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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!

Bryan Williams