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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Debut Authors Spotlight

By Megan Coote, Tessa Thejas Thomas and Juliette Tulloch

Designing an eye-catching cover is particularly important for a debut novel to ensure that the book generates that initial excitement and intrigue. These are some debut authors whose books are sure to grab a reader's attention instantly.

Piglet by Lottie Hazell

Lottie Hazell’s debut novel Piglet is about a young cookbook editor called Piglet, an unfortunate childhood nickname she can’t shake. Her fiancé confesses to a horrible betrayal weeks before their wedding and the story follows her slow unravelling in the days that follow. As indicated by the decadent cover, both the eating and cooking of food plays a central symbolic role in the novel for the titular character. This comes from Lottie Hazell’s fascination with the cultural and social significance placed on female bodies and specifically on females eating. Food is used throughout the book as a method of control and a display of class status as Piglet separates herself from her working-class roots by cooking certain dishes and shopping in the more expensive supermarkets. The cover was designed by the London-based illustrator and designer Beci Kelly, Head of Design at Doubleday, Penguin Random House. The sickly-sweet design and sugary pink colour palette perfectly match the themes of the book which describes food in mouth-watering detail throughout. The stack of doughnuts gives the book cover an indulgent and enticing feel whilst also looking slightly lopsided and messy, with icing dripping down the sides and crumbs scattered on the plate. This ties back to Piglet’s desire for perfection throughout the novel as her ‘perfect’ life spirals, slipping from her grasp. The cover lends itself perfectly to social media, intriguing readers while avoiding itself from revealing too much about the plot.


Flux by Jinwoo Chong

Jinwoo Chong’s debut novel Flux is speculative fiction which follows three characters – Brandon, Bo and Blue – whose lives intertwine unexpectedly. The novel explores the complexities of family, trauma and grief, all with a fascinating time-travel sci-fi twist. The cover for Flux, designed by Beste Miray and published by Melville House, is bold in all aspects but still manages to remain harmonious and eye-catching. The bright yellow of the background stands out against the black text and imagery. The bold Serif font used on the page is placed in the centre and takes over most of the space, directing the eye across the whole cover. The text for “Flux” is split into two, one part below the other, creating a dynamic modern effect. The illustration is weaved in through the text and across the whole cover. This imagery depicts a liquid combined with a colourful static effect. For the reader, this gives a sense of the futuristic sci-fi themes explored throughout the novel. Overall, a great cover can elevate attention towards a debut novel and the cover for Flux certainly does a great job at this.


The Blueprint by Rae Giana Rashad

Rashad’s debut is a harrowing tale set in an alternate United States which bears haunting similarities to our world. The story follows Solenne Benet as she navigates life in Texas, where an algorithm chooses a Black woman’s occupation, spouse and home. The novel explores themes of bodily autonomy, misogyny, power imbalances and racism. The dual timelines add to the story’s depth and exploration of power over centuries as Solenne discovers the autobiography of her ancestor Henriette. Reading through Henriette’s life as an enslaved concubine to a wealthy planter in the 1800s, Solenne finds a guide in these words as she is caught up with high-ranking government officials.


The cover for this debut weaves together the key themes in the imagery of the snake and the bird. The snake's tail imprisons the feeble bird as the block lines entangle itself amongst the image, a clear reference to the timelines of these two women who will endure unfortunate similarities. The dystopian setting of the United States is mirrored in the abstract line work and it’s clear the ‘blueprint’ for this speculative world and its government is to imprison Black women in positions which they have no say in. The contrast of the snake’s open mouth and deadly fangs, and the bird’s own beak remaining shut, alludes to the difficulties Solenne and many other Black women will face: to be heard and respected as people. For fans of Margaret Attwood and Octavia E. Butler, Rashad’s writing and world-building will not disappoint.




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