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Saturday
Apr042009

You Can't Tell a Book by Its Cover...or can you?

      One of the more nerve-wracking parts of self-publishing Getting Out of Dodge was choosing its cover. At first, I thought I'd found the perfect one at IPhoto (a great online source for cover art, at a very reasonable price). I can't remember exactly how much I paid for "Cowboy with Roses," but I think it was around five bucks. The cowboy in the picture was dressed exactly as I imagined Leonard dressing; roses figure prominently in the story; and there was just something so Leonard-ish about the way the guy held the roses behind his back, and the way his hair curled over his collar. It seemed to convey Leonard's vulnerability perfectly. I'd nailed it!  

     But the people at BookSurge had other ideas. They wanted a shot at it. And there was no reason not to let them try. My publishing package included three different cover concepts. So I said, sure. Give it a whirl. 

     I wish I could show you the design team's first attempt, but I'm experiencing technical difficulties downloading it. Imagine a serene pasture, misty in the early dawn, with just a smattering of contented cows chewing their cud. All I can say is, when I saw it...well, I can't say what I said when I saw it, but I can tell you what my husband said when he saw it: "Those are dairy cows, Jules!" It was pretty obvious that the only part of the book the team had read was the title. (Saves time, I guess.)

    So I called and explained to the team, in the nicest possible way, that, the book had nothing to do with farms or ranches, that it did, in fact, take place in Evanston, IL, not Wisconsin or Vermont, and that in the context in which I was using the phrase "getting out of Dodge," Dodge was not the peaceful, pleasant place they'd depicted, but it was, both emotionally and physically, a place that people were trying to get out of!    

     Back to the drawing board.

    When the photo (way upper left) came through, I was delighted! Now they'd nailed it! In fact, I was so certain that it was the winner that I left my last "cover concept chance" on the table. I thought that the refrigerator magnets were eye-catching, intriguing, and didn't lock me into the whole cowboy thing. I mean, if I had a cowboy on the cover, wouldn't most people assume that the book was a western? And if they read it, and discovered it wasn't, would they want to lynch me?   

     So that's my Cover Story. Choosing a cover for one's book is like choosing what to wear to meet your future mother-in-law. Nerve-wracking.

     Happy Trails!

     Julie

 

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