Teen Publisher Extravaganza: The Making of a Cover
The lovely people at Harper Teen have been awesome enough to provide insight into how they make a cover. This will feature the gorgeous cover for The Madman’s Daughter and how much work it took to create it. It is so fascinating!
The making of a cover: The Madman’s Daughter
Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet trav- els to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s insanity: He has ex- perimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and mad- ness—in her own blood.
At the start of our process we consider the story, of course, and what we want on the cover of this particular book. In concepting the first book of series, we always have to keep in mind what the continuation of the package of all the books will be. In the case of The Madman’s Daughter and the following books, we could all glean from our knowlege of the classics when considering these covers. One of our chal- lenges was to make all three covers for three very different stories look connected, modern and intriguing for today’s teen readers.
Right away we are considering the fact that these three books have different set- tings and themes. Also in our minds is the idea that these books are historical and very dark in tone, so the question then becomes how best to feature these themes from the story on our cover.
Ultimately we decided to go with period-dress coupled with modern styling and to shoot outdoors. For the first cover, our background in the photo is decidedly non- descript. As the book begins in England then moves the deep jungle, we decided to keep the background simple. We chose not to rely heavily on the jungle as a theme for our cover so that it didn’t look vastly different from Books 2 and 3 later on.
We hired an amazing photographer, Lara Jade, who is based in the UK as well as New York. We were able to meet with her, and talk about the themes and brain- storm how to make all three of these covers look cohesive. She shared with us a location idea that we agreed was great. We chose for our model to be near a body of water that Lara had in mind. Places with water and a voyage across the sea were themes in the book, and having our model be right on the edge of land and water made for a beautiful image.
Ultimately Lara shot our cover in the UK. We discussed styling and chose models and wardrobe while looking at images she sent us quickly from London. She hired stylists, wardrobe and the model locally. Below is the frame we chose from the photo shoot.
We loved the image but there were a few details we wanted to change. The main ones being that her outfit needed a pop of color and the sky, although a beautiful clear blue day for a photo shoot, was not right for our cover.
Below is the final image for our cover, with Lara’s amazing additions to the moodi- ness of the sky and the deep-red sash in the center of the image.
I began to play with many versions of type, including some hand-lettering on the image.
Finally, we decided to go with some unexpectedly large title type and not worry about placing it off of the figure. We chose a very poppy color for the red which will really stand out against the soft colors of the art. This jacket will print with some beautiful effects and we hope everyone loves it as much as we do!
Now it’s off to dream up the second book… I’m back to the drawing board (or com- puter in this case) and look forward to working again with Lara Jade and everyone here at Harper!