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Judging a Cover by Its Book: Choose the Cover Direction for LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE!

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

Greetings, Swooners!

Got any weekend plans? Well, NOW you do: It's time for cover voting for Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann! In case you need a refresher, here's the synopsis of this heartfelt, fun, and unique gem of a book:

"Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting--working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who she totally does not miss. At all). After their nasty breakup, Alice swore off dating--no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

 But then Alice experiences instant attraction to her new coworker Takumi (which is a problem because Alice is 100% sure she’s asexual). And her relationship with her best friends? Totally falling apart.

 As her perfect summer gets shot straight to hell and Takumi becomes her unexpected, but amazing, ally in all things (!?), Alice has to decide--will she keep her secret or risk telling him how she feels?" 

Swoon designer Liz D. has come up with four fabulous cover directions for you to choose from, and has shared some thoughts about her inspiration behind each one. 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.)

But first, a note from Liz D.:

I am always conscious of how cover design intersects with representation. For example: I might have a brilliant idea for a cover that doesn't show people (see three of my four directions for My New Crush Gave to Me), and sometimes that's the right choice for a cover, design-wise. However, not showing people can erase a character's race or disability or any number of important attributes. I chose to show Alice on all of the cover directions for Let's Talk About Love because black women and girls don't get to see themselves on book covers as often as they should—sometimes the cover will show a white person even if the book's protagonist is black! Plus, as you can see below, they're pretty great covers, if I do say so myself. 

To view enlarged images, right click the image to view it in a new tab. Cover voting will close at noon EST on Friday, Mar. 10.


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Hands Cover

Alice thinks a lot about being ace and the way that's viewed in our culture—so of course I wanted to portray that on the cover. But how do you show intimacy and romance without the implication of sex? My solution is showing only Alice and Takumi's hands, cradling the word love. This cover conveys a tender relationship that could be defined in any numbers of ways. The color palette is inspired by the flag for asexuality. And, as I said to Holly when she walked by while I was working on this cover, butterflies are always evocative. 

For final: The stock photo this comp is based on has two white hands. I couldn't do a shoot just to show the direction, but if this is chosen I will organize a photo shoot and use a black model for Alice and a Japanese model for Takumi. The butterflies could have more detail and texture, too.


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Roses Cover

One of my favorite scenes in Let's Talk About Love is Alice throwing rose petals at Takumi near the end of the book. It's such a charming, beautiful image, and I love that the female character is showering her male love interest with flowers. The whole things makes me smile, so of course I used it for one of the covers!

For final: This Alice is beautiful, but she's actually several girls put together, and her seams start to show if you look too closely! If this direction is chosen we'll do a photo shoot to get the perfect image with the perfect Alice and rose petals galore.


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Dancing Cover

I love how happy and gorgeous this Alice is—she's glowing! Don't you want to be having a dance party with her? Again the color palette nods to Alice's asexuality, and the swirled paint texture on the title is beautiful.

For final: I love the color and effect on the title, but the lettering itself is pretty sloppy! I would hire a pro to get exactly the right balance of messiness, prettiness, and legibility.


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Hair Cover

One of the many wonderful details that struck me in Let's Talk About Love was Alice teasing Ryan for not know how long it takes to twist her hair, which made me think about how beautiful hair in twists is, which made me want to put it on the cover, but I already used a photo of hair for Queens of Geek so... Oh! An illustrated cover! The hair twists in and out of the title type—which is itself twisty and beautiful— while Alice whispers to Takumi across the cover. (And we have purple from the ace flag again!)

For final: This is a great direction, and I'd love to see a professional illustrator take it further and polish it up. I'm thinking someone like Risa Rodil—a fabulous illustrator and letterer—could really make this shine.

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