Author A. K. Butler had the problem of an existing cover for her book The Burning of Cherry Hill being well-put-together and attractive but not particularly fit for purpose. Though it matched the book's tone and themes to a certain extent, it did not convey the aspects that the relevant customers would be arrested by in their browsing.
I felt there were two major points that needed to be stressed to browsers about the book that were being missed int he existing cover: that is is a plotty, action-based novel and that it is for an older YA audience and features young protagonists. Especially ss the book's primary marketplace was online, outside of the contextualising surroundings of a YA section, I felt it was important for it to be immediately identifiable as modern, edgy, grown-up, post-apocalyptic drama, and thus looked to images liked some of the Hunger Games covers, and also found inspiration in the poster for the cinematic adaptation of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff which features a very similar tone to Cherry Hill.
My ideas focused around a set of elements that I felt conveyed the right balance between youthful adventure, hard action, adult material, gritty reality and science fiction: a black and brash neon colour scheme; a narrow blocky typeface; industrial imagery; running figures, and the ironic softness of a flowery pattern or symbol to pick up on the contrast of the title.
I am always wary of what I have since heard Chip Kidd calls 'putting an apple on the jacket when apple is in the title', and I was aware that I was leaning towards literally illustrating the event the title described, but I felt that the title was opaque/deceptive enough to get away with it - especially if the scene was abstracted and the focus was on the two running figures.