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Books By Their Covers -- Have You Dreamed Of Yours?
Contributor
Written by
Kamy Wicoff
September 2014
Brainstorming
Contributor
Written by
Kamy Wicoff
September 2014
Brainstorming

TA DA! Last Friday I got the final front and back cover art for the novel I have been working on since October of 2011 (not that anyone is counting), a wondrous journey I have shared with all of you. It's called Wishful Thinking. What do you think??

It won't pub until April 2015, but as many of you know, books have to be finished months beforehand in order to get a crack at long-lead press (like women's magazines), at certain reviews, and to better the chances of getting blurbs from readers who like to hold a paper copy in their hands rather than perusing a PDF. She Writes Press also has a longer turnaround time from finished manuscript to published book than self-published authors do because we are distributed by Ingram Publisher Services, and our sales force needs copies in advance. Weirdly it is already up on Amazon for preorder, with my mother, my boyfriend, and my dear friend Sarah Saffian being the only customers I know of so far. 

The process leading to this cover was a long one, with lots of concepts thrown around, rejected, and perfected, until our team arrived at this. (I was thrilled to work with Julie Metz, now the art director for all She Writes Press titles, who commissioned the artist who did the hand-lettering.) One of the most useful exercises, and the document that kicked it all off, was filling out the She Writes Press cover memo. For those of you still writing, it usually isn't wise to spend too much time musing about your cover. On the other hand, it's a pretty fun distraction. And some of the questions in the cover memo are helpful in terms of thinking ahead to publicity and marketing, and who you hope your audience will be. So just for fun, I thought I'd share a few of them here. I'd love to hear what they bring to mind. (***One note: PLEASE don't paste full-size covers into this comment thread, even if you are dying to share! You can edit images by reducing the number of pixels, easy to do on Ning, and then, as with my cover, if people choose to double-click they can see something larger.)

A Few Selected Cover Memo Questions--Food For Thought!

What is your title?

Subtitle? (If there is one.)

Make a list of 10 adjectives that describe this book. 

List 5 adjectives that do NOT describe this book.

Who do you want to buy this book? Describe your ideal reader. 

What do you want your reader to get from reading this book?

I hope you enjoy this short exercise, wherever you are in your process, though again I would stress that if you are in the writing cave, as I like to call it, it's best to keep your focus on your book, bird by bird. I once had a woman approach me at a writing conference with concerns that when her semi-autobiographical novel came out, her boyfriend would want to break up with her. "Have you written anything yet?" I asked her. She hadn't. I thought so. I think she was also stressed about who would play her in the movie.

Between now and my publication date, I will blog here about stage two of my journey with my first novel (at the ripe old age of forty-two, no less): publicity and promotion. It's something every writer now needs to do, whether she likes it or not, and there is already a priceless archive here on She Writes from those who have gone before me. I will be referencing their posts as I pen my own, and hope that, as always, you will be generous with your knowledge and your support! 

Let's be friends

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Comments
  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    Thanks all, I am so glad you like it!! And @Loraine, I just had a conversation with a film agent yesterday. :)

  • Carole Spearin McCauley

    dear Kamy, Glad to know that your book will come out. I well know that the road is long and winding.  Hope you're feeling better from injury?  Good wishes and love from Carole Spearin McCauley in NH (used to be Manhattan, working in publishing and bookstore on 37th St.).

  • Mary Adler

    Your book sounds like more than "just" an  entertaining read. I love the questions you pose about the value of things. And love the cover. I think there is another consideration for covers. If you intend to write a series that is recognizable from the covers -- for example Andrea Camillieri's Montalbano series -- then it would be good to consider that also when choosing the first cover. My first cover is a black and white photo with one object in color and a dark band at the bottom. That might set the style for the next book. Not sure. Much to ponder in this book business. Wish you the best with Wishful Thinking.

  • Loraine Van Tuyl

    Ha! I figured out how to expand and read the backcover. This is probably going directly against your advice of not getting ahead of ourselves and savoring this moment, but my immediate reaction was - this would be the perfect "chick-flick" that my girlfriends and I would love to go see on our mom's night out (read escapade from kids and daily hum drum)! Will keep my fingers crossed for you and me : ).  The book sounds like a hoot!

  • Jennifer Richardson

    love it! Totally something I would pick up and turn over to read in a bookstore.

  • Kay Rae Chomic

    Great cover design, Kamy!! Eye-catching, whimsical, and who can't relate to the title? I think SWP has a lot of strengths, and one is cover design. When I glance through the catalog, that strength always pops out. I've received tons of compliments for the cover of my debut novel, A Tight Grip. Just yesterday, when I had a discussion with a Seattle librarian about how to get my book in their system, she looked the book over, and said she really liked the cover! Turns out, it's not so easy to make it in their system, so I gave her a complimentary copy, and she shelved it with other similar paperbacks.

    Best of luck to you!

    Kay

  • Nancy Davis Kho

    I love it! I would totally grab that off a shelf. Congrats, Kamy!

  • Stacey Donovan

    Terrific cover, terrific title, Kamy!

  • Shary

    Absolutely stunning cover...so incredibly inviting! Congratulations Kamy and much success!

  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    Thank you Cindy! I hope we see each other in NY soon. And RYCJ what a cool idea. You are inspiring me. I should have some 'face out' favorites on my shelves. @Lisa I agree, it is an art and I am in awe of those who are really good at it. Good for you for knowing your worth. And @Pamela, congrats on posting chapter one! I will go check it out.

  • Pamela Olson

    Brilliant cover and amazing blurbs! Thanks for sharing.

    It's funny, the novel I'm working on is similar in a lot of ways -- there's a touch of magic in an otherwise realistic story, and it's also meant to be a fun, page-turning, funny and romantic read that also contains thoughtful commentary on real problems (I like the "Trojan horse" analogy). (Different magical device and different real-world problem, though.) I just hope I can come up with a cover as awesome as yours. I think you have something here!

    P.S. I just posted Chapter One of my novel on my blog for early feedback. You're all welcome to check it out :)

    http://fasttimesinpalestine.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/bracelet-chapter-one

  • Lisa Amowitz

    As an author and cover designer, I can relate. It's a lovely cover! You should be proud. And I hope that people understand that while it takes a lot of effort to write, the ability to create design that "brands" your book is not to be undervalued. People often do not understand the training, effort and hours that go into this kind of work. I have been approached so many times about designing covers and once I give my price, I never hear back. But that's fine with me. I get more time to write and only work on covers for folks who really value my time and the care I put into their covers.

  • RYCJ Preparing to Publish

    Going by the cover this book looks like it's going to be one wonderful magical read, which just gave me my next idea. I'm going to add another book case to my library to display the prettiest covers.

    Thanks for inspiring me to get back to my writing! 

  • Cindy Eastman Writing

    I LOVE your cover! And I can't wait to read the novel, too! Nice work!

  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    Thank you @Loraine, that was just what I was hoping for! I'd love to hear what people think of the back jacket copy, too. You can double-click and see a larger image. And @Mardith, very glad those questions helped you frame the way you are thinking about your book a bit. They are definitely questions on publishers' minds.

  • Mardith Louisell

    Yes, the cover is fun. What I appreciated about the post was the reminder of the questions to think about. I'm trying to write query letter that doesn't sound so formal and overly prepared and I hope those those question will help. Good luck. Looking forward to following your much-more-informed-than-I-am journey!

  • Loraine Van Tuyl

    I love the colors and the playful, whimsical look of it. I don't know anything about the book, but just the cover lifted my mood : )