Cover art and design by Irene Chan
Book cover art is crucial, says agent Christy Ewers of the CAT Agency.
More important than an irresistible title or the author's eager fan base. Especially for a middle grade novel, where often it's only image to beckon a young reader into formidable gray pages of dialogue and prose.
The cover is the promotional identity, the 'look of the book' and its birth announcement to a distracted world.
A mock cover appeals to KidLit publishing decision makers. Whether it's for an already published classic or a make-believe yarn, it suggests a finished product on the shelves and in catalogs. Editors and art directors sometimes assign a spec cover to audition an illustrator for a project they have in mind. (Christy shows some examples here.) It can be physically sent as a promotional postcard, an Instagram post or a simple email easily forwarded to the rest of an editorial team.
Not only does the right cover sell books. It can sell an editor on an unknown artist, or an author-illustrator's book proposal. It can also land you an agent.
She has this art prompt you, as her assignment for the March 22 live workshop with her:
"Prepare a mock cover for a children's middle grade novel or a chapter book," she says.
In the video Christy shares some great tips about what to convey in your cover art. You don't need to worry about lettering, for example, unless it's a skill you wish to showcase in your cover. And the visual depiction of your interesting story character(s) is the big draw in your cover art for middle elementary grades, she suggests.
She'll pick a few covers – up to 10 – from the submissions to critique as part of her live training with us. She'll also reveal how an agent/art rep works and thinks and how to make a good impression on one at a conference or in your next mailing.
Register to see Part 2 of the video (with still more tips to help you with the assignment) and the details on the when, where and how to participate in the March 22 live workshop with Christy.