A Cover Goes from Pinky-Purple to Rich Red

farewell, dorothy parker book jacket finalEllen Meister is a friendly author, the kind who will visit your book club via Skype if you choose her latest novel, Farewell, Dorothy Parker. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York.” And that cover? Well, it almost wasn’t so red.

Here’s Ellen to tell the tale:

“I really didn’t have any visual in mind when I wrote the book. I knew that Farewell, Dorothy Parker was a good title (thanks to my husband, who helped me come up with it!), so I had a gut feeling the type treatment should be special. But beyond that I was simply eager to see what the designer would do with it.

“My publisher didn’t come to me for input, but we did discuss that it was important to make sure the book didn’t look like a biography. So I knew they would not be using an image of Dorothy Parker. The original version of the cover was purple, and given the inconsistencies of the internet, I was concerned that on some websites it might read as pink, which would be all wrong for this book. So we kicked around different color ideas and settled on red, which I think is very rich.

“The first time I saw the final cover I thought it was smashing! I loved the type treatment, which I thought would work well online, even when shown in the smallest size. And I knew the cigarette smoke and subtle wallpaper background would look beautiful on the printed book jacket. I thought it hit every right note—evocative enough to suggest a ghostly presence and a hint of history, without coming across as historical fiction.

“There’s an elegant illustration of a cigarette in a holder that was created specifically for this book. I think it’s beautifully integrated into the design, pointing at the title. I also love the smoke, framing the cover and spelling out ‘a novel.’ I think it’s lovely and creative.

“I think the cover does everything it should, setting the tone for a book that brings a beloved American literary hero to life with wit and heart.”

Thanks, Ellen. I love the atmosphere of this cover—it’s evocative and lush.

What do you guys think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.meister Ellen Meister

    Big thanks to the Melissa and the B&N Blog team for interviewing me about this cover! And a special shout-out to the design team at Putnam for doing such a spectacular job.
    Ellen