Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Story of my Book Cover

Here it is, the cover of my memoir Jumping Over Shadows. And, incidentally, no sooner had we finalized the cover than the book appeared on amazon, book description, author bio and all. Phew! Deep breath! I have to admit it was a seminal moment to see that.

To arrive at the cover, however, was a lesson in not accepting no for an answer. As is customary, I had put together a folder of images related to my book as inspiration for the publisher's cover designer. They came back asking about this image from a postcard I had found in my photo box while looking for a particular wedding photo. I always liked that postcard (I bought it in Paris at some point in the 1990s). Since it was similar to the photo I could not find (an image of my husband and me on our wedding day, taken from the back, walking away into the night--only his dark figure and my veil and long skirt are visible), I included it in the folder.

"What is this photo?" my publisher asked, "Do you hold the rights?" When I told her it was a postcard but that the photographer was noted on the back, her response was, never mind. It would probably be too expensive to be able to use that photo, let alone find the guy (a perfunctory Google search on my part had not yielded immediate results). A few days went by, and I received a mock-up for a cover that neither the publisher nor I liked.

I'll be damned, I thought, if I can't find that photographer. His name, Tilo Rausch, sounded decidedly German, so I dug around on Google.de, using German search terms, and eventually, after stumbling over websites of long ago gallery exhibits, I found a French hotmail address for him. Not exactly promising, but I could try, right? So I emailed him in German. Two days later I got a response! He had indeed taken that photo, and he was thrilled we were interested, and he wanted to know more about my book. The rest, as you can see, is history. He has since told me that he took the photo in the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris in the '90s. Given that Paris is my favorite city, it is beshert to have a Parisian location on the cover.

​​​​​​​Next I received cover mock-ups with this image, but the title fonts were run of the mill. For what, I thought, do I have a brother who's not only a graphic designer but who specializes in typography? I sent him the mock-ups and asked him to come up with font suggestions. He did, and after my husband, kids and friends weighed in, we ended up using one of the fonts he suggested. Then I went back and forth with my publisher on whether we should use red or black font, and heeded their advice to go with black. So, all in all, the cover was a collaboration with a large chunk of family participation, and I am very happy with it.

Do let me know what you think! Also, I'd love your opinion on whether you think the book needs a subtitle. I'm too immersed in the project to be able to tell and my publishing team is of two minds about it.

P.S. If you're inclined to buy my book on amazon, it would be of immense help to me if you would pre-order it now as that helps us determine the eventual print run. Thanks much!