sophie.johannis got their new book cover by running a design contest:
Design an evocative cover for my angsty YA novel! Contemporary fantasy / psychological fiction.
Check out sophie.johannis's Book cover contest…
SOPHIE JOHANNIS wrote her first book at the age of four (but the squiggles are undecipherable). Her stories are about people making their own magic, being neurodivergent in an incomprehensibly ordinary society, and falling madly in trust. An English nerd holding advanced degrees in literature and linguistics, she frequently annoys her students with objectively terrible puns. She spends her free time trying (with limited success) to keep her cats off her laptop or looking for shiny rocks and baby reptiles outside. TRACES is her first novel.
Blurb: *I fall, past the part of Cole that knows I'm here, past the part of him fighting for me to stop, the searing cold currents, the shadows. Past his shields.* (--> this is a quote from the book and should look different from the rest of the text) Aiden has always been different, but it's not until a new student shows up in her podunk Pennsylvania town that she understands why. With his haunting, sleepless eyes, Cole sees through her lies hiding a secret as exhilarating as it is volatile: Aiden can't help but read minds. Scalpel-smart and shadow-quiet, Cole takes the lid off her dreams and cracks her family's veneer of normalcy. But as Aiden begins to forge her future, a prying presence invades her town. Someone is hunting the gifted, and Cole is a target. To save him, Aiden needs to master her newfound talent and reach into the chasms in his past, retracing the forgotten years of his life. If she fails, he'll die. But his memories come at a harrowing price… A thrilling blend of modern fantasy, psychological fiction and YA love story, Traces will resonate with those willing to embrace their own darkness.
This book will appeal to young adults and "new adults" who... - are in their final years of high school or have started university (16-24 years of age) - (mostly) identify as girls/women, but don't necessarily follow traditional gender roles - struggle to connect with their peers on account of: neurodiversity (autism), mental illness (depression, anxiety), trauma and abuse, identifying as LGBTQIA+ et c. - are searching for their place in life and want to feel like they belong, but seldom do - are unsure about their path; know they want to make a difference but don't know how - have an alternative personal style (e.g. making their own clothes or wearing vintage clothing; having an unusual taste in music) - are introverted - are creative and have an active imagination - love to read rather than seeing it as a chore - would correct the spelling in a text from their crush - want to read love stories with characters as young and quirky as they are themselves but prefer more mature literary fiction when it comes to style - like media about individualistic protagonists with unique minds, such as: Anne and Cole / Anne with an E, AIDAN / the Illuminae Files, Spock / Star Trek: Discovery; Luna Lovegood / Harry Potter, ... - live in the US or Europe - don't have a lot of money; don't need a lot of money.
Fonts I like: I'd like... ... a unique font, e.g. one that looks like it has thorns, or one that looks like handwriting, or one that's a bit distressed ... a font that is clearly legible in the thumbnail but still sort of fine/delicate rather than bold ... MAYBE: title in lowercase letters? Mood: - angsty and dreamy - mysterious, but NOT horror-like Images: The following elements would work - trees, branches, brambles (e.g. used as ornaments), the woods --> a key scene is set by a blackberry hedge in the woods behind the protagonist's house and the entire novel is set in November/December - darker and/or more subdued colors, e.g. fall and winter colors (brown, gray, blue) like in the three screenshots from the Anne with an E trailer I've attached - for the image of the protagonist: -- like in the Anne with an E screenshot: only part of her face is visible; she looks kind of mysterious between the trees -- surrealist elements (e.g. branches growing out of hair, bird's feathers growing out of hair (sparrow feathers would work best) - song sparrow (female) - (stylized) traces of birds, resembling the algiz rune - sparks (like embers from a fire) - people: the protagonist (Aiden) is very short, small and delicate; straight, waist-length, light blonde hair; so pale she almost looks sick; large hazel eyes; should look somewhat intense / angsty (definitely not smiling), no makeup. Love interest (Cole) is ethnically ambiguous (ancestry: Korean, Mexican, generic caucasian), 5'11'', lean; wavy, chin-length black and slightly wavy hair (not styled in any fancy way), dark brown eyes, never smiles and wouldn't look directly at the reader (or anyone, really). Book is set in fall/winter so the characters' clothing ought to reflect that (Cole: hoodies, pea coat; Aiden: oversized flannels, grunge style). Images I could see on the cover: - The progtagonist alone in the woods (darker/cloudy day), from the side - The protagonist (maybe with her eyes closed, maybe looking very serious), hair turning into branches/birds etc. - Both protagonists' faces cut together or overlapping somehow - Female protagonist looking at the viewer, male protagonist only from behind, only turning away - Simply the woods / landscapes / ornaments et c. with title in very expressive writing, maybe with an eye-catching animal (sparrow?) rendered in an unusual way (e.g. cut apart) Whatever I'm writing here, I'm open to different suggestions and styles - as long as they don't include any of my vetoed elements.
What to avoid
1. Nothing that screams "girly" or "romance novel"! It's not a typical love story and people who prefer those would probably hate my book. Therefore: PLEASE... - no pink, no pastels you'd find in a spring palette - no glitter - no fonts that look like those typical hand-lettering fonts (very uniform and neat round cursive) - no hearts or other cutesy elements - no protagonists smiling, snuggling up, kissing 2. No models in ball gowns! If you're using people, please use people that look like they're actual teenagers and fit the description (I'll gladly provide some more reference pics and I've put some in the reference files already). 3. Please don't use branches that look like they're skeleton hands about to grab and kill you. They can look naturally thorny but they shouldn't look horror movie-level creepy. 4. Normal stock pictures have to be included in the price UNLESS you find something super awesome that's simply to pricey to be included. In that case, please contact me first and ask because if I absolutely love it, we can work something out. But I wouldn't want you to waste your time and energy on something that won't work in the end.
It all began with a design brief.
A quick, interactive guide helped them understand their design style and captured exactly what they needed in their book cover.
Designers across the globe delivered design magic.
sophie.johannis collaborated with designers to refine their ideas
When design entries come in, you can rate them so designers know what you’re looking for in your logo design.
99designs has great collaboration tools so you can pinpoint and capture your ideas
And then… they selected a winner!
The Hero Path
Donn Marlou has brought joy to everyone on my team, and he has produced a work of art that we could not have imagined ourselves -- we are beyond appreciative. He is a wonderful human and a remarkable professional. We wholeheartedly recommend Donn to anyone considering a commission of any scale, and we intend to work with him in the future.
Along the way, they met lots of talented designers…
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