Kids + Teens

Prisoners in the Palace: Cover Story and Blog Tour

When Editor Victoria Rock and I first sat down to talk about the cover design for Prisoners in the Palace, we were in agreement that our biggest challenge was this: How might we create a cover for a historical novel that actually engages the modern tween?

Princess Victoria, tween might say, is “old news.” Really old news, like late 1830’s old news. Way before Gossip Girl.

I started gathering source material–author Michaela MacColl supplied fabulous portraits and renderings of young Victoria, and I started scouring image libraries that specialized in Victorian-style line art illustrations that were prevalent in the newspaper broadsheets (large printed sheets sensationalizing the latest gossip and events) of that era.

I composited a few portraits, and our cover girl started to take form. She required an America’s Next Top Model-style makeover: new hairstyle, brow lift, and an earring. Tyra would approve!

Now we had our great image, but how to insure it has impact on the shelf? First, we sourced silver foil paper for the cover. The blinged-out and lust-worthy material immediately elevated and modernized the cover. Heck, shelve it next to Juicy Couture’s fall line, and it will still stand out!

Then, we printed our cover girl’s face and mesmerizing gaze at a grand scale. Finally, to tease our audience, we opted not to print the book’s title on the cover! A bold move that gave me goose bumps. How unconventional and audacious a proposition!

Everyone on the team at Chronicle was bought in, but how would the author react? And perhaps more importantly, how would her tween-age daughters? Michaela was home making a snack for a pack of girls when the package with the book cover arrived. She opened the envelope and… loved it! And the girls? They jumped up and down and gave the blingy cover a big thumbs-up!

With just the modest tagline, “A Novel of Intrigue and Romance by Michaela MacColl,” to accompany our front cover illustration, the reader could then pour over the back cover which revealed the full title as well as enticing tidbits about the storyline that mimicked the look and layout of tabloid-ish broadsheets.

A fulfilling cover to design for a fabulously fresh novel!

To celebrate the launch of Prisoners in the Palace we’ve arranged a blog tour! Follow the blogs below for guest posts about everything from YA Censorship to the crazy customs of the Victorian era.

15-Oct  The Fourth Musketeer
1-Nov   The Compulsive Reader
2-Nov   Forever Young Adult
3-Nov   Bri Meets Books
4-Nov   WORD for Teens
5-Nov   Stiletto Storytime
6-Nov   Novel Novice
7-Nov   Mother Daughter Book Club
8-Nov   Carrie’s YA Bookshelf
9-Nov   Bookalicious
10-Nov   The Book Cellar
11-Nov   A Life Bound By Books
12-Nov   I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read!
13-Nov   Royal Reviews
14-Nov   YA Book Shelf
15-Nov   The Book Buff
16-Nov   Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
17-Nov   A Sea of Pages
18-Nov   Psychotic State Book Reviews
19-Nov   The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Amy Achaibou
Designer

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