Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cover Art

So, I get a call from Chris at Shadow Mountain yesterday. “Scott, I don’t know what your afternoon looks like. But Brandon just sent over some cover sketches and . . .”

I think I might have been at his office before he finished the sentence. Okay, not really. It’s about a twenty minute drive from my office to his. So it probably took me five to seven minutes to get there. I’ve been excited about this meeting for a couple of reasons.

First, and foremost, it’s a freaking fantasy cover for my new series. What’s not to get excited about? I’ve never put a book poster from any of my other books up on the wall, but this baby is going to be framed, spotlighted, and put right in the center of the living room wall where you have to see it as you come in the house. Okay, not really, that spot is actually taken up with a giclee of the prince rising on his white steed to rescue Sleeping Beauty painted by one of the illustrators who did Marie Poppins, among many other Disney films. But I am going to frame it and put it up in my office.

The second reason is that despite what most readers think, authors often get very little say in what their covers look like. I’m sure bigger authors have this benefit, but with my regional novels I never saw the cover art until it was actually in a catalog. So to have Shadow Mountain not only give me a sneak peek, but actually ask for my input, is incredible.

Once I got to the office, Chris and Richard, the art director, met with me in a conference room overlooking Temple Square in Salt Lake, which is really beautiful this time of year. The first thing they did was show me the font they’ve been working on for the Farworld title. Now I’ll admit, this isn’t something I’ve paid much attention to before. I mean I know font is important and all, but these guys take it to a new level. They actually look at the series font the same way a company looks at a logo. In fact it is the logo for the series. For example, look at the logos they did for Fablehaven and The 13th Reality. Cool huh?

The font they are working on for Farworld totally blew me away. Think Gothic (You know where the O’s have little plus signs inside and all) but souped up with all kinds of fantasy feel to it. A font shouldn’t be able to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but it did!

Then we discussed the title. This has actually been something we’ve been playing with for awhile. If you haven’t read the overview I put together in my “hooks” post, the first four books in the five book series focus on finding the four elements of water, earth, air, and fire. (In this case land instead of earth, because Earth means the planet in this series.) So the original idea was to just call it Farworld—Water. But we all agreed that Water just doesn’t have that much kick to it. We’ve been playing around with Water Elemental, because the protagonists are looking for the elementals. But that felt a little too young, and the story is not about the elemental as the primary character. It looks like we’ve decided on Water Keep, which is where the elementals live. So that’s cool.

Then they spread out the different sketches.

Can I just say my heart leapt right up in my throat? Brandon Dorman is an art god. He just whips out six different cover ideas and all of them blew me away. It was like being a kid in a candy shop. I’m sitting there going, “Oh this cool. But I really like that too. And, oh my gosh, look at that one.”

Fortunately once my heart resumed a somewhat normal rhythm, I could look objectively at them, and we all zoomed in on the same one. I can’t say a lot about the sketch, because it will change a lot before it becomes the actual cover. But let me just say, I think it will stop people in their tracks. It combines several different parts of the story with the feel of the actual cover being water. It nailed a couple of minor characters which I really liked so well that it felt like Brandon had pulled them straight out of my imagination.

There are a few changes we discussed, but really just minor tweaks on how a certain part should look or how the covers of the series would tie together. But I walked out of the office and to my car floating on clouds. Some time this month I should have the final cover and I’ll post it here before I show it anywhere else. I’ve said it before, but let me repeat, being a fantasy author has to be just about the best job in the world.


Anna said...

It sure does sound like the best job in the world! And for my part, it has got to be the best paying job.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see it!

by the way, You've been tagged!! Come to my blog and see. :^> Would you rather I linked people here for it, or over to 6 and a frog?

Chris said...

Sounds amazing! I'm a big fan of Brandon Dorman's art. Completely agree with you, he does a fantastic job. Can't wait to see what he's done with your book!

Brian said...


I can't wait to see the cover. You said you were going to hang a poster of it in your office? Sounds awesome! I have a few book posters in my room, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Spiderwick Chronicles (Movie Edition,) and The Great Tree of Avalon, by T.A. Barron. The new title sounds awesome, too.

Tamra Norton said...

Wow--sounds like a dream come true. I'm so excited just hearing you talk about it. Can't wait to actually see it!

Melinda said...

Wow, that is just so dang cool.

Thanks for sharing on your blog so that we can all enjoy your experiences.

Can't wait to see it!

Booklogged said...

Scott, your enthusiasm is catching. I'm excited for you and can't wait to see the cover.

I have so enjoyed reading your posts about 'the process' you are going through with this series. I will never write a book so it's been fun to vicariously experience a bit of the ups and downs. (Someday these posts will make a great book...)

DesLily said...

I was grinning through your whole post!! I can imagine very well what it might feel like to have a artist put your thoughts on paper.. it would be mind boggling! To even imagine someone can "see" in your story, what you "see" !! gawd, waiting to see the finished product must be anxioty at it's best lol.. good luck sleeping!

Can't wait to see the cover!! (I do believe the cover art is a big part of selling the book! I'm glad you got such a good artist!!

Julie Wright said...

that is simply awesome!

trish said...

So is the movie Marie Poppins a spin off of Mary Poppins, or is it the other way around? ;-)

J Scott Savage said...


How well it pays is yet to be seen, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Didn't your Mom ever tell you no tag in the house? Have to see what I can do.


I get to see a more detailed sketch tomorrow. Can't wait!


I'll have to see if I can get up to Washington or maybe send you a poster, so I can join the heavy hitters on your wall.


You're next!


Me either.


Glad somebody's enjoy the downs. I'd be happy with just the ups. Book idea huh? Hmmm


It's honestly the coolest thing other than getting married and having kids. And sometimes I even question the kids thing. (Just kidding D1 and S1, 2, & 3)


Can't wait to see your cover.


Didn't you know Marie Poppins is the French version? Of course there was also the PG-13 version Mary Poopins. :)

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I've enjoyed every title that Shadow Mountain has sent to me for review. And the artwork never ceases to amaze me.
I'm looking forward to what Dorman has in store for yours as well!

Anna said...

I just meant that a job that pays. The idea of being a writer to me is more appealing for the writing part, not the paying part! It's so amazing when you get the characters fleshed out...and when you start to get an idea of what kind of a part they're going to play....man. I think I'm on a writing kick right now. I go through reading kicks and then I switch to writing kicks every couple of weeks or so. Sometimes every month.