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…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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