword and being physically aggressive. But there are so many types of power people are often too happy to overlook: the power of knowing your truth, of being confident in yourself, of protecting the people you love and the beliefs you value, of charging toward your destiny no matter what cost. I wanted to show different types of female strength in book one, and in book two you will see even more. Every single woman I write has a power of her own and should never, ever be underestimated!

Bookish: We see Xifeng and other women judged harshly for their aspirations in a way the male characters are not. Was this element inspired by the Evil Queen’s lust for power or by more modern influences?

JCD: This element was mostly inspired by the patriarchal society in which I chose to set the book, which is a kingdom inspired by Imperial China. Female historical figures like Empress Wu dealt with much prejudice and censure for their methods in seeking power. And yet, when reading about her deeds, it didn’t seem to me like anything the Empress did hadn’t already been done by male rulers of her time. But they didn’t come under the same kind of scrutiny and criticism. The double standard still exists today, unfortunately, with powerful women in fields like business and politics being criticized for qualities for which their male counterparts are praised.

Bookish: At times, Xifeng’s motivation shifts from wanting to claim her destiny to wanting that destiny because of the freedom it promises. Do you think that, in a way, chaining herself to her fate means losing her freedom?

JCD: Absolutely. There’s an irony in that. The thing about Xifeng is that she doesn’t understand the concept of power. She believes that being Empress is all about being front and center, invincible, and feared and loved and respected—which it partly is, in this world. But it’s also a position of responsibility, in that she is tying herself to the fates of everyone involved: She would be the Emperor’s wife, the Crown Prince’s stepmother, and the ruler of everyone in Feng Lu, for whom she is expected to care and govern. It’s a case of not looking at the long haul, the whole picture. She’s charging toward something she does not fully understand yet.

Bookish: The Crimson Army is an army made up entirely of women who live in the mountains. These fighters are only briefly mentioned; will we get to see them in future installments?

JCD: Yes! Without giving away too much, you will find out a lot more about them in book two!

Bookish: Can you give us three words that describe book two?

JCD: Epic adventure quest!

Julie C. Dao is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.

Divider

Cover Design 101: It’s the Little Things that Matter

Originally published on Bookish.com, an editorially independent division of NetGalley.

Some readers may think that designing a cover for a graphic novel is easy. After all, you’ve got an entire book of artwork at your fingertips. But the process is incredibly complex, and sometimes the smallest details make the biggest impact. We’ve invited our friend Andrew Arnold, the associate art director at First Second, back to share his behind-the-scenes secrets about designing the cover for Nidhi Chanani’s Pashmina.

Click each image for a closer look at the design!

It’s a lot of fun to look back on a book cover design process, especially one as near and dear to my heart as Nidhi Chanani’s Pashmina. I’m always surprised by which of the initial ideas make their way onto the final cover. Often times, they’re “little things” that didn’t stand out to me in the beginning stages of the process—like the way an image is cropped, the placement of the type, the positioning of a character, etc. So not only is revisiting the process fun, it reinforces how important it is to listen to your gut and trust your initial design instincts—you’re probably onto something!

As I flipped through the various stages of the Pashmina cover design, I noticed that a lot of those “little things” from the earlier parts of the process made their way onto the final cover. For my last guest post, I started from the top—sketches, then inks, colors, etc—but this time around, I thought it might be fun to start with the final image and then take you through the process so you can search for all those little details yourself. So here you go—the final cover of Pashmina!

My goal with this cover, as with all the covers I work on, was to draw in readers and tell them a little about what’s inside the book. Pashmina tells the story of an Indian-American girl who learns about her family’s history with the help of her mother’s magical pashmina. We knew we wanted the cover image to capture a few things: our strong female lead character and her magical (and mysterious) pashmina.

The first step was to ask Nidhi if she had any specific concepts in mind. I’ve found that providing too much art direction at the outset can really stifle an artist’s creativity. It’s also a lot of fun to hear an artist’s initial ideas—I’ve seen them come in the form of a written description, a sketch, or even a loose doodle on a cocktail napkin. If an artist isn’t sure where to start, that’s when I start brainstorming and we begin a more collaborative process. In the case of Pashmina, Nidhi had several starting points that helped shape our direction. Here are a few of them:

As you can see, we kept these early stage sketches very loose. If you get too caught up in the details at this point, you can miss the bigger picture! And, if you look closely, you might see a few things that appear on the final cover! (Like Pri’s windblown hair.)

After some back and forth between Nidhi, her editor, and myself, we eliminated some of the above directions and decided to explore compositions with a full-figure image of Pri:

While Nidhi was doing that, I explored some other ideas:

The thinking here was to revisit the magical component by exploring ideas with and without Shakti. (She’s an important part of the story.) Again, if you look closely, you’ll see a thing or two that appear on the final cover.

Seeing Nidhi’s previous round of images got us thinking about the palette. The orange and black felt a little too much like Halloween (which is a big no-no unless you are working on a Halloween book!), so Nidhi explored a different direction—one that felt a little more fiery and picked up the color of Pri’s pashmina.

We discussed this general direction and, in the end, felt that we needed to show more of a magical connection between Pri and her pashmina. With that in mind, we explored several more directions:

There were some strong options here, but they needed to be developed further:

As you can see, those little things aren’t as a little anymore. One pattern is now easily seen against the background, while another rests within the pashmina itself. The windblown pashmina—while a little different in each composition—is still prominent throughout, and Pri’s gaze is clearly looking away from the viewer; she’s either looking up or off to the side.

In the end, we settled on the following direction. You’ll see that Nidhi supplied some brand new art for Pri and her pashmina (up until this point, we’d been re-purposing interior art to build the cover directions.) Once the general layout was nailed down and the artwork was finalized, we wanted to really zero in on type treatments….

…Before turning our attention to the full jacket design with the spine and flaps!

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this cover’s evolution, and picking up on all those “little things” that crept their way into the final design. It just goes to show you that sometimes the little things really go a long way!

Happy creating!

Andrew Arnold is one of the co-authors of the Adventures in Cartooning series and moonlights [during the day] as a book designer for a children’s book publisher. His work has appeared in several publications, including Nickelodeon Magazine, Cambridge University Press, and Roaring Brook Press. Originally from Houston, TX, Andrew currently lives in New York City.

Divider
Library Reads

LibraryReads List

November 2017

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books available in November that librarians across the country love. You can request or wish for the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site.

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley – learn more here!

Additional LibraryReads titles:

The City of Brass: A Novel, by S. A. Chakraborty
(Harper Voyager, 9780062678102)

The Library at the Edge of the World: A Novel, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
(Harper Perennial, 9780062663726)

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel, by Louise Erdrich
(Harper, 9780062694058)

Divider