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Judging a Cover by its Book: Choose the cover direction for THESE VICIOUS MASKS

Hey Swoon Readers,

Are you all as excited as we are to see the fabulous cover directions for THESE VICIOUS MASKS? (That’s a trick question, you can’t possibly be as excited as us, but that’s okay, we forgive you.) If you don’t know Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas‘s fabulous mix of Jane Austen’s Victorian era society and X-Men-like super powers, then you are missing out and should click here right now for more information and to read the first draft! Go on, we’ll wait … well, for a little while at least (Cover Voting will close at noon EST on Monday, March 30th).

Our Senior Creative Director Rich Deas and Designer KB have pulled together some truly amazing cover directions for this book, and shared some of the thought process behind each below.  (For more information about the difference between a cover direction and the final cover click here.) And to see the most detail, we suggest clicking the image itself before voting.

The Masquerade Cover
The Masquerade Cover
With this cover direction, I really wanted to focus on Evelyn’s story. Yet, we felt that showing a girl’s face, even with a mask on it, would be much too traditional for such a unique novel. So instead, we decided to turn the image of a girl into more of a silhouette, complete with Victorian London gaslamps as earrings to capture the feeling of the setting. I also deliberately chose a more feminine font treatment, and detailed mask. Ideally, on the final printed book, we would also be able to emboss the mask itself to give it even more texture and definition.
Vicious masks_hidden[1]
The Superhero Cover
The Superhero Cover
I really wanted to capture the dark, edgy X-Men aspect of the book with this cover. The focus here is really on the eyes and the way they grab your attention immediately. The cover as a whole is mean to be very mysterious and super-powered… especially the metallic nature of the type treatment. But the details and the type itself were chosen for their Victorian flavor. Then the ribbon was added for a pop of color and as a call out to Evelyn and the bright red dress she wears during an important scene in the book. And again, on the final book cover, we would probably choose to emboss the mask for added texture.
The Love Triangle Cover
The Love Triangle Cover
We all feel instantly in love with the image of the man in the top hat. It’s very mysterious and appealing, so I knew that I wanted it to be in forefront of the image. The next step was finding the perfect iconic Londonesque image to serve as a background (I added the moon and birds for atmosphere). Finally, I added the other couple to bring in the love triangle aspect of the book, so you can see that the book is a romance. And best of all, I love that you can’t really see their faces, keeping them mysterious and intriguing.
Vicious_top hat
The Top Hat Cover
The Top Hat Cover
Who doesn’t love a debonair guy in a top hat. He’s mysterious, attractive, and cool. And, he definitely gives the cover a sense of the 1880’s Victorian time period. I added a bit of a glow to him to lighten him up and make him stand out even more, while also hinting at his hidden powers.  The threatning sky above with hollowed eyes reflect the danger and is also a callback to the mask in the title. The sky image is created by the amazing artist Daniel Berard.  If this cover is selected, I will first need approval from the artist.
The Shattered Mask
The Shattered Mask Cover
We feel that the title of the novel is extremely compelling, and considering that a mask can say so much, we wanted to include at least one image that was focused on that aspect. We kept the mask dark as a nod to the gothic/paranormal feel of the book, while the detail on the mask hints at the Victorian time period. And then we added all kinds of graphic design eye candy (shattering glass, smoke, the mask itself dissolving into mist) as a call out to the X-men elements.

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

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