Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The blog Write Kids' Books posted her top 19 favorite indie children's/YA book covers for 2014. My friend, Julie Musil's THE BOY WHO LOVED FIRE made the list.  Check it out HERE.

Not too long ago I posted about the prevalence of poorly designed book covers for indie kidlit books. After one nasty response, I took it down, fearful of offending people.

But I've been thinking about this a lot lately. As most of you know, I am the Editor-in-Chief of Middle Shelf Magazine, a digital magazine about books for middle grade readers. The magazine boasts interviews with some of the top authors and cover artists in the industry, and many of the books we review and spotlight come from the best publishers, both small and big.

But not all.

I make an effort to include at least one, often more than one, indie title in each issue. When I say indie, I mean specifically books created and published by the author. I strongly support indie publishing and would love to see an explosion of indie books for kids.

But the #1 reason I pass on so many indie books is the cover design. Most of what comes across my desk literally stink. Even if the story is superb, I cannot include a bad cover in my magazine because that will bring down the overall appeal and quality of the magazine itself. Also, placing a bad cover alongside the slew of professionally designed covers only harms the indie book, highlighting the amateurish-ness of it and discouraging kids from wanting to buy it. No author wants that.

There are two places where indie authors really need to invest time and, yes,money:  cover design and professional editing (more on that in another post). My soon-to-be released fantasy series, THE CRYSTAL KEEPER, required three separate covers for the ebooks and a wrap around for the print. I hired Emma Michaels, who also designed the cover for CONTACT and other Hallowed Ink Titles.

I also recently discovered Joel Friedlander's blog, The Book Designer. He designs some amazing covers, too. And my sister-in-law hired Dale Pease to design the cover of THE AWAKENING.

So, if you are an indie kidlit author, I'd love to consider your book for Middle Shelf Magazine. But please make sure it has the perfect cover first (and a great story!!!).

Have you run across any indie covers that really knocked your socks off?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for mentioning my cover! It was such a fun surprise to see it had made the list. I love your cover for The Crystal Keeper! Well done. And the cover for The Awakening is awesome! Unfortunately, I do judge books by their covers :/