First, allow me to introduce myself: as the new project manager for Seven Stitches, I have taken over for Alyssa Gnall and have a large role to fill. As part of the Seven Stitches team for the last two terms, I’ve been working with a talented group, and moving into the managerial role is exciting and daunting. Thankfully, this team has a strong bond and is ready to move forward with marketing strategies.
One of those marketing strategies is, of course, the cover art. This project had what I can only describe as an interesting start. Our initial cover design call-out came over spring break. Tearing students away from a hard-earned break was a tall order. When we returned to classes the last week of March, the entire team was itching to get a cover started. It was then that we hit our first blocks: continuity with the two books that came before, avoiding stereotypical YA covers, and featuring a multiracial main character. The discussions and ideas put forth during design meetings showed that many contributors wanted to stay true to the main character, the main themes of the story, and the series as a whole. But sometimes what you see in your mind isn’t what comes out on the page. And while we were steering clear of the stereotypes, we found other issues were still rearing up. If we avoided the disembodied face of many current YA covers, were we subverting our protagonist? If we featured her, how did we make it not look like every other YA cover on the shelves? Our designers and collaborators took these issues to heart and submitted a plethora of great options.
Narrowing down these submissions, solidifying the concepts, and making changes also took it’s time and toll on the designers and collaborators. Now that we knew we wanted the protagonist on the cover, how did we make the themes of this book present on the cover without knocking the potential reader over the head? After multiple rounds of voting—this is a democratic press, after all—and a photo shoot using a volunteer model, we picked a cover. I may be partial, but I love this cover. I think it shows the strength of the main character, the hopeful nature of the entire book, and the ties to Portland so well that I cannot imagine a different cover. When the process started, I did not imagine it would feel so great to have a cover done! Now on to the next step!