Best Book Covers of 2016

Every year I walk into a bookshop and ogle at all of the amazing covers. There are so many I love, but here are a few of my favourites from this year, in no particular order. I haven’t read any of these books yet, but the covers certainly caught my attention.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I do love trees, and often take photographs of them, so this beautiful cover really caught my eye. The version with the apple is also equally creative and beautiful.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Although this cover features yet another YA novel with a girl in a floaty dress, in this case the composition and colours in the image make it very striking.

 

 

 

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The hand print on a cover is nothing new, but the white pattern over the top is different and interesting, and made me intrigued to find out what the book is about.

 

 

 

 

 

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

This cover, although very simplistic, I found highly effective.

 

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

The cover for the first book in this series was one of my favourites from last year, and this one from the second book is also a stunner.

 

 

 

 

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The more I looked at this cover, the more details I picked out. At first I didn’t notice the face in the wave!

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

From a photography point of view, it’s a brilliant photograph, freezing the moment of shattering. I also liked how the font ties in with the image of the chalk.

 

 

 

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I thought this cover was beautiful. I love the colours and shapes.

 

 

 

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but I can’t help but take notice of ones that catch my eye.

The Death of the Paperback?

With the rise of eBooks and the fast pace of technological developments dominating this century, a question that often comes up is whether the paperback will die out. I own an eReader myself, but I also have a rather extensive collection of physical books which are overflowing from my two bookcases. While the eReader often presents a lower price (which is rather appealing for a student) and has the convenience of being able to take a whole library out and about with you, the paperback book still has something special which keeps me buying hard copy books. One of the most enjoyable things for an avid reader is to explore a bookshop, browsing the beautifully designed spines and searching for the next great read. This is something that you cannot do with an eBook. The experience of purchasing an eBook online while sat at your desk at home, is entirely different to that of the pleasure of approaching the till with a book in your hands.

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These reflections are something which was prompted in me by my readings of classic science-fiction novels such as Nineteen Eighty Four and Brave New World. A common thing that keeps cropping up in this genre is not having physical books anymore, for various different reasons (and then of course there is the burning of banned books in Fahrenheit 451). People don’t read in Brave New World, but the character of ‘the savage’ has a volume of Shakespeare which he has spent hours poring over, thus spending a lot of the book quoting Shakespeare.

Recently, paperback sales have gone up while eBook sales have gone down. So perhaps it is not yet the end of the traditional paperback and bookshop. I certainly hope not. There are aspects of eBooks and paperbacks I like, and would like to see them continue to exist alongside each other for as long as possible. A future without paperbacks? There’s nothing quite like seeing a room full of hard copy books. The age of the digital has not quite taken over yet.

Swoon Reads Now Accepting All Genres!

In an announcement today, Swoon Reads have revealed that they are now accepting all genres of young adult and new adult fiction for submission. Their website has also been redesigned and looks less romancy. Swoon Reads prints under the Feiwel and Friends imprint of Macmillan. Writers submit their novels to the Swoon Reads website and every few months a selection of novels are chosen to be published.

Previously, only romance novels were accepted (including fantasy romance, sci-fi romance etc.) but they are now accepting submissions for all genres. This is good news for anyone who writes YA/NA without a heavy romance aspect. It’s an interesting move by the publisher, and I think it could make the site even more popular. By opening it up to more than just romance, they may get more people reading and submitting. I’ve known of the site for a while but I don’t generally write romance novels. There’s often a romance subplot, but it’s not the focus, so none of my books would have been applicable. Now, if I want, I have the option to submit to them.

It doesn’t seem like there’s anything to lose and I reckon it’s worth a shot for anyone who’s written/writing a YA or NA book. There requirement is that the book be exclusively on the site for 6 months (i.e. you can’t submit it to other publishers or agents during that time), which seems reasonable. If accepted, it’s also apparently a standard publishing contract.

I’ll be keeping an eye on how this one develops.

Taking Part in #PitMad

I took part in my first #PitMad yesterday and thought I’d talk a bit about it! For those who don’t know, #PitMad is a twitter contest which runs for 12 hours in which you tweet 140 character pitches for your novel in the hopes of attracting an agent or editor.

How it Works:

(full set of rules and explanation: http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/)

You can post twice an hour per project and must include the tag #PitMad and genre/age tags such as #YA.

If an agent or editor likes your pitch then they will favourite it, meaning they are requesting a submission from you. You then just have to follow their guidelines and submit however much of your manuscript they have requested.

Research any agents before sending to them to make sure they are legit and that they are what you’re looking for.

Remember only take part if you have a completed manuscript!

You can retweet other writer’s pitches if you like them but don’t favourite any as that is only for agents/editors!

Stuff I learnt from doing it / Advice:

Have a prepared load of tweets that you have planned in advanced. Then you won’t be sat there trying to come up with them on the spot. Make sure you have plenty because twitter doesn’t always let you post the same tweets.

Don’t be worried you’re spamming. I was worried at first about tweeting my pitches twice an hour but it is genuinely advisable and everyone does it. Hundreds of pitches are tweeted every minute so the more you tweet the more likely an agent/editor is going to see and favourite you.

Summing up your book in 140 characters is super hard, and making it sound interesting is even harder. Even if you don’t get any favourites it is good practice. As I went along I found looking at other peoples pitches gave me ideas and I think I got better at it.

Upcoming PitMad contests:

September 10th 2015

December 4th 2015

I’ll definitely participate again next time around. I think it’s really worthwhile doing if you’re looking to publish. Lots of people get picked up through it including someone I know and even if you aren’t successful it is a fun experience.

Exciting news is that I got one favourite on one of my tweets and have sent my synopsis and first two chapters of The Water That Sings. Fingers crossed!