| David Gane

How we chose our original cover

Now that Along Comes a Wolfe is out in the world, I wanted to share some of the work leading up to it.

Today, I thought I could discuss the original book cover (it has changed since working with YNWP.)

Lessons from Swift, Flowing

When I first started Swift, Flowing (no longer available) I wanted to focus on images that were clear and eye-catching. I found that many of the thumbnails of ebooks were too complex and difficult to read at first glance. I decided clear fonts and minimalistic images may be the way to go.

Thankfully, Ang agreed.

Starting from scratch

At the start, we didn't know what the book was titled but we knew a little about what the story was about.

We played with ideas focusing on the murderer central to the story. We considered faceless characters or ones with masks, which lead Ang to send me Rene Magritte's The Lovers from 1928.

We considered a minimalist approach to this, using only two or three colours.

Character intervention

Shortly afterwards though, our two main characters, Shepherd and Wolfe intervened.

In the early stages, we were still fleshing them out, including their names. We bounced around several different versions until we settled on what we know them as now.

We liked Shepherd and Wolfe as names not only because of certain connotations of their relationship, but also it offered a whole list of future titles and covers.

I immediately started thinking about a favourite book of mine called How Pictures Work by Molly Bang, which explores the use of simple shapes and colours to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Yet, Ang had her own idea and sent me a mock-up of what she envisioned:

We liked that it was not direct, and the violence is suggested by the symbol of wolf and the dark red. There is also a hint that the character connected to the wolf may not be the safest of characters.

We sent that to our illustrator, who developed a succession of several drafts[1].

And eventually lead to the final version:

Final Outcome

Although I like the look of this cover, I don't think it will be the only version. I know it confuses some people new to the book (Friends of my daughter have already told me they think it's a werewolf story). Therefore, I'll likely commission a different version for the print copy, something that is perhaps more literal, like the original vision of the cover

Fortunately, due to the flexibility of the Kindle ecosystem, we have the opportunity to experiment with the cover, trying and testing new covers out on a regular basis, which can be tested in different printings.

  1. The original title was Along Came a Wolfe, which was changed because of the present tense of the book. ↩︎

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