This week I met the graphic artist hired to design my cover. When I say “met”, she appeared in a chat line thread on my Facebook page, along with my editor. Her picture was the size of a cheerio on the screen. I have no idea where she lived. Via computer and online messaging we discussed how the book should look.
When I earned my journalism degree, I studied graphic design. I knew some of the elemental properties a good page should have. But in my time, “cut and paste” meant using scissors, x-acto knives, and glue stick. (If you don’t know what those things are, consult Wikipedia). Computers and their ability to manipulate graphic images had not yet appeared. We literally cut our pictures and text apart and pasted them on a ruled background printed in camera blue. The color guaranteed that the design lines would not be copied by the camera lens.
The process I experienced this week was far more sophisticated. I’d completed a template beforehand that listed the elements I thought the cover should have. I’d been asked to suggest other covers I’d seen that I liked and to search online photo banks for pictures I thought represented my story. I chose models in various poses who resembled my title character.
The graphic artist took my suggestions and created five different covers for me to consider. I was overwhelmed. They were all good possibilities, but one stood out from the rest. The tone of the page—the combination of colors, photos, and lettering—matched what I felt as I wrote the story. My editor had the artist flip the pictures to see if they worked better from that angle. In the end, the final composite pleased all of us. A new cover had been born.
An editor friend reported this week that his most recent box of books had arrived. He said he never tires of the feeling a new work stirs within. I can truly say the process made me ecstatic. I looked at the cover and thought, “I’d like to read this book.” Then I realized I’d written it. Reading the story would pass to you, my friends who have shared this journey with me.