In celebration of the book cover reveal of 26 Kisses on Friday (YAY!!!), I thought I'd round up some of my very favorite contemporary YA book covers, because, let's face it, YA cover design is THE BOMB.
Part of my day job as an editor is communicating with the cover design team to help steer them in the right direction when they begin work on the covers for the books I edit. It's fascinating to see how Sourcebooks' immensely talented and creative team can take the descriptions I give them and turn text into images that encapsulate the book perfectly, but that I would never have been able to come up with in a bazillion years. And since I don't edit YA, this is my chance to do someserious lovin' on the category. So here are 12 non-Sourcebooks YA novels whose covers absolutely blew me away (I can't include Sourcebooks books because I adore them all and the list would have to be 100+ and ain't nobody got time for that).
I like my YA covers colorful, bright, and loud. I like big type and bold fonts. I like books that scream, "Read me! I'm goofy and weird and exactly what you need at this exact point in your life to remind you that being goofy and weird is okay!"
I think that the 26 Kisses cover embodies all these things, and I hope you agree when it is unveiled to the world on Friday at the wonderful YA Books Central!
What's your favorite YA cover? Was the book everything you'd hoped it would be?
Five years ago, most of my friends were trying to figure out whether to go to grad school or join the Peace Corps. Maybe do Teach for America? Their options seemed endless—like they could literally just run off into the sunset, find something to do, and probably wind up pretty happy in the end. As for me…I knew there were only a few things that were going to cut it—working in publishing, building a career around books, maybe writing things that other people would actually want to read. The problem was, I had no idea how to get there.
Then I went to a writers’ conference.
Writers in Paradise is held in St. Petersburg, Florida, for a week every year in January, and I only decided to go because my life was a mess. My grandpa and my cat had just passed away (less than 30 hours apart), my parents were on the verge of splitting up, and I was desperate to escape snowy Minnesota during the heart of winter. I packed my bags and headed south, to attend a conference run by a team of writers I had vaguely heard of before but had never read. People like Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, Ann Hood, and Jane Hamilton. You know, no big deal.
When I arrived in St. Petersburg, I was 22 years old, had two college fiction workshops under my belt, and had never even been to a book signing. A week of workshops, lectures, and discussions later, I walked away with all the tools I needed to start my publishing career.
I started small, continuing to plug away on the novel-in-progress I had workshopped at WIP (which now lives a comfortable life in the bottom drawer of my desk). The following spring, I typed up the story of how my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I met and sent it off to a contest at the New York Times—and was shocked when it placed as a runner-up and was published in the “Modern Love” column. That summer, I took a break from my full-time gig as a farmhand to attend the Denver Publishing Institute, where I learned about the publishing industry from the editorial, marketing, and sales perspectives. An unpaid internship, many nights of staying up late reading and writing, and a few key instances of incredibly good luck later, and I’m finally starting to feel like I have my foot in the door as I work for an incredible publishing company and my debut YA novel comes out next spring.
The point is, none of this would have happened without WIP and the amazing people I met there who a) showed me what it meant to be a “writer” and work in this very strange industry of ours and b) encouraged me to make it happen for myself. There are a lot of people out there happy to criticize writers’ conferences and question whether or not they actually benefit the people who pay to attend them, and it’s true that not all conferences are created equal. But if you’re a college kid, or someone who has written secretly for years, or a writer just looking to connect with other weirdos like you and get a big old injection of inspiration, then a writers’ conference might be just the thing to get you started on your path to success.
I'm so lucky to be able to surround myself with books in my day job as an editor and to burn the candle the rest of the time as an author! The ONLY downside to pursuing both careers at once is that time for recreational reading is tough to come by. But if I only get to read a few "for fun" books this summer, these five will definitely make the list!
It's so exciting to finally be able to announce that my debut YA novel, 26 Kisses, will be published in Summer 2016 by Simon Pulse. Hooray!