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I’m thrilled to host the cover reveal for a story I have longed to see in print. The lovely Marcie Colleen is here to show it to you and tell the tale of her own literary love triangle…on Valentine’s Day no less!!!
When I first set out to write a picture book titled LOVE, TRIANGLE (see the origin of the idea for the book here) I just wanted to tell a punny story that hopefully someone would want to publish someday. But my meager expectations were highly exceeded. In fact, the entire journey of this book has been unlike anything I could have ever imagined and I have my very own “triangle of amazing-ness” to thank.
First, my agent, Susan Hawk, who first realized the potential in this story when it was simply a concept pitched to her during our courting phase. And although it took me almost two years after signing with her to write it, she remained a cheerleader the entire time, bubbling with excitement when she spoke of the work-in-progress to editors. Eventually, the manuscript was completed and we found ourselves in a five-house auction situation! Now for those of you who don’t know what that means, an auction is when more than one publishing house wants the story and are willing to try and bid for it. (Sorry to say, book auctions do not include paddles, large hats, or a gavel, in case you were wondering.)
For about a week I met with the interested editors on the phone. We discussed what each house envisioned for the book and how they intended to market it. We discussed potential illustrators and possible design. They even asked for my ideas. It was so surreal.
Finally, the day of the auction came (again, no paddles or giant hats but I did have a mimosa-fueled auction party with some of my closest girlfriends).
After everything was said and done, I signed a two-book deal with Alessandra Balzer, Publisher at Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. I had always admired Alessandra’s work and had heard her speak once at a conference. As I told her during our pre-auction conversation, I was a “first time caller, longtime fan.” She was the perfect choice for the Apex of this literary love triangle.
But, our team did not become complete until Bob Shea signed on to illustrate.
Bob. Shea. (Now do you know why I call this a literary love triangle?! I mean, this team is the best of the best!)
Now, I love Bob’s work. Funny thing is, several years prior I had heard Bob speak on a panel at Books of Wonder in New York City. It was there that I first met him and he signed a book for me. I was only an aspiring writer at the time and Bob wrote “Good luck with the writing.” Thanks for the luck, Bob! I think it worked!
The story of book-smart Square and sporty Circle who are best friends until a dynamic Triangle shows up releases on October 3, 2017.
In the meantime, take a look at this freakin’ awesome cover!
Hey, we even have the BACK cover…so we cover all the angles…
Marcie is giving away a signed F&G (folded & gathered proof) of LOVE, TRIANGLE to one lucky commenter. Leave a comment below to enter. If you SHARE this cover reveal, you receive another entry. Just comment again telling us where you shared the LOVE.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Thank you, Tara, for allowing Meg and I to reveal the super duper, mega official, cover of our book, LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony Press, 2017)! It’s very kind of you to host us, (and we didn’t even have to hypnotize you!). We’d like to share a behind the scenes sneak-peak of how our cover came to life. Meg will kick it off with her amazing illustrator insights,
An Illustrator’s Eye…
In March of 2015 I was contacted by Julie Matysik, then a senior editor at Sky Pony Press (SSP), the children’s imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. Julie and SSP editor Nicole Frail, had acquired a wonderful picture book text written by Catherine Bailey, called LUCY LOVES SHERMAN. Julie had kept a promotional postcard of mine that she had picked up from a NJ-SCBWI Fall Workshop and thought, based on the postcard artwork, my illustrative style might be a good fit for this new project. Although I have been an illustrator and designer for a long time, and attended SCBWI events for years, this was the first picture book I have illustrated. I was beyond thrilled, and couldn’t wait to illustrate Catherine Bailey’s fun characters and bring her wacky story to life.
Julie sent me the LLS manuscript and I began creating sketches of Lucy and Sherman and thumbnails of the story. Lucy loves polka dots, and loves that Sherman also “wears” polka dots. So I wanted to incorporate dot graphics on the cover, as well as Lucy’s clothes. I also liked that the polka dots resembled water/bubbles. Blub, blub!
The final cover artwork was due to SPP January 2016.
But—as so often happens in publishing—there was a change after the deadline.
In March of 2016 the SPP Marketing Department wanted to move the book release date to coincide with Valentine’s Day to play up the LOVE in LUCY LOVES SHERMAN. They asked me to recreate the cover with more red and add hearts. Marketing also asked that I move an illustration that was on the title page onto the cover. The illustration showed Lucy and Sherman hugging. Here is previous title page art:
I created several new looks for the cover and after a few rounds of edits, here is new Valentines-ish cover March 2016.
Then the publication date was switched to March of 2017. Since the focus was no longer a Valentine’s day release, we were able to go back to the original blue/turquoise background. SPP only asked that I still keep the characters hugging on the cover. And so, here she is – the final, final cover:
Sky Pony Press’s Nicole Frail and Julie Matysik, and Catherine, have been fantastic to work with throughout this whole process. I am thrilled for the March 2017 launch of LUCY LOVES SHERMAN!
The Author’s Note…
I am so glad to talk about the cover design of this book, largely because people always ask me if I draw my own pictures. After a resounding “Nope,” I get the follow-up question about how much input that I—as the author—have in the book’s artwork. That answer is usually “Not a whole heck of a lot.” And that’s fine with me! I love that talented artists like Meg add new layers and depth my stories.
However, the wonderful Sky Pony folks invited my feedback on early drafts of LUCY LOVES SHERMAN. I was super flattered and excited. I poured over the images for days. Seriously. At one point my husband threatened to lock my laptop in the trunk of his car. But I couldn’t help myself. Meg did such a great job!
Then, as Meg mentioned, there was a big shift towards a more “Valentine’s” feel during the cover design process. My editor, Nicole, emailed me the revamped design. It was very red, very adorable, and very perfect for the holiday. But. (Oh yes, there’s a but!) I worried that Sherman’s red shell would get lost against the scarlet background. So I very carefully and very politely voiced my concerns. Nicole really took them to heart, but her hands were tied. The red had to stay but there was talk about adjusting the shade, which I thought was a great compromise. And then—lo and behold—the publication date was pushed back and the problem solved itself. The cover went back to primarily turquoise.
So there you have it. A blow-by-blow of our mini-rollercoaster ride towards the final cover for LUCY LOVES SHERMAN, which splashes out from Sky Pony Press this March. I think Meg and Nicole and Julie totally nailed it. And I hope you to do too!
Pssst! It wouldn’t be a cover reveal without a free giveaway (Free! Everybody loves free!).
Just leave one message in the comments below and you will be entered to win a 20-minute Skype visit with author Catherine Bailey. The visit can be used either by a teacher/media specialist as a school visit, or by aspiring authors who’d like to chat about writing and publishing.
Ha, ha! Don’t you just glance at this cover and laugh?! With bold strokes and subtle humor, author-illustrator Toni Yuly draws you into her world.
The brand-spanking-new cover of CAT NAP is so expressive with earnest simplicity. We see wide-eyed Cat in his bed with energetic Kitten climbing on his back. It’s a fun romp with sleepy Cat and exuberant Kitten playing hide-and-seek. Small children will especially enjoy looking for the curious mouse who follows the two. (Heck, big children will, too! I know I do!)
Although the books stand alone, they are a perfect threesome for morning, noon and nighttime reading. EARLY BIRD loves to wake up early, NIGHT OWL loves to stay up late (just like Tara), and CAT just wants to take a nap (again, just like Tara). All three books are the same size, (8″ x 8 1/2″) and style, using simple, colorful illustrations.
Toni, how did you first get the idea for this trio of books?
The idea for the threesome was not hatched from the beginning. It was a kind of spontaneous happening of sorts and I ended up selling all three books in the same year! Since the books are all based on idioms it was almost impossible not to think of NIGHT OWL and CAT NAP after EARLY BIRD. Although the character and story for EARLY BIRD came first, it was the opposite for NIGHT OWL and CAT NAP. For those two the titles came first, and then the story.
I see Mousie! Yes, I do! Hooray!
OK, I know it’s difficult to choose…but do you have a favorite of the three?
My favorite will always be EARLY BIRD because it was my debut book as an author-illustrator. But, I have learned so much since then, and grown in so many ways that I am really, really happy with CAT NAP! Of the three books it is the funniest and I like the color scheme the best too.
What did you learn through the process of creating this series?
I learned SO much! After getting over the tremendous panic of not knowing what I was doing, I relaxed and learned to trust my fabulous editor Liz Szabla and the creative team at Feiwel and Friends. I enjoy the collaborative process and working with others to make the best possible book. I also gained confidence and learned to trust myself.
Why do you think picture books for the wee ones are so important?
I think that picture books for the youngest readers are important for so many reasons! To begin with, the physical book is such a magical thing…a small child can carry it around or bring it to you…just having books around feels a certain way which is hard to explain, but they become like friends…
When you open up a picture book you immediately begin to interact with that book together, but also individually. It isn’t a passive thing, like watching a movie, your mind is engaged differently I think maybe because the pacing etc. is slower…
So to me, a picture book is magical on so many levels! It stimulates, engages and inspires a young child’s mind and imagination! And it can be a wonderful shared experience for the adult and the child and lead in all kinds of creative directions.
And what I love about CAT NAP for the youngin’s is that the faces are so expressive! You hear more and more about how tweens, teens and even young adults are having trouble communicating through gesture just because of technology. Books like CAT NAP teach and reinforce the subtle cues of non-verbal communication.
Thank you for joining me today, Toni!
Toni is giving away three signed art prints from CAT NAP, plus a greeting card from all three books, EARLY BIRD, NIGHT OWL and CAT NAP, just for visiting her cover reveal today!
Leave a comment below; one comment per person, please. Three random winners will be selected in two weeks.
(And now, Tara will go take a nap!)
Releasing on January 5, 2016 is Salina Yoon’s 158th book, BE A FRIEND. (Yes, it really is her 158th book. Salina is the most prolific author-illustrator on the planet!)
The delightful cover is being revealed by Bloomsbury exclusively here today!
Isn’t it sweet?
Salina, I know with my books the cover has come at the end of the book-making process…but I recently spoke with Matthew Cordell and his latest book’s cover idea came to him early on. When did you create this cover and what about the story did you want to convey through the images?
The cover was the first thing I designed and illustrated when I conceived of the idea to prepare it for submission. But since then, the cover’s changed a few times, even its title, and only recently was everything finalized. The book itself was completed much earlier.
Conveying the story with just one image and one title is so challenging with any book. In BE A FRIEND, it was important to show the two main characters having a deep connection to one another. It’s a unique kind of friendship because one child is silent, and he lives in a world of his own imagination. But here, we see the girl looking straight into his eyes, accepting the gift he dreamed up in his mind. She accepts him, just the way he is, and that’s a strong theme in the book. Like a mother who blows a kiss across a room and the child snatching it up, even gifts of the imagination are felt if the heart is in them.
Could you tell us a little more about the book?
BE A FRIEND is about a boy named Dennis who expresses himself through the silent art of mime, which alienates him from the other kids. No one seems to notice him, except one girl. Her name is Joy. Even without words, they can laugh and play. And most importantly, they can be friends. Joy shows Dennis that he can still be himself while including others—that his world needn’t be solitary.
This book is for any child (or adult) who has ever felt different that made them feel alone, and the importance of reaching out and making connections.
BE A FRIEND is a heartwarming celebration of individuality, imagination, and the power of friendship. (Bloomsbury/January 2016)
Salina is giving away three signed, framed art prints from BE A FRIEND just for visiting her cover reveal today.
Leave a comment below; one comment per person, please. Three random winners will be drawn on May 18th. Good luck!
Happy Mother’s Day to my mama-writer friends. What you do every day is amazing! You created kids…and now you create stories!
And what I just did is amazing, too. I gave birth to a new book cover!
(Well, really, Benji Davies did.)
I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK releases in August 2015 from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. But you can catch a glimpse of the alien-bear mayhem right here, right now:
Many thanks to my very cool editor, Alyson Heller, and art director, Karin Paprocki, at Aladdin. And of course, none of this would be possible without über-agent Ammi-Joan Paquette.
More sneak peeks to come soon. I promise you a cute bear tushy.
Have a great day, Mama Bears!
Allow me to reveal the cover of THE MONSTORE, my June 2013 picture book illustrated by James Burks!
It’s so fabulous I spend hours staring at it as if I’m a 7th grade dork in love with a 1981 poster of Rick Springfield.
Forget about wishing to be Jessie’s girl, I’d rather be James’s girl, ’cause the dude seriously knows how to whiz-bang-kaPOW a picture book cover. ( Oh, Rick, please don’t take it personally.)
That’s main character Zack front-and-center with his pesky little sister Gracie popping into the frame. The hulking orange guy is Manfred, the flying monster is Mookie, and that’s Mojo with the striped, wiggling arms and crooked horns. Peeper is the little eyeball perched on the Monstore sign, although he isn’t named in the book. He’s James’s invention!
That leaves the red broom guy. And guess what? He doesn’t have a name. Well, he does because James names all the character he draws, but this monster never gets mentioned in the story.
So here’s a monster of a contest for ya: try to guess the name James gave him! If you do, you’ll win an original, autographed monster sketch by the talented Mr. Burks. If no one guesses his correct name, or if there’s more than one correct answer, the ultimate winner will be decided by Random.org. UPDATE: We’re now giving away TWO sketches because y’all have come up with such great names. One to the person who guesses the name and one random winner chosen from the rest of the entries.
You get one entry for commenting and then one additional entry for each place you share THE MONSTORE cover—blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Just leave a comment letting us know! The contest closes one week from today, so get those monsterly names in!
Hope you love the cover.
And if Rick Springfield is out there, how about playing my book launch party?
Have your people call my monsters.