What’s in a book cover?
What’s in a book cover?

What’s in a book cover?

For the last two or three years, I entertained myself by designing dozens and dozens of book covers for my memoir. When I found a publisher and finished months of editing and restructuring, the time came to seriously focus on my cover.

I sent them several of my ideas along with screenshots of current book covers I was drawn to.

I often pick up a book because of its cover, and I learned that I’m not alone. A book cover is the biggest marketing tool – you must entice a reader’s attention from all the other books surrounding it.

Book covers also seem to have trends. A walk through a bookstore shows you what’s popular. Today, it seems to be those with fewer graphics on the cover, letting the book titles take prime positioning.

One of the stories I tell in my memoir is about a seed that only needs a crack in a sidewalk or parking lot to settle, send down roots, and begin to grow. We’ve all seen those trees whose tremendous determination to grow literally pushes sidewalks on end to make way for the tree trunk to emerge.

When I was at my most desperate during my twenty-seven months in prison, I would tell myself, “If you have to push concrete, well then push concrete.”

My editor suggested a cover design with cracked concrete and flowers. That idea took root in my heart, and we worked on evolutions of it. Covers after covers were presented to me by the design team. None made my heart sing. Suddenly, one day, the cover that captured my heart dropped into my inbox and there was no going back. We continued to evolve that design into a final book cover.

I love the concrete background and the bits of color added by the flora illustrations. The black overlay around the edges draws your eye right into the center where the title takes center stage almost as if it was spotlighted.

The book cover design project was the most exciting part of my book publishing journey!


  1. Patsy Collins

    I just read about your choosing a book cover and I cannot wait to read your book as I know how interesting a read it will be. This is based on how you wrote when you had the Safe Harbor Newsletters. I miss you not being in this state anymore which diminishes the chances of seeing you, but with email and letters/cards (which I have yet to send you) I will be happy just to be communicating with you. God Bless You Many TImes Over.

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