The Birthing of a Beautiful Book Cover
I love meandering through book stores and relishing in the visual smorgasbord of colors, images, fonts, and witty words crafted into titles, cover copy, and tantalizing taglines. If I'm lucky enough to land myself in a store with a built-in coffee shop, the scent of printed paper mixed with the waft of my warm coffee latte finds me seriously close to heaven on earth.
Strolling the aisles in a bookshop is a mini version of an art gallery tour without the aching feet. Small scale "paintings" to be sure, but the variety of styles, mediums, and genres is endless. That's why bookstores make great hang-out spots. The innate desire for creativity in all of us (whether you consider yourself creative or not ... which, by the way, you are creative. But I diverge ...) is experienced in the medium of human communication--writing. So, it's easy to deduce ... writing is necessary to make a book and a book needs a cover. Provide the book a tantalizing cover and magic is made!
Thankfully, the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," is accepted as truth. Ultimately, as it should be, a book's worthiness is revealed in its content found behind the cover. But, like the perfect choice of a fishing fly, an appealing book cover entices the reader to bite--lift the book from the shelf and examine its content closer. If "caught", the reader trots off to the cashier. In the digital world, the allure of an eye-catching book cover is equally important, if not more amongst the literal millions of choices. True confession ... I've been known to drop a book or two in my virtual shopping cart because I'm enamored with the cover.
It Takes a Team
Readers ask how much or little involvement an author has in a book's cover design. The answer varies tremendously depending on the publishing house. Of course, the publisher wants the author to be excited about the cover and highly motivated to market and promote the book. However, the publishing experts behind the scene in sales, marketing, and design have a real nose for what's hot and what's not. When my first book, Chasing the Butterfly, was published, I was amazed to learn of the extensive team responsible for interior design, exterior design, editing back cover copy and author biography, title, tagline ... And after all of that, the book still had to be produced! Needless to say, the involved process of designing and then dressing up a book is not for the faint of heart. Three cheers and high fives to the folks at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for making my experience positive.
The Twist to My Story
When it came time to think about a cover for RUSH, I had already been spoiled rotten! An opportunity had presented itself back with Chasing the Butterfly for my long-time friend and artist extraordinaire, Kelly Berger to create a painting for the cover artwork. Since my books contain a consistent element of the influence of visual art, it made sense to have the cover be a beautiful painting. Kelly was gracious enough to read my debut manuscript back in 2014 and was inspired to create the breathtaking and memorable painting--one that continues to garner oohs and aahs!
When RUSH was in the publishing process, the obvious goal was to have Kelly grace its cover with another professionally painted and intriguing cover. Even though RUSH is a stand alone story and not related to my first book, a "painterly" feel for the cover was unanimously embraced by the publisher, editors, and readers.
Call it a stroke of good luck or the blessings of a golden friendship, Kelly obliged despite having an overflowing load of painting commissions and her constant flow of gallery shows at Brushstrokes Studio Gallery in Colorado and other venues featuring her work. A quick study, she read the full RUSH manuscript and set her creative muse to work.
Not only was I spoiled, but I was double-spoiled! When RUSH releases November 1st, check out the back cover to see this beauty!
A Final Thought ...
Watching Kelly put brush to canvas reminded me of the incredible power of words--visual imagery set in motion across our minds as we escape into story. For Kelly, she has the gift of creating visuals in her mind, and then like a movie, projecting the images on to a canvas for others to dream, imagine, and enjoy along with her.
Treat yourself to an assortment of Kelly's varied themes and sought-after work on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram @KellyBergerArt to see her newest pieces. She'd love to hear from you!
Kelly's personal statement is fascinating ... enjoy!
"Beholden to raking light, vibrant color and quirky composition, my work has quickly garnered regional attention and inclusion in notable collections. Above all, I am moved by powerful light and a vivacious “color story". I endeavor to express--not overly define. An earlier career in the marketing arena has influenced the underlying graphic structure of my work, as well as captivating perspectives from dramatic vantage points. A largely self-taught painter, my formative years in Nebraska and college in Iowa are evidenced in pieces depicting rural towns and plains. A zeal for mountain life inspires mountain and ski themes, and several years in NYC has driven my passionate focus on urban themes. Recently, I've enjoyed exploration of nature-driven abstraction--while maintaining a commitment to structure, strong color story and movement."
And a Question for You ...
What book cover is memorable for you--perhaps one that holds a special place on your nightstand, coffee table, or bookshelf? Or, is it a cover from a childhood book that has left an indelible image in your memory? Please share in the comment section below.
Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator—and feels a bit incomplete when she’s not juggling all three balls. Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator—and feels a bit incomplete when she’s not juggling all three balls. Her award-winning debut novel, Chasing the Butterfly, is a book club favorite and Amazon bestseller. Her new novel, RUSH, provides a tension-filled, moving tale of a pioneer woman’s determination to survive. The story is based on the life of Jayme's great-great grandmother.
Jayme lives in Lakewood, Colorado, where she and her husband have survived raising three hungry, hockey-playing sons. Currently, a very needy Golden Retriever runs the roost. When Jayme isn’t writing, she teaches art to children and adults at her long-time art studio, Piggy Toes.