I’m usually a big proponent of showing faces on covers. It’s about the eye contact. When you look through a crowd of people, your vision naturally stops at the person looking back at you. So it is with a photo or illustration.
I’ve experienced it many times over. I flip through dozens of pieces of artwork every day, landscapes, flower arrangements, ducks, abstract shapes, and portraits. They blur together when you have to sort them, make quick decisions, and send them down different work flows in a matter of minutes. Invariably I will stop and stare back at a portrait for a little bit while barely giving the rest of the artwork a second’s thought. It’s looking at me, and I instinctively stop to try to read the message in those eyes.
When designing a cover, this seems like a real good tool to have in your kit, unless…
What if the message you are communicating doesn’t fit with eye contact?
In the case of All the Things I Know, the heroine, Lizzie, is on that precipice between leaving college and spreading her wings into adulthood. Many of us can remember that time of life where we were on top of the world as seniors. We achieved what we’d been working towards since kindergarten, 13 or 17 or more years of our lives. After so many years of schooling, we knew how to play the game and we reached the sought after pinnacle. Success!
Until the next day after graduation and life immediately tripped you up and brought you flat on your face, because life has a whole new set of rules and is a totally different game for which your diploma didn’t quite prepare you.
At the start of this Pride and Prejudice retelling, Lizzie knows what people expect of her, but she has recently had the rug pulled from under her and she realizes she does not yet know herself. She’s not yet comfortable in her own skin nor is she sure what she should do next.
On this cover Lizzie’s face is undefined. She faces away from us staring up at all these fragments of her world attempting to figure out who she is and where she’s going. If she doesn’t know who she is, how could we, the onlooker invited into her mind through this adventure, define it for her?
It also underlines that detail: we are invited into Lizzie’s thought stream and see her and her world directly through her lens. In this refreshing point of view Audrey Ryan uses, we the readers are with her, looking right over her shoulder (and her gorgeous head of hair) at those pieces of her life.
All the Things I Know by Audrey Ryan is due out 11/27/17.
Learn more about the book on our webpage.