Guest Post: The Cover Design Process by MK Reed

Today I’m thrilled to be part of The Cute Girl Network blog tour.  Check out what MK Reed has to say about the cover creation process for this graphic novel by Greg Means, MK Reed, and Joe Flood.  I think the cover is so cute!

The Cover Design Process by MK Reed

Greg, Joe & I are pretty lucky to have an awesome friend in Colleen Venable, who is also our awesome cover designer. Granted, the process can be lengthy, but Colleen’s got a system that pushes way past "This is the first thing I thought of" to "Oh my god Colleen, if this isn’t it I’m going to punch a kitten in front of a baby and we’re all going to cry together." (It has not yet come to that.) And the end results usually end up working out pretty cool, but I didn’t really appreciate our cover until I started looking at some other romance covers.

Some things our cover does not have that other romance covers do:

Man abs

Misty backgrounds

Awkward poses



"Extreme hugging"

Sexy women in profile displaying both front and back assets

What we do have on the cover:

A lady jumping on her dude’s back

happy looking people

people fully clothed with torn jeans & sneakers

the phrase "Dump Him" repeated a couple times

Magenta lettering

Spot gloss

And on the back, we have a bunch of babes glaring & glowering. Plus some blurbs from awesome cartoonists Kate Beaton & Meredith Gran, of Hark, A Vagrant & Octopus Pie.

And that reflects our book pretty accurately. Jack & Jane (the dudes on the cover) are funny and low maintenance and cool with just grabbing lo mein and egg rolls again. There’s a firm lack of competition for either protagonist’s heart, and no drama or deception behind their steely facades. In fact, they’re not even remotely steely, even when they’re hangin’ tough. The streets they’re from are soft, soft streets. The stakes are low and personal, the fate of their world doesn’t hang in the balance, and the only nightmarish future dystopia is in their bank accounts. It’s down to earth romance with the thrill of listening to your friends’ worst OKCupid dates.

So Colleen made us an awesome, totally on-the-nose cover, and we made our villain her doppleganger. (You can read more about all that on the First Second blog!)

Check out the full blog tour for The Cute Girl Network here

About the book:

Jane’s new in town. When she wipes out on her skateboard right in front of Jack’s food cart, she finds herself agreeing to go on a date with him. Jane’s psyched that her love life is taking a turn for the friskier, but it turns out that Jack has a spotty romantic history, to put it mildly. Cue the Cute Girl Network — a phone tree information-pooling group of local single women. Poor Jane is about to learn every detail of Jack’s past misadventures… whether she wants to or not. Will love prevail?

In this graphic novel from Greg Means, Americus author MK Reed, and Joe Flood, the illustrator of Orcs, comes a fast, witty, and sweet romantic comedy that is actually funny, and actually romantic.