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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