Anatomy of a Book Cover Part I

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The beloved cover image of The Eighty-Dollar Champion was created especially for the book by the amazing Random House art department team.  Using a photo taken in 1961 by acclaimed Life Magazine photographer Bill Ray. The beautiful photo of Snowman jumping at liberty in the Knox School arena. The photo was then hand-tinted in the manner of a beautiful vintage photograph.  The cover was critically acclaimed and appeared on a number of “best book cover of the year” lists when it was published in 2011. Pictured at left is the original hard cover version of the cover (the text on the cover was rearranged when the words, New York Times Bestseller were added.)

Now, the iconic image seems like the logical choice to represent this story, but in fact The Eighty-Dollar Champion, like most books, went through several drafts for the cover before settling on the final image.


Doesn't look like Snowman.


Too Western?


Lovely! A version of this ended up being used as the cover for the Dutch edition


Exciting, but not quite right.


Very Disney-looking.

Here are a couple of the international book covers. The Dutch publisher elected to use a cover very similar to a rejected US edition. The UK edition is the same as the US version except for the font..The Eighty-Dollar Champion has been translated into several languages–including Japanese and Russian! All but for the Dutch edition have stuck with the original cover.


British Edition.


Dutch Translation.
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2 Responses

  1. Victoria Spencer

    I actually like ALL of the covers! It must have been very difficult to choose just one! Wonderful book and I am looking forward to watching the DVD very soon. As a fellow writer, I look forward to many more of your great books – anything to do with animals I am interested in reading!

    • Snowman: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

      Thank you! That’s interesting that you like all the covers. I did like several of them as well but cover design has to take a lot of different things into consideration from a marketing perspective.

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