Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Now you see her . . .



Now you don't!




So what do you think was the reasoning behind the cover change of The Green Glass Sea (published this fall by Viking), an excellent historical novel set at Los Alamos, and what it was like for the children there, during WWII? My first thought was that the photo of the girl might have made people think it was an Anne Frank book, or perhaps the publisher might have decided that the design was just too darned busy, especially if somebody decides to put an award sticker on it. The second definitely says literary fiction here, and tones down the math. It's beautiful, but I have to say the first cover made me grab the galley straight away. And, cover questions aside, I'm glad I did. Do watch for the book.

16 comments:

HG said...

It is a bit Anne Frankish, but I prefer the first cover.

sdn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sdn said...

guess what, roger? i'm ellen's editor. here are your answers.

after the bound galleys went out, we quickly learned (to our great surprise) that librarians, educators, booksellers, and (especially) the target audience found the cover drab and offputting. and yes, the girl looked to them like anne frank. initially, we weren't going to change it, but as more and more reports came in ...

thus, the second version, which has a special feature that you can't see online -- the equations are still there, but they're clear spot lam against the matte of the cover. tip the book so it catches the light: science!

i'm so glad you like ellen's work.

Anonymous said...

Being a person who judges books by their covers (usually with all the maturity of a 12-year old), I would say the face in the first version screamed "Boring story about some girls' family in the boring old days." And the green of the green glass sea was a little too drab, too. So, all in all, I think the changes were a good idea. Unfortunately, the new cover looks a little non-descript. A prospective reader would have no idea what's in this book. I hope that word "SECRET" stands out a lot better in the live version. Because I've tilted my monitor every which way and I don't see any light being caught. (A problem for on-line sales?) ;-)

Roger Sutton said...

I can see the SECRET if I stare at the second jpg long enough, and Sharyn's right about it catchnig the light in real life. I think lots of kids will love the book. It's not at all historical-fiction-stuffy, reads effortlessly, and Klages really understands how to balance context and story. Good work, Sharyn!

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I didn't mean to imply that what's inside the cover is stuffy, only that the original cover might not have served the book well. It sounds like an interesting story and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be millions of anonymouses cavorting around on this blog. This one wants to know if Elizabeth is well. She seems to have disappeared. Which is a great pity.

sdn said...

::beams happily::

web said...

It must be my computer, since I seem to be the only one who finds that girl exceptionally creepy looking. Vampire eyes, and what almost look like horns on her head. Save that photo for a sequel to _Twilight_!

Anonymous said...

perhaps the oublisher was hoping to attract ADULT readers, who, as we are continutally told, are now turning to YA fiction.

tessa said...

Anonymous can't spell (or proofread), but says exactly what I was thinking. Jacket looks like a "sensitive young girl" story, appropriate as upgrade from chick lit.

Anonymous said...

Hey, some of us "anonymouses" are insulted! We take great pride in our spelling and punctuation, and when we make a mistake, it's usually because the computer monitor is in that terrible spot between where we need our glasses to read and where we need our glasses off to read. (Very annoying.)

Anyway, if you find spelling and punctuation errors intolerable, you might want to stay off the Web. And don't even THINK of going into Instant Messaging.

Lynn said...

Now that you mention it, the fist cover is a bit Anne Frank-esque.

I have to admit the prominent math equations on the first cover, even with the word secret, would have been a bit off-putting because.... math = ick for me. The second one is more pleasing to the eye and the secret word hits at the secret within. Other than picture books I don't give cover art much thought. While covers for YA and middle readers are often clever, colorful, and meaningful, I am just more interested in the inside.

I'm a voracious reader of "chick lit" (love much of it) and would not confuse either cover for that genre as their covers often detract from the writing within. This cover does not.

SDN, thanks for the insight on the cover!

Anonymous said...

Jumping to conclusions: is "SGN" Sharyn November? If so, Ellen Klages is very fortunate in her choice of editor!

Klages said...

SDN is Sharyn November, and I am indeed fortunate.

--Ellen

rindambyers said...

eeeehyaa, just give me the book, the book, the book, to read....I would take a good new book that was naked, WITHOUT any cover at all, if Roger said it was a good book...I want the book!