Readers with artistic aspirations can try their hand at designing a YA novel cover, in a contest that Disney Publishing debuted on Facebook on January 16. Part of the publisher’s two-year-old unRequired Reading promotional initiative to showcase its YA fiction program, the Design-Your-Own Cover contest entails creating new cover art for Yvonne Woon’s Life Eternal. This paranormal romance, which was released by Hyperion on January 24, is a sequel to 2010’s Dead Beautiful. After reading the book, or the first chapter, which is available for free on the unRequired Reading Facebook page, fans can design and submit their entries online.
After the contest closes on February 20, judges will choose 10 winning covers, on the basis of creativity and relevance to Life Eternal’s theme and plot. Those 10 covers will be featured on the unRequired Reading Facebook page between February 25 and March 5, when voting will be open to fans of the Facebook page (numbering more than 38,000), who will select one grand prize winner to receive a book bag of five Hyperion YA novels.
"The Design-Your-Own Cover contest is a creative outlet for readers to interact with their favorite novels," says Nellie Kurtzman, director of digital and trade marketing for Disney Publishing Worldwide. "By giving them the chance to artistically interpret our 'unrequired reads,' we’re asking for something above and beyond fan fiction or reviews. Readers are telling our stories visually."
The contest also gives teens an insider’s perspective on the book jacket design process, Kurtzman adds. "Cover treatments are always a subject of much discussion and varying opinions in-house—from what the buyers like to what will stand out on shelves," she explains. "We wanted to create an opportunity where we could see first-hand how our readers envision covers. What better way to do that than by having them play cover artist?"
Teen readers who don’t clinch the grand prize this time will soon get another chance. The unRequired Reading campaign will feature a second Design-Your-Own Cover contest for Rachel Hawkins’s Spell Bound: A Hex Hall Novel, a March release from Hyperion.
Life Eternal: A Dead Beautiful Novel by Yvonne Woon. Hyperion, $16.99 Jan. ISBN ISBN 978-14231-1957-9