Book Jacket Design—Something Supernatural

I read with real interest the blog posts by Laura Toffler-Corrie. She is the Macmillan author who wrote My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush. It’s a great book, really funny and action-packed. The reason for my own particular interest is because I designed the jacket for that book, and despite what you might imagine, novelists don’t often have direct contact with the design department. They communicate through their editor. This is a sensible plan. Designers benefit by a certain amount of seclusion. Too much outside input can frighten the muse away. In this case, the editor was Nancy Mercado, a smart, savvy, and kind person. Nancy makes every author comment sound like a compliment even if what she is describing is a complete rejection.

For those who haven’t read this terrific book, the main character, Jenna, is described as an awkward girl. Her mother buys her clothes at Bulk Emporium, which sort of defines her style. Her love interest is Luke, a very, very handsome angel. There is a dark angel named Adam, who is Luke’s Nemesis. The setting is a middle school where Jenna is involved with her school’s drama club. Crows play heavily into the action.

I am going to make a bold, reckless move and show you the various attempts, false starts, train wrecks, that led to the final cover. Hopefully you will find it enlightening. Do let me know.

This was my first round:

Spoofing on the classic paperback romance cover. I came up with that tagline myself. Kind of proud of it.

Dreamy hunk

I still like this one.

My first round didn’t fly. I was asked to focus more on the humor. So here was my second round:

Just kidding with this one

Feedback: Okay, forget the humor. Show the girl, the romance, and the setting. This I thought was pretty direct and kind of interesting:

One of our sales reps kindly intervened at this point and gave me these existing covers to look at:



She said their hope was that we would be capturing this same reader, so mimic this style. I came back with this:

and then a revision:


It is often interesting to me to re-open design files after some time has passed. I almost never remember all the work that was done or how the first one led to the last one. Did this whole design process surreally happen to me?

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