It’s something every author anticipates with both excitement and dread—that instant when he or she sees their book cover for the first time.
After months (or years) of crafting and drafting the words that become woven into their book, every author hopes that their cover will not just draw readers’ eyes, but perhaps be the best possible design to illustrate the inner contents.
No one wants that moment of presenting their book cover to be met with the same facial expression one might save for a parent revealing their newborn with misshapen head and bruising from a difficult birth: “Oh yes, Mrs. Cooper, your baby is—ummm—beautiful.”
New parents and authors are tender souls whose feelings should be spared. But while newborns with the imprint of a stressful delivery will recover into beautiful children, a book cover is what it is. If it’s unattractive from the start, it is forever so.
I was delighted when our marketing person at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas said that the design team would like input from their authors for the book cover. Wow! I had a say in the matter! Ever since I had received my contract under the Christmas tree last December—well, via e-mail, actually—I’d wondered what working with this new publisher would be like. I was heartened that they wanted to know my thoughts.
In the past I’d had complete control over my book covers for the Deer Run Saga, hiring a local artist to design the images. What started out as paintings, morphed with the magic of technology into the illustrations for my series.
Now I was with a new publisher, and I had to go with their flow. Being allowed to voice an opinion was a relief, although I knew they still had final say.
While pondering their suggestion for input, my imagination began to work overtime. What did I envision for the cover for my historical fiction set in Massachusetts? Having grown up in that state, I knew the look I wanted. I envisioned the young heroine looking alert yet lovely. It “looked” great in my mind—but how did I transfer those creative musings into an image? I needed a photo!
Right—like I was going to travel from the Midwest back to New England just for a photo shoot! It would hardly fit in with my budget or my schedule. But here is where events started to occur that helped me see that I must be receiving help from on High. Everything seemed to come together almost magically.
First of all I hoped that I could arrange for a photo shoot at the actual setting for my story. That fell through. As did another idea. Frustrated, I shared my thoughts with my husband one evening.
“I know the perfect spot,” he said. He knew an editor that had done a photo shoot at a location not too far away. It was an authentic Colonial house—built in New England in 1755—that had been moved, piece-by-piece, to the Midwest in the 1970’s.
Are you kidding me?? What were the chances?
I tracked down the location and the owner and bravely requested to use their house for a photo shoot. The gracious homeowners were more than accommodating.
Next, I needed a photographer. My husband once again came through as he told me about a professional freelance photographer that goes to our church—and often sat right behind us! I had no idea Heather was a photographer.
All that was left was to find the right model. But how do you find someone with waist-length hair who has the right look about her? I did not want a modern-looking young lady. She needed to have that aura of a Colonial American young lady—simple yet lovely.
Well, I was having trouble here—so I prayed about it. God answered my prayer as my friend, Katie, posted a birthday photo of her granddaughter on facebook. There was the model I was looking for, her image right on my laptop.
As if God was not working overtime to help me as it was, He threw in one more gift: The same friend was a seamstress who knew how to sew period clothing. Katie and I went shopping and I purchased the material. Her creative hands sewed the Colonial American costume that her granddaughter would wear.
I was dumbfounded by these “chance” blessings. And grateful.
April was approaching and I wanted to get the photo done at the same time of year as the events in my book. The photographer and I had already made a visit to the Colonial house to plan where the shots would be photographed. As it turned out, Heather the photographer was also from the East and loved Colonial American homes. J
Soon we had a date that we could all meet at the house location. I prayed that everything would go well. But I could never have anticipated just how much God would continue to help us bring this project together.
(Come back for Part 2 this Sunday, September 22, as I write about the actual photo shoot)
Featured image courtesy of Thomas Deitner