Cover Art Cross Stitch

Child of the Hive cover cross stitch 1Child of the Hive cover cross stitch 2My efforts to transform my book covers into cross stitch continues. My latest piece is for Child of the Hive, the first novel I ever had published (UK link, US link). This piece of embroidery is nearly complete and should hopefully be finished by this time next week.


At this rate though, it’s taking me longer to sew the covers than it is to write the books.

The evolution of a cover

Child of the Hive coverOne question I get asked whenever I give a talk about writing is how much control I have over the cover art so I figured I’d put my answer in full here. This is one of those things that varies considerably from publisher to publisher, and from book to book. I’ve spoken to authors who’ve had no say, or almost no say, in cover designs for some books. I’ve met authors who’ve hated the covers they were presented with. I’ve been lucky. For all of my books, I’ve been given a lot of input and I’ve been delighted with most of them.

I was astonished when Child of the Hive was published how much input I was given. The publisher sent me about a dozen different designs for the potential cover – and I hated them all. I don’t want to imply that they were bad designs, but they were bad for the book. The designer who’d created them hadn’t actually read the book, he’d just been given the text to go on the back cover and a couple of paragraphs of description. The end result was some designs that would have been great on someone else’s book (there was a creepy one with a child coming out of mist that would have been great for a ghost story) but that were completely wrong for mine. Shadows of Tomorrow draft cover

We had a few emails back and forth and then I was put on a phone call with the designer and I talked about what I liked and didn’t like about the different designs, what the disconnects with the book were, and so on. He went off and came back with a different design, which I liked a lot more. I asked for a couple of minor tweaks and then was given a cover design I was thrilled with.

When Shadows of Tomorrow was published, the publisher gave me a form to fill out with my ideas for the cover. I suggested a figure silhouetted against a portal holding a sword. They sent me a couple of drafts and, once again, I wasn’t happy with either of them. The covers showed what looked like someone standing at the edge of the sea, which didn’t fit at all, but I did like the font on one of them. The designer went away and came back with the final cover. Shadows of Tomorrow cover

When Shadows of Tomorrow came out, I really liked the cover. In person, it’s really dramatic. I’ve come to the conclusion though that it doesn’t work as well as a thumbnail on Amazon. It doesn’t look as interesting as other covers. So when it came to Between Yesterdays, I wanted to go with the same general idea but with more happening visually. The design they sent me was pretty good, but I wasn’t sure about the image they’d chosen for Abby. For one thing, in the book, Abby has quite dark colouring, which isn’t obvious in this image. For another, this young woman looks dressed for a party rather than a battle.

I went back to the publisher and asked for a different Abby for the cover, and was thrilled with the final cover design they offered me. Between Yesterdays cover draft

The same sort of thing happened with the Codename Omega books. I gave ideas, they sent designs, I asked for changes. The Codename Omega books are self-published so I was given a lot of say in the design because I was effectively hiring the designers to work to my specifications. I wasn’t surprised that I was the one calling the shots with those covers, but I was surprised how much control I had with the others, especially having heard stories from some other authors about how little say they were given. I guess I’ve been lucky so far when it comes to covers.


Blog Relaunch

I am Jessica Meats, author of science fiction novels and novellas including Child of the Hive, Traitor in the Tower, and Shadows of Tomorrow. Check out the books page for more information about my works of fiction.

I previously had a blog on another platform. For the past couple of years, that blog experienced performance issues, outages, and other technical problems. I kept wondering if I ought to start the blog afresh on another platform. Recently, this decision was made for me by the blog platform being shut down completely, taking my old blog and content with it.

I apologise if you were a follower of the old blog and got inconvenienced by the sudden change but here we are, on a brand new platform, ready to start over.

Welcome to my new blog! This site will be dedicated to talk about writing, in particular around science fiction, fantasy, and young adult. There will be talk about my own books, as well as news and updates from other authors in the speculative fiction genres. Stay tuned for book reviews, writing advice, updates on my books, author interviews and more.

Over the next two weeks, I will be posting something every day. I will be posting author interviews with some great writers including Danielle L Jensen and Corrine Duyvis. I have some reviews of books I love. There will also be some posts of a range of writing topics. So stay tuned because there will be new content every day.child of the hive cover

As part of this launch celebration, I will be giving away a signed hardback of Child of the Hive. For a chance to win this book all you have to do is link to this blog from the social media platform of your choice and then tell me about it in the comments below. Each social media site you post a link on is a new entry. So if you put a link on twitter and one on tumblr, comment with the links to the tweet and post, and that will count as two entries. The winner will be randomly selected on Saturday 4th June.