Today’s Q&A from the book giveaway contest are all about the visual aspects of the book – the gorgeous cover and the soon-to-be-released video trailer. (So, really, this post is going to be all about the skillz of the amazing Justin Sherwin of Firestain
and Nicholas Froese/Josh Knepper at Transposition Films
I’m interested in finding out about the book covers. Who designs them and how much input do you have into the design and final say? (Penumbra)
How did you come up with the idea for the artwork? (Claire)
I think somebody already asked this, but I really want to know how did you come out with this lovely cover?? Did you have an opinion? Or just let somebody else come out with the idea?? (Ruty)
From what I understand, authors who are traditionally published have little or no say on the cover design – which some authors find frustrating, since the cover is the reader’s first impression of their work. But as a self-published author, I have total control over the cover art – I just have to hire the right person to create it. My friend and uber-designer Justin Sherwin had already designed the website and devoured the book, so I trusted him implicitly to design a cover that was eye-catching, gorgeous and represented the book well. He knew my feelings about typical urban fantasy covers
and we had a good idea of the mood we were going for based on the work we did for the website. All I did was send him a couple dozen examples of book covers I liked and didn’t like, and said, “Go.” A week later, he came back with the Through the Door
cover and we haven’t changed a thing – he’s that good. Some self-published authors try to cut corners by designing the covers themselves, but in my opinion those covers tend to look quite amateurish, and because this is the reader’s first impression of the book, it should be nothing less than WOW.
I am so curious about the fact that you have a trailer out for your book. How did that idea come about and what is the effect of it? (Laura)
Book trailers are a relatively new phenomenon but are growing in popularity. You can watch some of the best and worst of last year’s book trailers here
. If they’re good, they can be a great tool for generating viral awareness of your book, as it’s much more fun to share a cool video with all your Facebook and Twitter friends than it is to share a link to an Amazon page. I wanted to do a trailer for Through the Door
but was nervous about the prospect – without a big budget, trailers can be very, very bad and I didn’t want mine to be one of those. So I enlisted the help of my awesome film director friend Jason Goode
, who pointed me toward Transposition Films
in Vancouver. They were excited about the project and were willing to work with my very small budget to make something awesome. I wrote the voice over, Justin sketched the storyboards, Jason provided lots of great feedback, and the guys at Transposition took care of everything else! You can read more about our experience making the trailer in this post
(and see some awesome still photos to whet your appetite). And July 3 we’ll be making the trailer live for you to share with everyone you know! =)
I really enjoyed reading the book, and I was wondering how you managed to find the people in your trailer to look EXACTLY how they are described in the book – because that would be a super long process!! – or did you pick the visual aspects of the characters because of these people? (Rebecca)
I’m not sure if you mean the trailer (since it hasn’t been released yet!) or the images on the homepage of the website – but you maybe referring to the trailer stills, so I’ll answer both questions. The character descriptions in the book were decided loooong before the website or the trailer were developed, so those definitely came first. The website came next, and for that Justin and I spent hours pouring over stock photography, looking for images that best represented the characters in my head. And I think for the most part we nailed it, especially with Cedar and Finn. In my head Eden was always a mash-up between my nieces Aurora and Elle, who were both 6 when I started writing the novel two years ago. (My own daughter was only 4 when I started writing, but was 6 when we filmed the trailer and so was perfect to play Eden).
When we were casting for the trailer we were trying to find the right balance between look and acting ability. I think we all did a little happy dance when Natasha Quirke walked into the studio to audition for Nuala. Cedar was trickier, as in the book (and on the website) she has long straight black hair. But Alison Ward wowed us with her acting chops, even though her hair is shorter and wavy, and I definitely think we made the right decision. Similarly, in the book Finn has wavy hair, but Russell Thomas was perfect in every other way, so we pretty much cast him on the spot. Apparently finding child actors can be difficult, so we did some screen tests with my daughter Lauren and were all relieved to discover that she could play the role of Eden wonderfully.
Would you ever consider turning this novel into a TV series or movie if you had the chance? (Greg)
Hells yeah! Actually, one of the most common comments I hear is, “This would be a great movie!” I think this is because my story mentor comes from a screenwriting/film background, and so I was always being pushed to imagine each scene as it would play out on screen. I tried to make everything as dramatic and visual as possible and adhere to the old ‘show don’t tell’ maxim. So if you know any studios that are interested, let me know!
Jodi McIsaac is the author of Through the Door, the first book in a new urban fantasy series inspired by Celtic mythology. Buy it now on Amazon.