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.