The only thing I did was provide a mood board of covers and images I liked. Some I chose were:
So you can see what I was thinking. My publishers however, were thinking differently. They wanted to strike 'a balance between young teen fantasy, heroes, edgy martial arts & more niche Japanese imagery. We also wanted to avoid showing figures which might make it too male/female. We also know that knives and swords can be tricky with the gatekeepers to children's fiction (teachers, librarians, and some book-selling buyers) so instead, we have focussed on motif and strong series styling that will work across all future books.'
And that made perfect sense to me. They were thinking along the lines of The Maze Runner series and the Alex Rider series.
So here's what they came up with:
And it was a shock. But in a good way. I loved it, but I think my publishers thought it might get lost in the sea of black-covered books that already exist out there. They wanted it to stand out from the crowd so they switched the colours:
It certainly did stand out. I didn't think I could love my cover any more but Chicken House went and 'urbanized' it to reflect the contemporary New York setting where some of the story takes place. I give you the finished product:
Isn't it awesome!