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Category: Covers

New York Book Show 09 Winners!

450_Poster2010The New York Book Show is an annual competition held by the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York, which is a professional publishing organization focusing on design & production of all kinds of trade, academic, and specialty books. It’s one of the few design competitions every year that focuses just on books, and I entered some of our Orbit titles from 2009.

The judging was just completed, and Soulless by Gail Carriger & Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler both won in the mass market paperback cover design category. Thanks to everyone who was involved in the cover designs, especially Donna Ricci, our model for Alexia Tarabotti & mistress of all things Steampunk Fashion, and Sharon Tancredi, the illustrator for Tempest Rising. Go Team!

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Cover Launch: TERMINAL STATE

ts1Here’s a brand new Avery Cates novel from author Jeff Somers, book #4: Terminal State. I really liked the original trade paperback covers for this series that Jae Lee illustrated, but I have to say I have been really enjoying designing the mass markets in this really graphic monochrome look. The new covers for Electric Church (#1) and Digital Plague (#2) are hitting the stores in November & December, so go check them out in person. Eternal Prison (#3) releases in July and Terminal State in August.

I can’t wait to have all 4 of them lined up on my shelf. Read the rest of this entry »

Behind the Scenes: BITTEN IN TWO

IMG_0888The Art Department is deep into working on the covers for Fall/Winter 2010-2011 and has moved from deciding directions on books and choosing artists right on to the fun part: photoshoots! Today yours truly was at the studio with the crew responsible for the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin (hey, Bite Marks is out now, don’t forget).

The next book in the series is lucky number 7, tentatively titled Bitten in Two. Jaz and her motley crew of vampire hunting/demon slaying/werewolf shooting misfits are in Morocco this time, hunting for a way to evict the evil spirit locked in the back of Jaz’s skull. If you haven’t read this series, it’s all action, ass-kicking, and one hot vampire. No swooning maidens here. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: BEST SERVED COLD

PrintNow in bite-sized format: the mass market edition of Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. Now even more bad-ass.

I may have gone over this before, but you may ask, “Why would you change the cover from Hardcover to Paperback?” and my answer usually is “Why not?!” — there’s always more than one way to portray the story in a book, and why not take the opportunity to do something new and maybe even attract a few new readers that you may have missed the first time around. There’s some seriously publishing-geeky conversations over here between Editorial and Art about audience, readers, how people browse in bookstores vs. airports vs. bog box chains, etc. but in my book I will usually always go for reshuffling the elements at least — keeping the art, but playing with the crop, size, order, type on a cover. (That is, unless the Creative Director hasn’t had a lot of sleep that week, or some other art emergency is draining manpower when the cover change comes up for discussion, so don’t go back thru the backlist and nitpick me, ok? Ha.) Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: BLONDE BOMBSHELL

Holt_Blonde Bombshell (TP)Don’t tell me you haven’t read Tom Holt yet! You love Douglas Adams, read Terry Pratchett, dabble in some A. Lee Martinez, but you haven’t discovered Tom Holt? Well, now is your chance. A huge favorite in the UK, Tom Holt has an impressive backlist of that kind of really funny, smart, and absurdist humor that we all met with the Hitchhiker’s series (way back in what, high school?) and need a pretty steady fix of. I admit I had never been introduced to his books before, but Orbit UK has been publishing him for a long time, and he’s developed quite an underground fan base in the US, who subsist on a diet of imports. This release will be not only the US launch of Tom Holt but also the start of a new cover look for the UK.

Blonde Bombshell is a great jumping-on point if you’ve never read Mr. Holt, and if you’re already a fan, you’ll be excited to hear that it’s Tom’s first book that is more of a humorous science fiction, (rather than humorous fantasy) novel. Here’s a description: Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: STEALING FIRE

Graham_Stealing Fire (TP)Stealing Fire is another great historical fantasy novel from Jo Graham and another beautiful painting from John Jude Palencar.

Black Ships and Hand of Isis were some of the first books I read from Orbit when I joined the team here, and they’re books I still press into people’s hands when they come to visit the office. They’re really well-written books in the vein of Mists of Avalon and I can’t give higher praise than that, people. The books are not quite a series in that you can read them in any order, and they don’t follow each other chronologically. However they are tied together by the characters and I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give it away. Read the rest of this entry »

Double Cover Launch: GRIFFIN MAGE TRILOGY

Neumeier_Lord Changing Winds (MM) Neumeier_Land Burning Sands (MM)Today, lucky readers, I have not one but TWO covers to launch: Lord of the Changing Winds and The Land of Burning Sands by Rachel Neumeier, Books I & II of the Griffin Mage Trilogy. I am launching them together because they are releasing back to back in May and June 2010, and the final book will be out in December 2010. (We know you guys love it when we do a quick publishing schedule so you can get the whole epic, right? We’re geeks too, we know waiting for book 2 is the worst.)

Anyway, back to the books. The author has a fresh take on griffins, much more raw, and dangerous than the traditional fantasy griffins — and I wanted that to show through in the covers. These griffins are animal creatures first, and I think that’s never been explored before, so I have focused on those details of the griffins, and then just added touches of the story – in the first book you can just see the reflection of Kes in the griffin’s eye, and then in the second book you can see the role the desert will play. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: THE UNIT

OR-001 Unit cover artThe Unit by Terry DeHart has a pretty straightforward concept: it’s about a family fighting to survive the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse. It’s a very violent, gritty book, and it reads like an action movie, so we wanted to give the cover a very cinematic look. The “Unit” of the title is a bit of a play on words, as it’s a family unit that must turn itself into a military unit in order to survive. I could go on about the “nuclear” family having to face “nuclear” holocaust but then you’d all groan and go read someone else’s blog post here. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

The cover is a collaboration between the fabulous designer Chad Roberts and myself. He really gets all the credit for establishing the look and typography, but the original had more graphic, as opposed to photographic, figures of the family. After the final manuscript came in we realized the book was a little more gritty than the graphic look communicated, so yours truly took the template for the characters Chad had designed and found more realistic images we could then backlight and do fancy photoshop magic on to make them look like they were totally all standing together in front of a big fireball waiting to spring into action. (A.K.A. “Designer Magic”)

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Cover Launch: FEED

Grant_Feed (MM)Winner of officially the hardest cover of the season to nail: Feed by Mira Grant. I don’t want to give too much away on this one, because it’s one of those books that sounds a little odd in the describing, but then blows you away when you read it. There are a lot of layers going on in this book and it’s really smart. It’s an adventure, a political drama, a medical thriller, a character-driven almost first-person memoir style book that sucks you in and you literally cannot put down. And there’s zombies. Yes, a smart book about zombies. But don’t get hung up on the zombie thing. this book is not a joke, or a gimmick. Seriously people, I literally teared up at the end, I got so into the characters. I don’t do that for a lot of science fiction books. (Okay, I cried at the end of Endymion Rising. And Ender’s Game. but that’s it, I swear.)

As I have said before, liking a book a lot before you start designing is a bit of a curse, because you kind of put a lot of pressure on yourself to do a good job. That was definitely the case with Feed, but even worse it was a book that had to combine so many things into a smart package: zombies, politics, blogs, science fiction, horror, and a real world this-could-happen-to-you kind of impact. Tall order. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: THE GASLIGHT DOGS

Lowachee_Gaslight Dogs (MM)One of the best parts—and hardest parts— of my job is getting to match up artists with a new book or series. You have a big responsibility to get the image “right” — there’s nothing worse to me as a fan than reading a book and picturing it in your mind and loving it, then having an image on the cover that just doesn’t capture the depth or feel of the book. This can be true of a cover whether it’s designed or illustrated, but there’s something about an illustration that locks the image of the character or world in your mind, and it’s unshakeable. So you want it to be RIGHT.

The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee was definitely one of those books that begged to be illustrated. And the editor and I both thought Sam Weber had the perfect style for the book—both for his beautiful but haunting figures, and for his stark backgrounds. We thought he could perfectly evoke that arctic wasteland feeling, while giving us a compelling but accurate picture of the main character and her spirit form. That’s the tricky thing about hiring an illustrator also—you don’t just want them to paint a scene straight from the book—you want them to add something to it. Another layer, a feeling, it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. It’s a very elusive quality, and one of those things that makes Creative Directors tear their hair out in their sleep. Read the rest of this entry »

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