Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Cover Design: UNSOUL'D an adult novel by Barry Lyga, author of I HUNT KILLERS

Good morning! I know this blog has been gathering dust of late, but here's a little something to perk it up. Over the summer I had the pleasure of working with Barry Lyga, the author of I HUNT KILLERS. Barry hired me to do a cover for his adult ebook, UNSOUL'D. To mark the occasion, I asked Barry a few questions about himself and our design process for the cover.

But first, here is the cover, which I am very pleased with (note: please remember that this is not a young adult book, it's for intended for adults 18 and up):

Here's the blurb from GOODREADS. You can also download a sample of the book to start reading.

Randall Banner is thirty-five years old, a middling mid-list author who yearns for more of everything. More attention. More fame. More money. More fans.

Then, one quiet morning, he meets the devil while pounding away at his laptop at his usual coffee shop. Soon, a deal is made, a contract is signed, and Randall is on his way to fame and fortune unlike any he ever imagined.

What follows is a bawdy, hilarious, yet harrowing tale of one man, one devil, and a deal that could change the world.

Now for the interview! Welcome, Barry!

You are best known for your NYT bestselling hit, the young adult thriller, I HUNT KILLERS. Tell us about your books that are perhaps less well known.

Probably my least-well-known work is the ARCHVILLAIN series. It's a trilogy about a 12-year-old boy with superpowers who ends being a villain instead of a hero. It was a lot of fun to write -- I just sort of disengaged my superego and let my pre-teen id run amok. But there's also four other YA novels that were critically acclaimed when they came out, but never attained the level of fame (or maybe that's notoriety!) of the I HUNT KILLERS books: The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl, Boy Toy, Hero-Type, and Goth Girl Rising. There's no blood-n-guts, but I think readers of the KILLERS books would respond to the depth of character in them.

What in your life inspired you to write the dark and edgy tales you are famous for?

Nothing that I can think of. I was no more or less inspired by my life to write the KILLERS series than I was to write something as (relatively) tame as ARCHVILLAIN. For me, it's all about finding an interesting story to tell and then telling it in the most honest, truthful manner possible. I guess sometimes that results in "dark and edgy," though to be brutally honest with you, I think people do a disservice when they categorize it like that. Is KILLERS "dark and edgy?" I guess so. It's also funny, scary, sad, honest, and a whole slew of other things.

Tell us about your new release, UNSOUL'D.

Oh, man! This is a story I've wanted to write literally for a decade or more, the tale of a man selling his soul to the devil…and hijinks ensue. It's a comedy, really, even though the subject matter is very, very serious. It's about a guy named Randall Banner, a struggling author living in Brooklyn. He's just barely successful enough that he can keep publishing books, but he's never really broken out, never gotten that elusive big deal. And he's bitter and angry enough about it that when he gets the chance to sell his soul in exchange for a hit book, he jumps at it. But deals with the devil are never QUITE what you expect…and pretty soon Randall realizes he's in for more than he bargained for. It's a classic deal-with-the-devil story, but with a twist I hope you won't see coming. Oh, and it's got plenty of sex in it -- not for nothing is the tagline "A dirty little fable!"

As your cover designer, I can happily say that it was a lot of fun working with you on this cover. Can you give a brief rundown of how we arrived at your vision for the cover? 

I had a very, very strong idea of what I wanted for the cover -- I wanted flames and I wanted the title nice a big. But other than that, I was sort of foundering. With my meager Photoshop skills, I mocked up something pretty awful and you gamely went in that direction and improved on it SO MUCH. But it just wasn't clicking, you know? You've designed a ton of covers -- you know that you can have something that is technically and even aesthetically fine, but it's missing some kind of x-factor that makes it perfect.

Well, along the way, you'd thrown in the coffee ring as a design element, and I started thinking about that. And then I thought that maybe instead of the very dark cover design I'd thrown at you, the real solution was something open and light. So I threw you a curveball at the last minute and said, "Let's go from black to white instead!" And you didn't blink -- which I appreciate -- but you went ahead and came up with the flaming letters set on a papery background and you incorporated the nice coffee ring, and that's when it all clicked!

Thanks for stopping by, Barry! I love working with authors to nail the perfect cover and I'm glad you're happy with the design!

Now go buy the book, everyone!


  1. love the cover and the book sounds like a great read!

  2. As always you do a FABULOUS job! If I ever write something, you are totally designing my cover, and that is all!

  3. I really like these suggestions and the part that you didn't go to university for style is really motivating for me. I have stress all around me to finish a level when I really just want to perform towards having my own Graphic Design company. I discover out out out out out out out out too often on other weblogs that the blog site writer went to higher education and I instantly can't arrange with them as well. I've tried the whole higher education part and it's not for me. Thank you for sharing!

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