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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Cover Familiarities

They’re not an exact match, but when I was discussing covers this week and how similar the images are on them, someone sent me these two images.  Of even more interest, apparently the second cover got rid of the part containing the man in its paperback edition, but kept the bridge.  Interesting.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Deliver us from Photoshop says:

    Notice how the head on the Robotham cover was lit from below — except that thanks to the chopping and cropping “below” is now occupied by the River Thames. Ah, well, at least it’s fake enough to seem that it’s not even trying to be convincing. As for the Fama cover, it’s trying, but the seams are showing, which makes it all the worse. And that book had better be about water-breathing merpeople, or else that cover is misleading.

  2. Elizabeth Fama says:

    Oh, dear, I wish people felt confident enough about how they expressed their opinions to leave their real names.

  3. Still Anon. says:

    Elizabeth, Apologies for the anonymity. It’s not a matter of confidence; it’s a matter of not preemptively picking a fight with an art director with whom one may someday work. Yes, yes — better then either to be more diplomatic or to say nothing, right? Point taken. The old reliable “Take two or more stock photos and mix with Photoshop” recipe is just my bête noir. But as long as you’re here, unanonymously and all… I’d be curious to know how well you feel the cover represents your book, if you feel like sharing.

  4. Elizabeth Fama says:

    Sorry, I was away from my desk for a day. You may never read this, Still Anon!

    The fact is, Cricket was dirt poor and a little disorganized when my book was published, so they happily bought my (then) 12-year old daughter’s cover art and font choice. Yes, she was 12 at the time. I agree that the photoshop seams are noticeable, but (a) we accidentally e-mailed the wrong .jpeg (oops) to the art director (the final copy was much better, believe me) but didn’t discover the mistake until the cover was printed, and (b) we didn’t have access to the ocean at night so a pool and our dear brown-eyed friend in the middle of the day had to do.

    I must say that readers have responded positively to the image at my school visits, and Random House chose to keep it for their paperback version, so it has done its job.

    If you want to see some of Sally’s art now that she’s an adult (she doesn’t do photoshop anymore but prefers classical, representation art), check out my website at

    Oh, and one last thought: I tried my best to get illustrated art for the cover — in fact my sister (who is a talented artist) painted two images for the art director, both of which I loved and are hanging on my office wall. But the art director was insistent that young adults want photo illustrations on their covers, to feel more “grown up” while they’re reading. I don’t agree with that, but it does seem to be a trend.

  5. Still Anon. says:

    Am I not posting my comments at all, or posting them multiple times? I can’t tell. I’m getting back to work.

  6. Still Anon. says:

    Ach. I was trying to cut and paste this in but that’s not working. All right. I’ll retype this thing and see if it works. So, first, Elizabeth, thanks for your response. You know, I think that the day I left that first comment I was probably not getting much work done and was procrastinating by skipping across the blogosphere and when I got to Fuse’s second posting about stock photos and cover similarities I just saw the chance to start knocking Photoshop around. Obviously a walk around the block would have made for a better break, but leaving a blog comment seemed like a good idea at the time. So, anyway, then you responsed more thoughtfully than my comments warranted and now I am reminded that, of course, book covers are made by actual people with actual feelings, and now I feel like a bit of an ass. I mean, yes, I do still feel that many art directors are dependent on photography in a lazy way, that they use photos not because they are new or interesting or original or beautiful, but simply because they are photos and that marketing has told them that photos are good. As an illustrator, that does get under one’s skin! Having gone on about that, though, the truth is that the cover to your book is as good or better than many covers out there, whether it was shot by a twelve-year old (!) or not, and I shouldn’t have jumped all over it. That was lazy on my part. I’m giving up the anonymous internet harangues from here on out. Go forth and sin no more, etc. Thanks again for your thoughtful response to a couple of could-have-been-more-thoughtful posts.

  7. Elizabeth Fama says:

    Don’t worry yourself! I wasn’t offended at all, and it’s impossible to offend Sally — she’s tough as nails and already looks down on that cover art — so don’t sweat it. Regarding illustrated covers, I’m going to press for it for my next book. I’ve always preferred them to photos. Actually, my life goal is to become an important enough author to demand illustrations in the body of my novels — even if they’re just small black-and-white illustrations at the chapter beginnings or ends. OK, that was fun, now we both have to get to work. –Elizabeth