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Thursday, 13 May 2010

In which Katherine Roberts announces the winner!

This is so exciting for me. I am handing the reins of The Bookette over to Katherine to announce the winner of the Song Quest Cover Design Contest.

Here is her post:

Authors don’t often get the chance to choose their covers, so it was a real treat to pick the winner of this fabulous competition, though a difficult task to choose just one out of such a varied and talented entry.


Professional publishers spend a lot of time, energy and money to find the right “look” for a book, yet even they don’t always get it right. Sometimes a brilliant cover looks great on its own but can get lost in a shop, either because it looks too much like all the other books, or looks too different so people don’t recognize the type of book and walk past assuming they won’t like it.

I think a good cover should:
1) Make a reader want to pick up the book (most important!).
2) Say something about the story.
3) If part of a series, have the same “look” as the other covers in the series.

A very beautiful cover can sometimes tempt me to buy a book because it will look nice on my shelf, even if I’m not sure about the story. Colours are important, too, for attracting the eye. A lot of books aimed at girls these days seem to have pink sparkly ones, but Song Quest is not just a book for girls so I’m pleased none of the entries were pink!


Also, covers that appeal to adult/YA readers often don’t work as well for younger readers, so the age level of the story needs to be taken into account, too. Song Quest was originally published for readers aged 9+, which I think can be especially tricky because it falls between child and adult. Too “young” a design could put off older readers, yet too “adult” a design might not inspire younger readers.

Three of the entries stood out for me, and here’s what I thought of them:

ENTRY 1
Sammee’s design is professional and atmospheric, though I felt it looked a bit too much like the original American cover to win, since the aim of this contest was to find a fresh new look. Interestingly, this was the only entry to mention that the book is part of the Echorium Sequence, but since the competition rules didn’t actually specify all the lettering (title, author, series name, etc.) had to be in place, I did not penalise the others for leaving them out.

ENTRY 2
Daria sent in several designs with a very distinctive style. I loved all the artwork, but felt that the mermaid gave the best feel for Song Quest. This design would look very striking done in dark blue and silver, and if the waves at the bottom were removed there would be plenty of space for author name etc. to be added. It would also be quite easy to give the other two books in the Echorium Sequence the same distinctive look by using their particular half creatures in place of the mermaid – a centaur for Crystal Mask, a quetzal for Dark Quetzal – perhaps using different colours with the silver (green and silver for Crystal Mask, crimson and silver for Dark Quetzal?) With the silver stars on a coloured background, the covers would glitter. This is a child-friendly design without feeling too “young”, so should appeal to the 9+ readership as well as older fantasy/mermaid lovers, so it’s the one I like best for a children’s edition of the book.

ENTRY 3
Entry 3 stood out for its clean, professional, modern look. The title and author name and the quote from the review are all beautifully positioned as part of the design. The reflected ghostly image in the eye is clever, and although my Singers don’t actually use musical instruments in the book – she looks as if she is holding a violin? – this could easily be tweaked to agree with the story. It was not quite so obvious, however, how the other two Echorium books could be given the same cover “look”, and I also think this one has quite an adult feel. So although initially drawn to this design as an adult reader, in the end I had to consider the story level and the fact the book is part of a series in making my final decision. If “Song Quest” ever had an adult edition, though, this is the one I’d choose!

Clearly, the above three entries all have different strengths, and in the end choosing a winner must come down to personal preference. Although Entry 3 is more of a finished product, I think Entry 2 would make the best basis for a fresh, distinctive, reader friendly design that could be extended to the other two books in the series.

So the winner is… Entry 2, Daria’s mermaid!




With a special mention for Entry 3.

Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone who entered. I am in awe of your talents. My agent is in discussion with publishers at the moment about possibly bringing this book back into print, so it seems this campaign is already having some effect.

© Katherine Roberts, 2010

Hey everyone, it's me again!
Well the above news is very exciting so I guess we should watch this space...

And a personal message to the people who entered cover designs. If the day comes that Song Quest is back in print, I shall buy you all a copy because your contribution to this campaign means so much to me.
Daria! Congratulations! I will send you an email to get your address and pop the signed copy of Crystal Mark in the post to you.

10 comments:

Jen G. said...

Congratulations, Daria!

Congrats to everyone else too. I thought all the designs were lovely, and I'm glad I didn't have to choose!

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Oh, fantastic! What a fascinating message from Katherine Roberts. It must have been such a hard choice - those entries were all amazing! Congratulations, Daria!

Katherine Langrish said...

They were all beautiful and I was amazed by the talent on offer. I hope Katherine's wonderful books are back in the stores asap, and that this competition will have helped.

Daria Hlazatova said...

wow! thank you so much! I didn't expect this:)Thanks!! I should say I reaaally loved the other covers, so congratulations to all for a beautiful job!

brizmus said...

yay! Congrats Daria! Super awesome cover. . .It really must have been so hard to choose. I loved them all!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Lovely cover! Nice choice!

Sarah said...

Congratulations Daria - I thought everyone did a beautiful job with their designs :o)

Yay that Katherine's agent is in talks trying to get this published again! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that your campaign has worked Becky!!

Darlyn said...

Congratulations Daria!To think of it, Daria deserves it as Kathrine said. She met the points of the book, and I'm so jealous of that!Thank you to Becky for hosting this campaign and contest, and Katherine for her lovely comments. I was so excited participating in this contest and campaign.Such a sweet experience. It's a good news knowing the book will back.Congratulations to all =)

Carla said...

Awesome!!! That cover with the mermaid on is just divine!! great job Daria!

I Want To Read That said...

Congratulations Daria! And Becky, this was such a fun contest - thanks:)

Also, as Darlyn said, big thanks to Katherine for such lovely comments:)