Judging a Cover by its Book: Choose the cover direction for THE WAY TO GAME THE WALK OF SHAME

Cover voting is now closed. Thanks for all your help!

Hey Swoon Readers,

It’s a big week for us in the book industry as we all trek out to the Javitz Center for BEA and BookCon. Both Macmillan as a whole and Swoon Reads in particular have a lot of fun stuff going on this week… including giving convention-goers the chance to vote in person for their favorite cover direction for The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen. But, we wanted you to all be part of the party as well! And even if we can’t meet you in person, we are dying to hear what you think about these swoonworthy cover directions!

If you aren’t familiar yet with The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, (You should be ashamed of yourself… Just kidding!!!!) you can click here for a description and to read the first draft. Go on. We’ll wait for you. No, this time I’m serious. Go, read the first chapter—which is FABULOUS!—then come back and vote for your favorite cover direction. Just don’t get TOO caught up in Taylor and Evan’s story… we need your votes and feedback by noon on Monday, June 1st! 

You can click on any of the images to see it up close. And remember, these are only cover directions, once we know which one you like best the designer will come back and tweak things until it’s perfect, so feel free to leave any thoughts or suggestions in the comments below!

Rich and KB’s High Heels Cover
Rich and KB’s High Heels CoverThis was actually the last cover concept that we came up with. Looking at all of the other entries, we realized that we really needed an option that went in a different more photogenic direction. So, we sat down with Lauren Scobell and started trolling through Rich’s folder of Swoon Images (basically any time he finds an image that feels right for YA romance he saves it here) until we found this wonderful images of a girl walking on the very edge of a curb. The shape of the dress was great, the shoes were pretty and classy and felt right for Taylor, and the angle of the curb was really cool and interesting. The only problem was that the original image was horizontal and a bit dark for such a fun book. Fortunately, KB was able to work some Photoshop magic to make it work on a vertical book cover, and added a little more sun and flowers and changed the dress from dark blue to pink to make it feel more light hearted and right for the tone of the book. The last element was the title. Originally we had chosen a thin sophisticated font to match the shoes, but, while it was classy, it was hard to read… Then KB had the idea to run the title and tagline down the side of the curb so that we could really take advantage of that cool perspective and angle, and keep it legible and fun.
Rich’s Tightrope Cover
 Rich’s Tightrope CoverThis concept was really a bit of a group effort. I knew that I wanted to do something that would really be a play on the title, and would have that sense of Taylor trying to keep her balance on the edge. I did a quick sketch of the basic idea on a post-it, and Eileen S. took that and pulled together a rough draft for us. Then KB took her original concept and added a few tweaks of her own, before I took it back and pulled in some final touches.  I really love the movement of  the type and the wrapped feel of the rope. The party lights are also a great graphic element and a nice call out to the party that started the whole thing off.  And, of course, if this direction was chosen, we would hire an illustrator to make sure that the placeholder image of Taylor at the top was correct.
April W.’s Surfboard Cover
April’s Surfboard CoverFor The Way to Game the Walk of Shame I played around with a few different surfboard directions, both playful graphic and beachy photographic. In the end this birds-eye view of the top half of a surfboard on the sand felt more successful than the others both in the graphic crop and image clarity. Something about that combination of Taylor’s painted toenails on the sand next to Evan’s board felt flirty and cute to me. I added in a few sandy hearts and a black brushy script title to give it a more feminine edge, and I like how those elements complement the warm, earthy color combination of the setting.
Rich’s Footprints Cover
Rich’s Footprints CoverI really feel that the title of this book is perfect and I wanted to play that up in my covers in a fun graphic way, so with this concept, I made the title the focus. I chose the bright red and yellow to show how lighthearted and fun the book was. Then added the footprints to give a sense of movement and also to be a nice graphical nod to the opening scene of the book where Taylor is wandering around Evan’s room searching for her party shoes.
April’s Night Scene Cover
April’s Night Scene CoverThis image of a couple leaning in to kiss struck me as a perfect moment for Walk of Shame, it captures that delicate balance of waiting and wanting, and the warm horizon adds to the effect. That gentle tension felt compelling to me and I wanted to combine it with a title treatment that conveyed a sense of urgency, something that could represent the love contract that Taylor creates in an attempt to salvage her reputation. The hand drawn stars and hearts were added to soften the harsh lettering, and add a slight touch of sweet whimsy.

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