Saturday, 3 September 2016

Of Cover Art and Coney Island

Or: How I Got the Sexiest Cover Ever

I’m not afraid to admit it: I think the cover art for We Awaken is pretty great. That might be because I’m a being composed solely of aesthetic but, come on, it’s just cool! I definitely base my book purchases on covers and it seems like a lot of others do as well. More photogenic books make for better pics for book blogging, plus they just sexy up the room. I am about to start reading The Unexpected Everything purely based on the fact that the cover is colorful and covered in dogs and ice cream. I, for one, am very fond of dogs and ice cream.
My cover might actually be what I’ve gotten the most comments on with this book. While the asexuality and girl-loving gets its fair share in the spotlight, a lot of people are curious about how the cover came about. So, for those of you who want a sneak peek at that part of the publishing world, here is how the cover design process went for me!

First I was asked if there was a particular artist that I wished to work with and, having no preference and being new to all this, I said I trusted their judgement. I was soon sent a questionnaire to fill out where they asked me all sorts of bizarre and fun questions. They asked about major symbols in the book, descriptions of the character’s appearances, favorite colors, etc. I learned two things from this:

  1. I completely forgot if I even gave one of my characters a hair or eye color
  2. I am very trusting of other people to know what looks best on a book

Seriously. One of the questions was about the ideal book cover and I basically just said I trusted their judgement but was very fond of floral prints and stars so maybe that could be incorporated.

Obviously, that was the line that got focused on.

Another question was what I definitely did not want on a cover. That was easy: no people or the color brown. But then I also tacked on a caveat of but if you think either of those things are necessary I don't really mind.

So my poor artist got a jumble of indecisiveness and vague concepts mostly focused on flowers and the fact that I am obsessed with the color pink and had to work with that. A few weeks later, I was sitting in a lovely coffee shop in London eating an English breakfast like a living cliche when I got an email with about four potential covers. One was particularly odd. It was a single daffodil made of galaxy print with a girls face faded out in the bottom corner. Thankfully, the cover I chose was there, except it was wrong. The title went sideways, as did my name, in a scrawny little print.

Thankfully, my publisher asks their authors to demand changes in their covers if that’s what they want so I sent over a little “hey, can we maybe turn the title the right direction?” email and, sure enough, I was sent my beautiful cover. No watermarks. No sideways fonts or faded out faces. Aaron Anderson is the delightful artist responsible for making my book look like aesthetic goals and I’m extremely grateful.

This experience probably varies greatly from press to press so I’m thrilled that mine worked out so well.

And now, the fun stuff! So Calista Lynne you’re probably not thinking all this showing off about your book is great but what have you been getting up to in that ultra- exciting life of yours?

I’m thrilled you asked.

Recently I had one of the best days of my entire life at Coney Island. Although they have one of the greatest numbers of cat callers per square mile, it is a delightful place. I got to hold a snake in a sideshow and see The Dresden Dolls. Their opening band, Pwr Bttm, was incredible and I bought tickets to see them in Brighton right when I got home. Seriously. Look at them, they’re a gay punk band trying to make shows trans inclusive and are utterly delightful:

My friend got her fortune read at the event and the woman basically told her to eat art and shit creativity which I think is good advice for anyone to follow.

Went to Manhattan the next day to fuck around at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a friend and drink an overpriced milkshake.

I’ll be headed back soon to visit the MOMA and (hopefully) see Sleep No More.

And, at this very moment, I’m writing this blog post to procrastinate on figuring out why I can’t seem to access my British bank account and pay rent on my flat so I’m not homeless when I move back to London in two weeks. Oh the endless joys of life…

Not to mention I’m writing. The least painful part of that is the Pumpkin Spice lattes I’m obsessively buying as a reward. Don’t be like me, kiddos.