I’m delighted to at last reveal the cover for Lucy Hounsom’s epic  debut fantasy – Starborn. And it’s epic indeed! It’s the first book in the Worldmaker trilogy, followed by Heartland. I just can’t wait to see a stack of those bookish beauties once the precious tomes are printed.

And as it’s such a fine cover, I wanted to share a bit more about its evolution. Each stage takes time, a lot of different people and there is plenty of behind the scenes polishing, commenting and tweaking.  We started off the process with a briefing meeting, where I briefed our Art Department on some cover direction ideas For this, I did picture research (and yes, stars featured fairly heavily…) and looked into what books future fans of Starborn might be reading. I also chatted to Lucy about her thoughts, inspirations and Pinterest boards so I could incorporate her thoughts into that brief. The cover copy also took time to get right and was rewritten more than once, before being passed by our editorial services team in-house. They suggested further changes before it was shown to the author to approve (further cover briefing post from both an author and editor point of view here).

Then, once Art had cogitated upon the cover briefing presentation and rather hefty briefing document, Jo Thomson came up with a rough. This was to give a basic idea of the final cover, but the difference between this and the final thing is striking. However, the plan was always to do a photo shoot to really capture main character Kyndra and her character.

early-2bdraft-2bcover THE FIRST VERY ROUGH VISUAL (see below for final!) waterstones-2bexclusive-2bearly-2bmarketing-2bproof AND HERE IS THE EARLY EXCLUSIVE PROOF WE DID FOR WATERSTONES

For the next stage, our in-house designer Jo Thomson gathered materials to dress our Kyndra at the photo shoot. We also looked at an absolute heap of model profiles, trying to get just the right fit for the cover. And we all agreed on our final choice, going for Lucy’s favourite in the end. Photographer Colin Thomas really did us proud here too, and here’s a shot from the photo shoot.

colin-2bthomas-2bphotographing-2b-2527kyndra-2527 ‘KYNDRA’ BEING PHOTOGRAPHED BY COLIN THOMAS

HERE ARE SOME OF THE PROPS TOO (nearly at the final cover, below…)

fantasy-2bboots-2521 fantasy-2baccessories

Then finally, after much additional work, Jo showed me the final cover. It was one of those moments where I just thought – yes, that’s really it! It’s atmospheric, striking and has a sense of dignity and drama. Jo has done a really terrific job and Lucy was over the moon about it (or should that be stars?!). And the painterly font and added stars look lovely – especially when you imagine the gold font on the title and those stars.





On that gold foil, I even got to choose it – prevented with a veritable chocolate box of shiny options.



Goldsboro books is going to be stocking some signed first editions, which is wonderful news. And here’s a sneak peek at the title page for this special edition only. I can’t wait to see the final thing after all this work from so many people  - so I can’t imagine how Lucy must be feeling. And I’ll want to appreciate that special fresh book smell – but that now, might be too much information!




‘A brave heroine, a perilous destiny, and an intriguing world full of myth and mystery . . . Enthralling’

‘I thought it was great, reminding me of Trudi Canavan. What a mix: immersive worldbuilding, secret societies, a flawed and hugely likeable protagonist, and awesome magic’

'Has all the elements to become a modern classic of the genre . . . Hounsom presents a fast-paced epic with strong, believable characters and a deftly imagined, richly portrayed world that will stay in the memory long after reading'

*  *  *  *  *

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy our comprehensive 'Tor Tour' series on different jobs within book publishing and what they involve.  

Or check out our popular publishing 'jargon busters'.