Eye Contact: A Cover Story

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.

Who is this long past young woman and what sort of mischief is she inviting me to join?

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.

Learn more about Audrey on her author page, this interview, or on Facebook, Twitter, or her Website.


3 Responses

  1. Glynis

    I do like this cover and Lizzy’s beautiful hair. I’m quite torn ‘re having faces on book covers. Sometimes they are perfect and fit my idea of Darcy and Elizabeth really well but occasionally not so much. I resisted buying one book for months simply because I didn’t like the Darcy on the cover at all. He just didn’t fit my criteria in any way so even though I liked the idea of the book I didn’t want to own that cover.
    On the other hand some book covers completely fulfil my dream image. Obviously everyone has different ideas of tall, dark and handsome so I can appreciate how hard it must be to choose an image therefore I eventually bought the book even though I didn’t find him tall, dark or handsome!
    I’m looking forward to reading your book Audrey. I was looking to put it on my wish list but then read that it isn’t released yet.

    • Suzan Lauder

      I wonder if we resisted the same book, Glynis? There was one…

      I prefer faces, as otherwise, you wonder what they’re trying to hide. That said, there have been some covers where I didn’t mind not seeing them and others where I wish they had used an original or better model.

      In this case, it works very well, even without knowing the story blurb. You get a feeling for this Lizzy and the things she’s viewing in those frames. It works.

      Thanks, Zorylee, and good luck, Audrey. This is a book I’m sure to buy right away.

    • Meryton Press

      You won’t have to wait long. It’s due out in days.

      The debate about faces is a tricky one. The spectrum of taste in tall, dark, and handsome is broad enough that you can’t please everyone. I guess pleasing most should be the aim. I always hope to win people over because they think Darcy is hot or Lizzie is attractive, but I know I can’t guarantee everyone will think so.

      On this cover, a lot of work went into the hair to make Lizzie attractive. At least I can see we lived up to your standard. 🙂