Everyone Judges a Book by the Cover

owl on a branch surrounded by green leaves tilting its head

Everyone Judges a Book by the Cover

We can deny it, but first impressions matter; we are hard-wired to judge everything in sight. This is especially evident with the cover of a book, making them as important as the content within.

Besides writing, working with my graphic designer, Jamie, on the covers is my favorite part of the self-publishing process, which is not to say easy or straightforward.

As we begin constructing the cover for Confidence Quest, the follow-up to Trail of the Heart, I’m reminded of the small details that matter, like what font works best. And it’s hard! How do you decide which font captures the meaning, so it’s both confident and less so, as the title implies that while there is confidence, there is also insecurity? Sometimes it appears easier to find what doesn’t fit, like Party LET or Din Condensed.

multi-colored felt alphabet on black background

Please, not a summary! 

Jamie needs a synopsis of what the book is about, and everyone knows that the thought of writing a book summary causes most authors to hide in fear. They are so challenging that some authors hire others to write them.

Not me.

Living life on the razor’s edge, I wait until the day before sending Jamie all the original specs, and I write the beastly little montage that, along with the cover, will (hopefully) give people a positive first impression.

I cannot write under pressure or at someone else’s behest. (Ghostwriting is not in my future.) Still, doing the summary at the last minute takes the pressure off me.

Know yourself, even when you make no sense!

Choosing the pictures sounds simple enough, but this alone can take a week or more.

Sometimes I pick photos that are too busy or lack “pull.” However, where Jamie is the creative in this area and a truly visual gal, she sees what I cannot and isn’t afraid to hard-no me when necessary.

random pictures hung on laundry pins

So it’s back to the drawing board to look at hundreds of pictures with a heavier heart now that I can’t have my way. My eyes burn, and everything begins to blend. “It can’t be done!” I rail at the heavens. “I might as well give up. Pack it in. Call it a day.”

Then, the clouds pass, and the sun shines as Jamie responds to my e-mail with a picture as lovely as The Holy Grail and life is worth living, and things like beautifully created book covers seem possible again.

Perhaps this process could be more straightforward if I just picked a picture with a chiseled chest or a half-naked woman. But, like the content of my stories, sex is the celebration of the relationship and not the whole narrative. Therefore, each detail, from the background picture to the small additions and the font itself, mimics my characters' process as they live, learn, and grow behind these one-chance-to-convince-you book covers.

Thank you, Jamie, for all your hard work, dedication, and talent. You make the impossible a lovely thing!

Be well,



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