New cover for ALIVE? Whaaaa?

So you get that book deal with a big publisher, they work closely with you on a cover, and then, boom, three months from publication they change it? Why would they do that? How does that work? Does it screw up branding? Advertising? All previous marketing efforts? How much say does the author get? Watch the vid to find out.

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  1. Tony Jones

    Interesting comments from the publisher…. as both a childrens librarian and someone who had read Alive many interesting points were raised. I watch the way teens choose books (and this has a YA audience) and they do ignore dull looking covers. Whether the new cover really stands out I’m not sure… Em kind of looks older, more sultry even? That in itself may put teen boys off? It is striking in its own way though. I have had 4 kids aged 13-15 test read the book (boys and girls) and all have really liked it. So the content is great, so it needs a cover to match. Alive exists in an area which is really popular with both boys and girls, so i hope the cover does the trick with both. Kids are flighty and difficult to please readers, so the book really needs to stand out. Of course, the paperback might have yet another cover, and the pricier hardback will probably sell better with the junkie following. You will need to get the boom reviewed in the librarian trade magazines and journals as it is a crowded market. I loved the book and the kids of mine who read it read alot, so i hope that is a good sign for alive. Tony

  2. jokerdas

    First off, how many junkies scanned the spines of all the books set behind Mark Tavani looking for familiar titles? recognized a couple I have read, Fire Sea and The Hand of Chaos, two of the seven books in the Death Gate Cycles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

    Alright, now about the book. I know I was not jazzed about the original design, because her upside-down made little sense to me. Now that I am well into reading it, I still didn’t get it. But the symbol on her forehead did make me curious as to what it meant.

    The new design: The typeface leading off into all directions make sense to me yet. Perhaps I am not far enough into the book (page 213 of 288). I do like the color. The pale blue reminds me of the <> from the book. But the image of the woman… just who says it is M? She does look serious and intense with just a hint of sultry. You can barely make out the circle on her head, and most would think it was a strand of hair. That does not pique my curiosity at all.

    Personally, I like the cover I have. Bright white with simple black font and words centered on the cover, no embellishments.

      1. jokerdas

        Man, the HTML coding keeps altering my post… It is supposed to read:
        “The pale blue reminds me of the (COMMENT REMOVED) from the book. But the image of the woman… just who says it is M?”

        1. sadock

          I’m betting it’s the spoiler fairy [aka @ARealGirl] who’s redacting comments which contain potential spoilers. I don’t see how it could be the HTML coding; I didn’t use any. Did you? And she’s absolutely in the right to censor those spoilers out of our comments. It’s much better in this particular situation to err on the side of caution. Remember, just because something doesn’t seem spoilerific to us *now,* could/would you have made the same comment that was redacted prior to reading those 213 pages? Looking at the three redactions in my post, I definitely would not have made two of them and might not have made the third, so I’m good with it.

          I wasn’t even thinking about spoilers, so I’m *glad* she (or perhaps the FDØ himself?) caught it before it went live on the site. I would have been mortified if I’d spoiled any part of ALIVE for a fellow Junkie. I’ve was meticulous when I did my review on Goodreads, and will do the same when I post one on Amazon. This topic somehow snuck in underneath my safeguards. “We’ll just be talking about the cover change, right? No danger in that, is there?” Wrong. Bad Arioch, no biscuit! Thank you, spoiler fairy!! You’re my hero! You prevented a leak when I let 2, maybe 3, get by me. ALIVE is a *much* better read IMO if you’re completely blind going in. Wouldn’t you agree, @jokerdas?

          I’m fairly certain @scottsigler realized this as he penned it and asked DelRey to include the “NO spoilers, please!” preface in the rough cut & ARE to maximize spoiler prevention. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s in the public release as well. That was the first time I’ve *ever* seen a direct request from the author at the beginning of a book. Yet I’m sure every author would prefer their fans consume their fiction with virgin eyes and minds. Watch out world, @scottsigler is exploring virgin territory once again!

          1. jokerdas

            @sadock I do completely agree about going into the story blind. In fact, I am on the second read of it already, thinking “AW CRAP! Now I get it!” (That shouldn’t count as a spoiler should it?) I do not wish to be whacked with the FDO’s +5 Sword of Redaction!

  3. sadock

    I love the new cover and agree it will almost certainly sell more copies of ALIVE. To me, the title’s “limbs” extending off the cover subtly foreshadows the importance of symbols in the novel. Increasing the prominence of the blue works well to give the book a [REDACTED for spoilers] kind of feeling. I agree that the original cover made M look somewhat corpse-like. I thought Del-Rey did that intentionally since their descriptive teaser blurb on Amazon is quite open about the kids waking up in their coffins.

    The only issue I have with the new cover is that they’ve made her look *much* more sensual. They’ve altered M’s presentation from understated but attractive to juvenile seductress. She looks to me to be sporting a definite “come hither” look on the new cover. The hair artistically splayed across her face only enhances that impression. There is no *way* M would be mature enough to pull that look off. Not with the [REDACTED for spoilers]. Will the boost to sex appeal result in more book sales? Almost certainly. Sex does sell, after all. Does it accurately reflect her character as @scottsigler wrote it? No frakkin’ way. Our protagonists are [REDACTED for spoilers].

    It’s been common practice in the publishing industry for decades to use a provocative model on the cover to sell books. Bodice rippers are notorious for depicting half dressed models on their covers to lure the lonely housewife (or house husband) into purchasing a temporary escape for themselves. Fabio used his body to become a world wide superstar by posing on dozens of romance novel covers. ALIVE’s new cover is nowhere *near* that bad, but I do believe Del-Rey was unwise to “sex M up” like this. One of the refreshing aspects of ALIVE was how Scott accurately depicted the volatile dynamics which could occur in a group of young teens skirting the edges of puberty.

    Publishers are *well* aware that people DO judge books by their covers, regardless of how many times we’re told not to. Their business is selling books, so they do what they need to in order to accomplish that objective. To them, a larger profit margin is much more important than maintaining the continuity between the author’s description and the depiction by the artist. Yes, it annoys me when a publisher chooses to go with artwork that is blatantly inaccurate to the text of a novel. But that’s how marketing works, so I’ve learned to accept it as a fact of life (ie necessary evil).

  4. Daniel Gonzales

    I think I like the new cover better. The old one didn’t really move me that much. If not for the Scott Sigler name on the cover I would not have given it a second look. The new cover seems to draw me in a little better. Seeing it on the shelf would induce me to turn it over and read the synopsis on the back, or inside.. wherever.

    I’m just saying…

  5. Brandon Winrich

    I have mixed feelings about the new cover.

    On the one hand, I do like the color scheme (for some reason, I feel that it works well when put together with some of your other covers, especially the paperbacks).

    On the other hand, right now I’m not the biggest fan of the new typeface for the title (specifically the part where it goes off in all sorts of different directions).

    Things I haven’t formed an opinion on yet: the new orientation of the protagonist, and the hair blocking part of her face.

    Did they consult you at all in the process of making this new cover, or was it just contacting you once it was all done to say “Hey, we decided to switching things up”?

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