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Judging a Cover by Its Book: Choose the Cover Direction for THE BALLAD OF AMI MILES

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

Hey there, Swooners!

We are incredibly excited to show you all the proposed cover directions for Kristy Dallas Alley's debut novel, The Ballad of Ami Miles! In case you're in need of a refresher, here's a little more info about it:

Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.

With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known, and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world... and about herself.

Swoon designer extraordinaire KB has cooked up four awesome cover options for you to choose from and has also shared some thoughts about the inspiration behind each. Remember, the below images aren't necessarily final. These are just directions, so there will most likely be some tweaks made before the book hits the shelves. (Want to see how a cover goes from concept to final? Click here.)

To view enlarged images, right click the image to view it in a new tab. Cover voting will close at noon EST on Thursday, September 5.

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Braid Cover

Ami's long red hair always bothers her and is a symbol of her patriarchal upbringing, so I knew I wanted it to be the focus of one of the covers. I added the messy black frame, scratchy texture on the photo, and distorted and ghosted the type to show Ami's intense feelings and the world she's dealing with.

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World on Fire Cover

This started with the idyllic house and woods scene. I noticed the shape of the image looked like lips, which feels especially right with "Ballad" in the title. Then, I layered charred wood and a flame in the background to hint at Ami's fierceness and the dystopic setting.

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Walking Away Cover

This is another where I started with an idyllic scene: an out-of-focus girl is walking barefoot with her well-loved converse in the foreground. I adjusted the color palette to be an eery blueish purple, added a scratchy texture over everything, and set the title in a distressed font to show everything is not as lovely as it seems.

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Double Exposure Cover

I wanted to show the romance in the story without revealing Ami's face or making the book look too sweet. I used a dramatic closeup of Ami's eye and a photo of Jessie playing guitar in her signature hat in a double exposure. The color palette, distressed type, and texture all nod to the dystopic setting.

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