Posts Tagged pitch wars

Cover Reveal: GOOD DIFFERENT, by Meg Eden Kuyatt

MUF cover reveal logo

MUF cover reveal logo


It’s cover reveal day at Mixed-Up Files, and we’re so excited! Today we get to reveal the cover for Meg Eden Kuyatt’s middle-grade debut: GOOD DIFFERENT.

Here it is!

graphic of elements of the cover but they're all mixed up - doesn't show the full cover yet.

Okay, okay, I’m just playing. That’s not exactly it …. and I PROMISE I really will show you in just a moment. t’s AMAZING and I’m chomping at the bit to share …. in just a minute or two.

When we do a cover reveal here at Mixed-Up Files,  before we show you the art, we love the chance to hear from the wonderful creators who turn an author’s themes and characters into covers that will lure readers to pick up the book. For GOOD DIFFERENT, that artist was Luna Valentine.

Meet Illustrator Luna Valentine

head shot of illustrator who is a white woman with pale purple hair, dark lipstick, and bright red and blue eye shadow


MUF: How did you decide which story elements to focus on for this cover?

LV: I’ve had a lot of input and help from an incredible design team. We’ve explored a lot of different ideas and in the end had a wide variety of ideas to choose from. I think early on the phrase “be a dragon” stood out to me personally and I tried to incorporate it as a design element in every idea we worked on. It’s really empowering to be a dragon.

MUF: Which elements did you enjoy working with the most?

LV: My absolute favourite part was the character design. I feel like you can connect to a story on a whole new level if you connect with the protagonist, and from the moment I got the character description of Selah I could just picture her so clearly in my head. Now getting her to look exactly like she did in my head was a challenge but it was so much fun.

MUF: What is your artistic process for cover art?

LV: Usually I start with super rough, teeny tiny sketches straight away after reading the brief, just to get my initial ideas down on paper. Then I’ll do an in depth character design, usually with a bunch of different hair styles, clothing choices, maybe even a couple of different expressions. I draw the character in a lot of different poses. The first sketches are always so stiff and lifeless, but when you get into it, and allow yourself the time to experiment with different ideas, different designs and even make some mistakes, your sketches will finally start looking the way you want them to. I think the key is not to spend too much time on artwork at first and then go back and refine it over days, even weeks until it starts looking the way you want it to.

MUF:  What do you enjoy about illustrating cover artwork in general?

LV: Honestly my favourite part is seeing it in print, on a shelf in a book shop or on my doorstep. I love the feeling of a new book. And knowing I helped to create it is so satisfying.

About Luna:

Luna is a Polish children’s book illustrator, living in Nottingham, UK.

She works digitally, finding inspiration in folk tales, video games, cute Japanese food, under her bed and other places nobody thinks to look. Her art has been described as humorous, quirky and colorful. At Nottingham Trent University she studied Graphic Design and went on to receive her Masters in Illustration. Luna has worked with a variety of clients including Paper Rose, Paperchase and Arteza. When Luna is not drawing, you can find her traveling the world to find the perfect cup of coffee.

Stay In Touch:


Instagram: @lunavaltineart


The Cover Reveal

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for … drum roll …. the real thing! Here’s the cover for GOOD DIFFERENT, by Meg Eden Kuyatt.

cover art for GOOD DIFFERENT features a white girl with brown hair and the image of dragon wings sprouting from her shoulders



A extraordinary novel-in-verse for fans of Starfish and A Kind of Spark about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.

Selah knows her rules for being normal.

She always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she can calm down. So that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school, and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it.

Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.

Selah’s friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble.

But as Selah starts to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Can she get her school to understand that, too, before it’s too late?

Meet Author Meg Eden Kuyatt

MUF: Did you get to weigh in on any of these details in this cover art?

MEK: I gave a description of Selah (the protagonist) and some ideas of what I was envisioning, as well as styles I liked. My main comment was that I really wanted a dragon integrated into the cover—and I LOVE how Luna did this!

MUF: Is there one element of this illustration that stands out in particular for you as the author or that resonates with favorite parts of your story?

MEK: My favorite parts are Selah’s dragon wings. I love how they’re built out of all these things Selah learns in the novel, like the sensory tools she discovers (like earplugs and sunglasses), or how she rethinks words she’s grown up hearing, like “weird.” I really love how it shows that the tools Selah learns about empower her, like dragon wings! I can’t imagine a better image that captures the heart of this story!

MUF: Anything else you would like to tell us about your cover and why it is special to you?

MEK: I really didn’t have ideas for the cover, or a specific way I envisioned it, but it was really important to me that it would pull in kids who, like Selah, may also have a special interest in dragons. So I was incredibly happy to see this cover, which captured what I wanted, even though I didn’t know how to express it! It gives a magical touch (because writing is magic!) but still tells us this is a contemporary story, that you can find those little glimmers of magic in the real world. I’m in love with my cover!

MUF: Congratulations, and we’re so excited to read GOOD DIFFERENT!


About Meg

photo of author Meg Eden Kuyatt, a white woman with long brown hair standing in front of water with a bridge in the background

Meg Eden Kuyatt is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Good Different” (Scholastic, 2023).

Stay In Touch and Preorder


Twitter: @ConfusedNarwhal

Instagram: @meden_author

Facebook: Meg Eden Writes Poems


GOOD DIFFERENT comes out in March 2023. Preorder now from!

WNDMG Wednesday – Guest Post – Gail Villanueva: The Pitch Wars Culture of Giving Back

We Need Diverse MG Logo hands holding reading globe with stars and spirals floating around
We Need Diverse MG Logo

Illustration by: Aixa Perez-Prado

The Pitch Wars Culture of Giving Back

by Gail D. Villanueva

I never thought I’d be a published author. I’ve always wanted to be one, but I never thought I’d actually be one.

You see, I live in a country where access to books is a privilege, not a right. In the Philippines, poverty, crime, and natural disasters are greater concerns over libraries. That’s not to say we don’t have books. We do. But the local publishing industry here is so not the same as it is in the US. There are few publishers and even fewer writing organizations. Mentorship is limited to a chosen few.

So, you can understand why being a published author was a seemingly unattainable dream for me. I just didn’t have access to resources to become one. Still, I wrote a book—a book that featured a main character who looked like me.

I have a technical background, so the Web was my go-to place for resources. Somehow, my aimless browsing landed me on the Twitter account of a sweet, kind soul named Brenda Drake. Reading through her tweets, I learned about this project she founded—Pitch Wars.

Pitch Wars Logo


Pitch Wars

As a newbie writer, Pitch Wars was everything I needed. It was (and still is) a mentoring program that would help me elevate my writing and had (and still has) an online showcase at the end where agents get to look at my entry. But as a Filipino author living in the Philippines, I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t think Americans would care about my story. After all, there were hardly any Filipinos featured in the books US publishers published.

My husband convinced me I didn’t have anything to lose if I tried. It wasn’t like I was expecting to be accepted anyway. The main Pitch Wars program was closed to submissions at that time. But as soon as a side event opened for subs, I applied.

To my surprise, I was selected for Pitch Madness. I had some agent interest, but none of them panned out. Still, it was the first time I felt that maybe, I wasn’t so bad a writer, that my story might be worth telling. Best of all, I became part of an amazing community. It made joining a Pitch Wars event super worth it.

I ended up shelving that book and wrote a new one. I found more people online who became my friends and mentors. I eventually signed with a rockstar agent who helped me further elevate my writing. She found my middle-grade debut a home with Scholastic, where I learned more from the team.

My Fate According to the Butterfly Cover

My writing career was, and continues to be, built on a foundation of mentoring and learning. I don’t think I’d be able to get where I am now without these generous people who helped me along the way. Giving back to the community that made me was the only way to go. So, I mentored in various programs, but Pitch Wars was my fave. Before long, I got to level up my giving-back and showcased my 20+ web design and development experience by becoming the Technology Director of Pitch Wars when the committee was formed.

Pitch Wars is a diverse group of wonderful individuals coming from wide-ranging backgrounds, cultures, and marginalization. Every one of us is shaped by our experiences as different human beings. Every mentor, every committee volunteer, every mentee.

((Like reading about Pitch Wars authors? Read this interview with Adrianna Cuevas!)) 

I think it goes without saying why such diversity is important. For starters, it addresses the need for voices traditionally not heard to be heard, and for the traditionally invisible to be seen. Varying backgrounds bring about perspectives that a lone one cannot. These multiple perspectives help in making sound decisions, may it be in writing books, mentoring authors, or running Pitch Wars.

Not gonna lie, making choices as a committee for such a visible organization isn’t easy. Our volunteers are constantly faced with the reality that we can’t please everybody. But every effort we put into them is so worth it. Because that means we get to create a safe space for mentors and mentees. We get to help mentors help writers, who may one day publish a book that will make a reader who’s like them feel seen. A book that will become a lifeline to a reader who needs one. A book that will remind a reader that they matter.

Pitch Wars is just one path—it’s not the only path—to publication. I’m totally biased when I say this, but Pitch Wars is an awesome path. It’s a path where you can have fun while learning from a great community driven to continue the cycle of giving back. And I’m truly grateful to be a part of it.



Want to Know More About Pitch Wars?

The 2021 Pitch Wars Wish List blog hop launches Saturday, September 11, 2021. The blog hop highlights the Pitch Wars mentors and what they’re looking for. Learn more at, and stay up to date by following @PitchWars on Twitter.



Gail Villanueva Author Photo

Gail D. Villanueva is the Pitch Wars Technology Director and the author of Sugar And Spite (Scholastic, 2021). Her debut novel, My Fate According to the Butterfly (Scholastic, 2019), was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, an Amazon Best Book of the Month Editor’s Pick, and a NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Born and based in the Philippines, Gail’s daily routine includes running a web design company with her husband while trying to keep up with the shenanigans of their many pets—dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and random birds they befriend in the backyard. Learn more at

Sugar and Spite Cover


Find Gail Online