Good Wives and Warriors on designing The Exact Opposite of Everything

We were approached by Egmont publishing, through our illustration agents (Central Illustration) to pitch an idea for this cover. They liked the previous illustration we'd done for the cover of another YA novel called Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. We were also doing another three YA book covers at the same time so we really felt like we were getting our teenage heads back!

Good Wives and Warriors on designing The Exact Opposite of Everything

Katie Tooke takes on The Queen of Bloody Everything

After reading The Queen of Bloody Everything and talking to the editor and reading the brief I set to work on designing this cover. It is funny and heartbreaking in equal measure and very much voice led. The story takes the main character from a feisty awkward six year old up until she is a grown woman and focuses on the complex relationship between herself and her dysfunctional mother. The protagonist longs to be part of the family next door and so she looks beyond her house to her neighbours family, longing for another life. The sense of the main characters childhood and the hot late 70's summer stuck with me as it felt a prominent visual element of the book.

Katie Tooke takes on The Queen of Bloody Everything

Ben Dolnick on Writing The Ghost Notebooks

In the course of writing The Ghost Notebooks Ben Dolnick pondered ghosts: Should they be an imagined manifestation of his main character's grief? Should they be real? He wrote and rejected 100,000 words. Pounded his head against the wall (figuratively). Paced and muttered into a Dictaphone, in circuits around his backyard. Paced and muttered into a Dictaphone, in circuits around New York.

Ben Dolnick on Writing The Ghost Notebooks

The Writer's Practice: Ashley Woodfolk

No writing during the week = no fun on the weekend. That's how author Ashley Woodfolk gets it done.

Woodfolk's first book, the YA novel The Beauty That Remains, releases on March 6 and she has two more books in progress. At the start of each week, she sets a writing goal. Because she works full time for a children's book publisher, she has to wake up early early early if she wants to write. She's not fond of early early early, but she is fond of hanging out with her friends. So she bribes herself. Get up early. Do the writing. Enjoy the weekend.

The Writer's Practice: Ashley Woodfolk

David Mann on creating the cover for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

I’d never worked on a cover like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle before, simply because I can’t think of anything like it. It’s an incredible piece of writing by Stuart Turton that defies a single genre - Gosford Park meets Inception via Murder on the Orient Express anyone?! The eponymous Evelyn dies time after time at a country house ball, as party guest Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest every day to solve the mystery of her murder.

David Mann on creating the cover for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Suzanne Dean Goes Back in Time to Create the Cover for The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is a spellbinding story of curiosity and obsession. Set in 1785, Jonah Hancock, a merchant, sells his ship for a mermaid.

My first job was to collect research on typography and fonts, printed matter, fashion and fabrics - all of which was pasted to the wall of my office. The title and author font was developed by referencing eighteenth-century lettering. Here are the first sketches by the lettering artist, and the finished title.

Suzanne Dean Goes Back in Time to Create the Cover for The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

The Poet's Practice: Dorothea Lasky

First, a thought. Or a dream, a happening, an itch, a longing, an aversion, a quickening, a word. Then a poem, and after more time and more poems, maybe one adheres to another, and that to another still, and eventually an idea of poems together. A book.

This is how it happens, a book of poetry. Can happen. Might.

The Poet's Practice: Dorothea Lasky

Spine Podcast, Episode 5: She Designs Books

In this episode we interview Nicole Caputo and Anne Twomey, Co-Founders of She Designs Books, a celebration of female talent in the world of book design. Whatever your gender, whether you are brand new to publishing or have been in the industry for years, you are certain to enjoy this interview.

Spine Podcast, Episode 5: She Designs Books

Open Letter Books, Translating Stories from Acquisition to Publication

Open Letter Books brings world literature to English-language readers. Working in conjunction with the University of Rochester's Literary Translation Studies program, the nonprofit press publishes ten titles a year. To explain how Open Letter moves a title from acquisition to publication, Publisher Chad W. Post walked Spine through the process on two recent titles.

Open Letter Books, Translating Stories from Acquisition to Publication

The Writer's Practice: Aimie K. Runyan

Aimie K. Runyan has been drawn to historical fiction for most of her life. It “has the ability to transport you through time and space, where contemporary fiction has less of that. It requires so much more description, and makes the writing so much more vibrant, which is one of the joys, and challenges, of the genre,” said Runyan. In her latest book, Daughters of the Night Sky, Runyan takes the reader to the front lines of World War II in Soviet Russia, and tells a tale of war, flight, and women’s rights.

The Writer's Practice: Aimie K. Runyan

Holly Ovenden, Designing the cover for Jenny Zhang's Sour Heart

Holly Ovenden is a designer working in-house at Bloomsbury Publishing in London. Among her amazing works is the paperback cover for Jenny Zhang's Sour Heart. Here she details her process for creating the cover in her own words.

Holly Ovenden, Designing the cover for Jenny Zhang's Sour Heart

Jordan & Goldstein ‘Cover’ Popular Culture with Minimalistic Approach

When the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based not-for-profit, contacted design duo Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein to design not one but threecovers (and a boxed set slipcover) for a three-part anthology on popular culture, the pair immediately accepted the challenge. Great Books, after all, need great covers. Jordan and Goldstein’s design process for this project, however, reveals the art of transforming noble ideas and values into provocative images and designs. Throughout the process, Jordan and Goldstein leaned on the abstract to convey the utility and inspiration of pop culture, even in modern intellectual circles. 

Jordan & Goldstein ‘Cover’ Popular Culture with Minimalistic Approach

Minko & Bindas, Creating Before The Sun Wakes Up

Successful college students master the art of the juggle: multiple classrooms in multiple buildings, multiple courses with multiple projects, plus roommates and classmates and jobs and on the best days, eating and sleeping. After finishing her second year in the film and animation program at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she's focusing on 3D animation, student Alyssa Minko decided to take it up a notch: She agreed to illustrate a children's book.

Minko & Bindas, Creating Before The Sun Wakes Up

Spine Podcast, Episode 4: Jo Thomson

In this episode we interview Jo Thomson, a freelance book cover designer who previously worked in-house at Pan Macmillan. Thomson is the recipient of a British Book Design & Production Award for Best Jacket for Not Working, by Lisa Owens. She also earned and ABCD Award for her cover design of Haus Frau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum.

Spine Podcast, Episode 4: Jo Thomson

Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney on Writing A Secret Sisterhood

A Secret Sisterhood explores four literary friendships: between Jane Austen and her brother's playwriting employee Anne Sharp; between Charlotte Brontë and her strong-minded schoolmate, feminist writer Mary Taylor; between George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author of Uncle Tom's Cabin; and between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, whose complicated friendship other biographers have reduced to rivalry.

Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney on Writing A Secret Sisterhood

Wakefield’s Swan Song Cover Captures a Capote Moment 

A good cover conceals and reveals a book’s content. It spills just enough narrative to interest potential readers, but it leaves much to the imagination. Consider Lauren Wakefield’s recent cover for Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott’s Swan Song a primer in walking the line between closure and exposure: dichromatic scallops envelop a near-faceless woman’s poised body, the sharp line of her cigarette disrupting the rounded pattern. Then the title, big and bold and white, enchants us with just enough late-1950s flair to transport us to a smokier, sexier era. Only a cover this demure will do for a book about Truman Capote and his relationships with a group of elite, secretive society women he dubbed his ‘swans.’ After several initial visuals—some too vague and some too on-the-nose—Wakefield created a cover that recalls the charm and darkness of Capote’s social circles.

Wakefield’s Swan Song Cover Captures a Capote Moment 

The Writer's Practice: Felicia Yap

In her first novel, the high-concept thriller Yesterday, Felicia Yap explores memory and its effects on relationships. Half the book's characters are "Duos," who can only remember the last 48 hours. The remaining characters remember even less; "Monos" only recall yesterday. While characters constantly write in journals ("iDiaries") to save present details for future review, in many ways their lives are a constant surprise.

The Writer's Practice: Felicia Yap

Mark Read & Toxic People

Mark Read is a book cover designer and art director based in London. Among the incredible work in his portfolio is the cover for Dr. Tim Cantopher's Toxic People: Dealing with Dysfunctional Relationships. Here he describes his process for creating the design, in his own words.

Mark Read & Toxic People

Some Things Covered: Why #metoo Isn’t Funny

All the #metoo posts got me thinking about how women everywhere needed to feel they were not alone anymore. Do you know what the loneliest feeling is? Thinking you are alone. An odd (wo)man out. The person who humorlessly “doesn’t get it”.

Some people can only feel satiated by power. And they feel most powerful when they can take power by diminishing others. When silencing or bullying others, they convince themselves of their supremacy. And one of the most effective disguises of their true harmful intentions is humor. 

Some Things Covered: Why #metoo Isn’t Funny