Monday, November 14, 2011

cover story

Finally got to see the cover of Whipped, Not Beaten. I have to confess I could hardly wait--and when it arrived in my inbox Saturday afternoon, I actually closed my eyes when I clicked the PDF open to see it for the first time. Nervous? Totally. I wanted to love it--I was terrified I'd hate it.

Let's unpack that terrified bit. You see, a book cover is usually another reader's visual impression of your work. Sometimes a writer designs their own book cover, has strong opinions on what it should look like. More often, the design is in the hands of another person--someone they've never met. Such was the case with Whipped, Not Beaten. Some person named Cassandra Kollock was reading my book this fall and designing a cover that reflected the words I'd written.

Until Cornerstone Press got involved, the only people who had seen Whipped, Not Beaten know me, so there's this expectation and inherent kindness and generosity as they read it. I imagine it's tough to separate the writer from the writing, even when it is fiction. When I met the crew at Cornerstone, I was so flattered that they found the book funny, current, relevant and likable. They laughed out loud while reading it! That's high praise.

But the cover--the "face" of the book--it represents so much--how would the designer conceptualize it? Would they go for something photographic? Something symbolic, like a wire whisk and a mixing bowl? Would the cover look cheap and self-published? I hoped they'd stick to something minimal--too fussy would not appeal to me. Would they fixate on some odd, insignificant detail and pull it to the cover? I so wanted a particular shade of blue, not royal, not dark, not light, but a turquoisey-robin's egg blue--but I never gave any input on the cover design.

Book covers are designed to lure a reader--they're intended to grab your attention and I think of the book covers I love. Particularly, Jen Lancaster's, Wendy Holden's, Tiffany Baker's and Lauren Groff's.


The cover can make all the difference for a prospective reader. Plus, the cover designates a book as funny, serious, tragic, light, compelling or creative. It reveals the theme, the genre, the general storyline, the author's intent. How did the book designer see this book? How did Cornerstone Press want to represent my work?

I opened my eyes and gasped.

They'd chosen the exact right color of BLUE! The font was a brilliant mix of frothy and fun, cursive-y for "Whipped" and bubbly for "Beaten." The cover image was exactly funny and feminine and incorporated a mixing bowl and rolling pin.

I. Loved. It.

It's a book I'd pick up to read the back cover of while standing in a bookstore.

It's a book I'll be proud to hold up and own. This book cover, attributed to my work, makes me appear more stylish and comical and funky than I am in real life.

I showed it to my husband and he said, "It looks kind of like a comic."

I told him, "That's because my book is funny. See? The cover tells you that my book is funny." (I thought to myself, If you'd read it, you'd know.)

And then I got all Sally Field for the rest of the weekend. They think I'm funny! They really think I'm funny. You like me. You really like me!

Are you dying to see it now? They have to make one small change and then I'll post it here. Meanwhile, spill it, reader. The best complement someone's given you lately.

19 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I've not been able to comment lately because for some reason my computer would not let me see your word verification, but all is well today. My brother was not pleased with the cover of his book but he allowed the University Press to go forward with it without making a big stink because at that point I think he was just tired of the whole thing. Although I hope he does a sequel or perhaps in any reprints, he can use what he had proposed (a design by SIL's niece) which, as you say, really fits the book better than the really bad cover chosen by the UPress staff.

    I can't wait to see your cover!

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  2. That is truly super, I can't wait to see it!

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  3. WOW!!!!!! That is so exciting! I can't wait to see it. I must admit that I do sometimes pick a book strictly by the cover. Lame, but true. So glad yours is just what you wanted. :)

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  4. Yes, I'm dying to see it. And to read it. Last compliment I got? On my enchiladas last night.

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  5. I am so happy for you! I think covers are incredibly important, and that is usually how I choose books to scan the backs, if it's an author I've never read before.

    One thing I've noticed with the amount of reading I'm doing on my Kindle now --I often don't remember the cover or title of books I really enjoy. You don't have that experience of seeing the book waiting for you on the table, and I kind of miss that.

    I am looking forward to reading your book. :-)

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  6. So excited for you! How wonderful that you love it!

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  7. I am so excited for you. And, having gotten a sneak peek at your cover, I agree, it's splendid.

    As for me, the young (19-ish?) male barista at the coffee shop complimented my ensemble today, which was gratifying indeed.

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  8. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh I can hardly wait...covers are so telling.

    And, HUGE congrats!

    Compliment...hum...can't think of one. Oh wait, a coworker said she'd love to live with me - so she could eat my food. I'd brought in a chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache glaze on the top :)

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  9. Congrats, will be waiting for the sneak peek. I too miss the covers on the books I read on my kindle. I often "go to" the cover just to see what it is, but sadly, many do have include the cover art in the kindle version.
    Complement? one of our Sons in law came and helped on the farm for several days this past week and complemented me everyday on the food I served and any time I did something for him.

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  10. I so agree with you about a book cover.

    Hmmm, what compliment I have gotten lately . . . that our class today ended up working well even though I had to punt because an essential piece of software malfunctioned.

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  11. And I was so patient moving down the page making myself wait to finish reading before I saw the cover which I knew would be at the end of the post. Ah well... As you can tell, I can't wait to see it! It is so cool that this is happening for you. Of course, they like you and we like you and we really really do. :)

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  12. Awesome. I can't wait to see it. It must have been terrifying to think that a stranger was translating the essence of your words into a visual design. So much room for misinterpretation!

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  13. I haven't gotten a great compliment lately. Hmmm.

    I digress...

    I WANT TO SEE THE COVER!! You don't know how I fought to keep from scrolling down as I read this post! I was patiently waiting to get through it all, to get the full story before I peeked.

    And now, I must wait...

    But CONGRATULATIONS!! It sounds PERFECT!

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  14. I. Can't. Wait!!

    My last complement was on a Diabetic Banana Cream Pie I made for my husband. He REALLY liked it.

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  15. I will keep an eye out for your cover reveal!

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  16. Dying to see it!

    As for the compliment, a few days ago a coworker with whom I had just shared several alcohol-filled hours (and may have discovered the most delicious drink ever concocted, the name of which I dare not type here for fear of besmirching your lovely blog, dear Greenie) called me a "wonderful woman." It felt good but he was drunk, so...y'know.

    So I think I'll go with tonight, when a friend's husband asked me to come hang out with their tween kids so he could go visit his wife/my friend in the hospital. She had surgery today to repair a broken elbow and unexpectedly had to stay the night. I am honored they trusted me to stay with the kids and grateful that I could serve them in that small way.

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  17. so happy for you! never knew that about book covers but you are right - makes all the difference in the world if I'll bother picking it up to check it out. I was holding my breath hoping you'd like it and I smiled big when I saw that you LOVE it! :)

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Spill it, reader.