A Cover Conversation with Cristin Terrill, Author of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

Today’s guest for the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) is Cristin Terrill, fellow Class of 2k13 member and author of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS.

“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?

None! I did for novels I wrote before All Our Yesterdays, but for some reason I would always draw a blank with this story whenever anyone asked me. Ultimately I think that was for the best, though. 

How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?

My editor told me about some ideas she had for the cover very early on, just a month or two after the book was acquired. But the serious discussions and comp process didn’t start for another six months or so. 

Did you have any input on your cover?

We went through lots and lots of concepts and cover comps. We probably went through a dozen ideas before we landed on the cover that appears on the ARC of the book, and then that cover was rejected by Barnes and Noble, so we went back to the drawing board. 

All in all, I probably saw at least thirty different concepts over a span of seven or eight months, and Hyperion was great about asking for my opinion along the way and incorporating lots of the changes I asked for at different points in the process. I still really love some of those covers we ultimately didn’t go with.

How was your cover revealed to you?

After many, many months and a zillion different comps, I got an email from my editor saying that they had a completely new cover based on a totally different concept than anything they’d tried before and that the team at Disney was convinced this was finally the one. I thought they were working on something totally different, but the clock cover had snuck in and surprised everyone. Supposedly when they revealed it at the sales meeting, everyone gasped.

Was there an official “cover reveal” date for your art?

It had been decided that Hyperion would reveal my cover during a panel at BEA, and we were scrambling right up until the last minute to get it finished in time. 

How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?

Not very! I saw the final cover for the first time about fourteen hours before it was revealed at BEA.

Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?

Haha, no. Especially because I was asleep for most of those fourteen hours. 

What surprised you most about the process?

How difficult it was. I obviously had a particularly troubled cover journey, and I never could have imagined it would take so long or be so stressful and emotionally draining. But I’m so grateful that Hyperion continued to push for a something they thought would be really great instead of giving up and settling for something just okay when the process got tough.

You’ve got international editions coming out. Tell us about your foreign covers.

Seeing the foreign covers starting to come in has been so much fun for me, because they’re all wildly different and seem to want to emphasize different aspects of the story. Here are the have covers for the UK, Dutch (I Am Not Me), and Bulgarian editions. And the German cover, which I adore and can’t wait to see in person, was just released last week. This is Time Splitter:

Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?

Just try to let go! It really is completely out of your control, so do your best not to stress over it. Indulge freely in your vice of choice if necessary.


3 thoughts on “A Cover Conversation with Cristin Terrill, Author of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

  1. Wow. It sounds like a full blown quest for the right cover art. I do like the piece they finally picked best (and have been dying to read this book), but it's always interesting to see how foreign markets change up the look.

    I remember really loving the Japanese cover for Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. It was this beautiful illustration with blues and clouds, but it was nothing at all like the US or UK editions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s