cover love: august

Okay, so I may be cheating a bit here. The following cover art work of genius has been categorized as fiction by its publisher. I’ve seen it shelved as YA on Goodreads, and have read a few reviews categorizing it as both YA and adult.

Whatever. I’m categorizing it under Covers: Awesome.

Before I dive into why I love it, let me show you a picture of how I pulled August out of its package when it arrived in the mail last week:

Don't be jealous of my amazing photo skills, y'all.

It FREAKED. ME. OUT. In the very best way. I immediately turned it right-side up, flipped it upside down, right-side up again, and then I’m sure I did something just plain stupid like coo, gasp, or let out a melodramatic sigh. Then I texted a picture of it to Lauren because I can’t possibly hold in things like great cover design and she lovingly puts up with my incessant book-texting.

So. Onward with the fangirling.

It’s covers like August’s that make me want to tell publishers that they don’t have to put a sad girl in a pretty dress on a cover to capture someone’s attention. (Besides, there are enough of those SGiPD covers to field a legit prom dance floor AKA your nearest bookstore’s shelves.) What better way to pique a potential reader’s curiosity than to encourage him or her to pick up your book because they’re thinking, a) “What on earth? What do these words say?” or b) “Those people are in a car? What the? Oh.”

You simply have to pick up the book. Artwork that almost immediately requires a tactile response just blows my mind. There’s a certain psychology behind it (oh, and hey, the book’s a psychological thriller, imagine that) and it’s that type of thinking that swells this heart with the purest of cover love. The weird scientist in me wants to set several copies of this book out in my local bookstore just to see who picks it up. Just a few minutes ago, I handed the book to my husband and watched with sheer glee as he turned, flipped, and rotated it, both puzzled and intrigued. And then asked WHAT IT WAS ABOUT.

Furthermore, this cover reminds me of the cleverness behind Chip Kidd’s design for Dry, one of my favorite covers of all time.

And get this: there’s an actual car accident in the story. Those two characters pictured? They’re actually in the story. It’s commonly known that cover art can sometimes play the gimmick card, pulling you in by throwing something out there that’s not really relevant to anything. But August takes that card, swallows it whole, then says, “Thank you, may I have another?”

I don’t know exactly how it all came together between illustrator Guy Shield and Text Publishing cover designer W.H. Chong, but it certainly goes without saying that the final design is nothing short of brilliant.

Thank you to my dear friend Adele for sending me August. She included a sticky note that read, Thought you’d like this cover. Adele, you could not have been more spot-on.

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27 thoughts on “cover love: august

  1. I’m going to be a debbie downer & say I don’t like this :-\ The upside down text is seriously throwing me off. I understand the point of it, but I’m not a fan of it.

  2. I love it when I pick up a book and can’t really figure it out because those are the books that grab my interest right away. I like this cover but I almost wish the people were real people and not cartoony looking.

    • Okay, I’ll play devil’s advocate for a second here, although obviously I’m in crazylove with this illustrated cover. But could you imagine being on set doing that photo shoot? I mean, REALLY? It’d be awesome.

  3. That cover is legit amazing. I’m glad I didn’t get your DM before coming to check your blog because HELLO waiting for this blog post was worth it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your husband’s response is all the evidence you need that the cover works. Like him, I have studied the cover both ways up (or down), and NEED TO KNOW MORE.

    Very cool!

    • And! He doesn’t read! Shocking, no? (And yet our marriage still works wonderfully)

  5. “It’s covers like August’s that make me want to tell publishers that they don’t have to put a sad girl in a pretty dress on a cover to capture someone’s attention”–Amen to that!

  6. I totally agree! Love this cover. While I do still love me a girl in a pretty dress…I’m super sick of the covers not showing anything relevant to the story…blah.

  7. Holy wow, that cover is too legit to quit.

    I LOVE IT. I love how visually interesting it is, with the upside down-ness, I mean..

  8. This cover makes me crazy! It’s so cool. I just love the dynamics of what’s going on, like, you can feel it some how. It kind of makes my heart start pounding.

    • It made me crazy too! Like, I didn’t even know how to begin writing this post about it! I just stared, wrote a sentence, erased it, then repeated this process for an entire hour.

      • Haha I’ve done that. It makes me feel completely nuts like, “I have words! I’m a writer! I have ALL THE WORDS. This should not be so impossible.”

  9. Ahhh! That cover is crazy! So I had to look it up. Then I found out what it was about and was like, oh my I should totally buy that or put it on my wishlist or whatever. THEN I figured out it’s by an Australian publisher and such and it’s not available on amazon and places so now I’m going on a hunt to find it. :) But I will prevail.
    I can’t get over how crazy that cover is!! And the colors and the illustration thing and the upside down and ooohhhhh.

  10. i did the crazy flip it one way flip it another way thing too.

    it’s so simple really, but insanely clever.

    why dont they make more covers like this???

    anyways, i liked the book. but think i should have waited until i was in the right mood to love it, you know? it’s a settle in and ponder kind of read…

    • Yes, I’ve read about his other work, how he’s philosophical and the like. I think I’m prepared to read it, but certainly not when I’m in the mood to read a book with lots of kissing in it. ;)

      Yes, we need more books like these, pubs. Please.

  11. Hi! This blog was forwarded onto me by a colleague and so naturally I felt the need to comment/provide a story about how the cover came together. Chong approached me with the idea of the flip-cover (after seeing how I’d proposed to my fiancée) and it was one of those ideas I was prepared to see get canned by the editor as not being “safe” enough, but persisted with regardless. Thanks for the extremely kind words, it’s projects like these that make me proud to do what I do for a living.

    I blogged about the two covers back in November last year. Enjoy.

    • Thank you for persisting, Guy (and pubs for keeping an open mind), and for sharing the links! Love your work!

  12. Pingback: artist abbreviated: guy shield |

  13. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

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