cover love: struts & frets

I wonder about a variety of issues when it comes to marketing in the publishing industry. As someone who often works alongside ad agencies, I’d like to think that I can empathize with some of their woes — the red tape, the endless amount of revisions, the neutering of the artistic soul, properly defining an audience and demo, efficiently communicating a message (with never enough money), the list goes on and on.

It’s interesting to think about how the publishing industry wrangles with these same issues — whether there are less hoops to jump through, more people to please, and the same amount of nit-picky changes to the artistic craft, of course. One thing that’s always made me curious is the Hardcover to Paperback Makeover. Does the same amount of effort towards the hardcover cover art go into the paperback? Are they both planned at the same time? At what point is the hardcover successful enough to go into paperback publication? Why do publishers choose to repackage and republish Novel/Series X/Y/Z with new covers/titles?

I have a lot of questions, obviously. But it’s the Hardcover to Paperback Makeover that I’d like to address in today’s Cover Love post.

See Exhibit A: Jon Skovron’s 2009 debut, Struts & Frets, in all its hardcover glory.

Struts & Frets was designed by the very talented Chad Beckerman (I may or may not stalk follow him on Twitter as well). The combination of color, scrawl, doodles and photography has always made this cover design separate itself from the rest of the contemporary YA crowd. I haven’t seen the novel out in the wild, but I’d imagine that the back of the jacket includes more scrawl and nuances to music or to Sammy’s persona.

Now, behold — Exhibit B, the paperback that kinda gives the hardcover a run for its money:

I’m not sure if Beckerman also designed this beauty’s cover art, but there’s something to be said for taking the feel of the hardcover and then letting it simmer, boil, and then splash all over a completely new by-product in paperback form. And yeah, it literally did splash — check out those coffee stains.

Amulet’s marketing move to keep the same feel but different look is obviously intentional. I’d be interested in knowing if the idea of going a completely different artistic direction was anywhere on the table when they decided to publish it in paperback. Struts & Frets’ softcover cousin will definitely be getting my hard-earned cash-money, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Amulet dreams up for the e-book cover.

Jon Skovron has informed me that designer Meagan Bennett is responsible for the amazing paperback cover. High five, Meagan!
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13 thoughts on “cover love: struts & frets

  1. LOVE that paperback cover. Very, very much. It reminds me of my notebooks in school that I would doodle on (instead of copy notes on! Ha!)

    • I was totally a notebook doodler. I had one of those black composition notebooks that was outlined and traced and completely graffiti’d beyond recognition.

  2. oh wow!! I really like the hardcover cover but I LOVE the paperback, it’s just got a so much more and looks fun. I love when books get different covers after they go on paperbacks cause if I love the book a lot then I like to have both and end up buying multiple copies, I also do that for UK editions of my favorite books sometimes the UK covers are better and I love to collect them. Sometimes I end up liking the paperback cover way more than the hardcover like on this one.

    • I’ve yet to own both the hardcover and paperback of a novel — but after I read S&F in paperback (and hopefully love it), I can definitely see that happening in my future. ;)

  3. Oh wow, both covers look amazing! I hope the paperback becomes available here because I’d love to have that.

  4. NOICE. I’m not sure whether or not I think too much is going on in the paperback cover (also when you’re just looking at it on the computer screen I almost feel like it’s a snapshot of someone’s coffee-stained notebook doodle, uhhh). I’ve also never seen either version out the wild, either. Sad.

    • I haven’t seen the hardcover in the wild, but you’ll have to look for the paperback come September!

  5. I like both covers, but the paperback really draws me. I’ve never heard of this book. I think I’d like to read it!

    • I’ve heard wonderful things about this book. The story seems likes a great read.

  6. I have to admit the hardcover never sold me. I thought it was nice to look at, but as a book it didn’t exactly drag me in. But the paperback? I’m in total cover love. The whole thing makes me feel like I’m about to experience the book. I feel like I can actually smell the book- you know the notebook smell? Everyone had a notebook they doodled in, spilled things on, and toted around with them everywhere they went. Eventually they start to smell like pencil lead, the after glow of fruit smelling gel pens and markers, musty from living inside your backpack, and of course, fast food places. The paperback cover is completely tactile and engages my every sense. Love it. I want to own it.

  7. I love, love, LOVE that paperback cover! That’s the kind of cover that would make me buy a book even if I had no clue what it was about. Love it!

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