Ouch, I feel so young and naive. Well at age 54, maybe I shouldn’t knock anything that makes me feel young!
Here’s the scoop: I (and my wife) thought I was a brilliant book cover designer. You (everyone else on Earth, including the Americans up on Newt’s Moon Colony) do not agree. My writer pals, my church friends, and strangers I meet at Starbucks all tell me that I need professional help. (this has been going on for years; that’s another story).
She hasn’t designed the cover yet, but Australian Sarah Billington and I started noodling on my book earlier this week. She’s a cover designer whose work I became familiar with on Joel Friedlander’s excellent site (and thanks Joel, at SFWC last week for the tips & advice you provided).
Sarah saw my own cover, front and back; and my 250-word-or-less marketing pitch for the book. Then, she asked some questions I hadn’t been asked before. Her questions stimulated new thoughts in me. For instance, even when a person reads a book they really love and get absored in, a year later, there is only so much they can tell you about it. Many details fade. What remains most strongly is a theme, an emotional impression of a character.
So in helping Sarah decide what images and layout might be best for my cover, I decided to answer the following question for her: “What is the one thing I want people to remember about ‘See John Play” a year after they’ve finished reading it?”
I was in crisis for much of the San Francisco Writer’s Conference last week. Oh, the conference was good – it made me see that I’ve done so much on my own intuition over the past year to get my first book out. Combined with the honesty of pals who’ve givin the polite “thumbs down” to some of my mistakes – it all made me realize how much I need to rely on a good team.
By the way, here’s what I told Sarah I want people to remember about ‘See John Play’ a year after they’ve read it: it’s about a woman who believed in honoring her marriage despite many strong storms; and how her outrageous decisions transformed the people around her. Let’s see what my new friend Sarah does with that, and some of the other answers I provided to her!