Book Cover Magic: An Interview With Scholastic's David Saylor

David Saylor-2.jpgRecently I posted a few observations about YA book covers. I’m don’t think most readers know what goes into creating the final product they see on the shelf at their library or local bookstore, namely its cover art.

A friend at Scholastic suggested Ypulse Books interview someone in the biz about this issue. (Thanks Tracy!) David Saylor, VP, Associate Publisher & Creative Director, Scholastic Hardcover Books agreed to answer some of our questions and enlighten us on this subject of “wrapping” books. We all “judge books by their covers” and it’s helpful to know what goes into the cover-making process.

YPulse Books: What are the primary objectives in designing book covers for young adult books?

David Saylor: The primary objective of any cover, for any age reader, is to attract attention. We strive to create covers that make someone want to pick it up. Our other objectives are to give a reader a feeling for the book and what it might be about. We’re trying to invite readers into the book and the jacket is the invitation.

YPB: Describe the process of designing a book cover for a given title. Are there certain steps that you always take or is it a different process each time?

DS: Most books follow this pattern: Once the editor acquires a book, the art director/designer gets a synopsis and a copy of the manuscript. Sometimes the manuscript is in great shape, but more often it’s a draft, before the author has completed revisions. The art director/designer reads the manuscript, then they meet with the editor to talk about some ideas on how the cover might look. Sometimes the discussions are very general, such as deciding on a photographic approach or a commissioned piece of artwork. That’s followed by more detailed thoughts on what the image might be, what the characters look like, what the…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “A wedding trend I’ve noticed recently is guests not dressing formally to the reception/wedding, more come as you are attitude.”—Female, 24, MI

This week, Mattel introduced an American Boy doll, their first male offering in the company’s 31-year history. New doll Logan Everett is part of a pair of singer-songwriters from Nashville who come with music-inspired accessories. The company reports that customers have been asking for a male doll for some time, and Mattel’s continuing strategy to diversify their offerings helped increase sales by 4% last year. (KidscreenNYTimes

Kids in Australia are spending more time online than watching TV. Research firm Roy Morgan reports that in 2016 six-13-year-olds spent an average of 12 hours a week online compared to 10.5 hours spent in front of the TV, the first time internet surpassed TV since the survey began in 2008. Online time has also almost doubled in the last eight years. The firm says, "The idea that TV is boring no matter what is on is just because TV is so static and it might have ads on it." (ABC

The current state of the White House has ignited Gen Z’s interest in politics—according to AwesomenessTV’s CEO, Brian Robbins. He reports that his own children’s newfound fascination with politics sparked by the recent election has inspired him to bring more political content to AwesomenessTV. Because “[a]n audience that really wasn't that interested is now really interested," the company will move away from “fluffy, horrible” entertainment news into political news, which could be in the form of documentaries, or scripted shows. (Business Insider)

Millennials are reporting higher rates of depression than any other generation, creating challenges at work. To avoid the stigma surrounding mental issues, young employees are increasingly resorting to using personal days to recuperate from anxiety, depression, and other afflictions. According to one expert, “this generation is not necessarily more depressed than workers of past generations, but more equipped to recognize it”—however, they fear judgement from their employers. (MarketWatch)  

Is Snap Inc. really a camera company? They say they are, and in their IPO filing the brand wrote, “In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones.” WeChat’s ability to read QR codes, Pinterest’s new visual search, and Facebook Messengers’ new visual capabilities all point to expanding capabilities of a camera—and the fact that “users’ experience of the world is increasingly mediated through cameras.” (The New Yorker)  

Quote of the Day: “I have a diamond wedding ring but any stone would be beautiful and appreciated.”—Female, 24, MN

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies