Imagine yourself lazily killing time in an airport bookstore. Think about the times you have been drawn in – or repelled by – the image on the cover of a book. Now, think about being the author trying to create the perfect cover that will magnetically attract your ideal reader. No pressure! You have a second to grab their attention or they will move on. Yikes!

They say a picture paints a thousand words, and I will add evokes emotions and tells stories. We tend to judge pictures immediately and viscerally. You like the way a picture makes you feel – or you don’t. You will often spin a story about what the image means, or what the creator was trying to capture.

I wanted to walk you through the process I just went through with the designer for my book cover. I sent her two ideas I cobbled together and would have been happy with her just putting her well-trained eye and design skills to those concepts. She did just that and sent me covers that I loved…until I saw the original concept she created.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

In the design brief, the document where the author shares their vision for the book, targeted readers, branding guidelines, etc., I wrote that my personal brand is professional but also a little snarky. She latched onto snarky and ran with it.

Creating something that wouldn’t scare people away was a challenge with “Evolving the Way We Work to Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and Depression” as the subtitle for sure. We needed to let people know that while we would be covering some sticky topics, they shouldn’t be scared off. I wanted to create the feeling of a safe space to have a difficult and much-needed conversation.

The first cover she sent me had characters that all seemed the same – light-skinned male characters dressed in pants, white shirts, and ties. The things the characters were doing were the same as in the final cover, but I immediately felt we needed diversity across gender and ethnicity. I wanted the reader to be able to see themselves (or someone similar to them) on the cover. Inclusion and diversity are important to me, and the issues I talk about in the book are universal and systemic.

I did not want to change three of the characters because they were fantastic. We adjusted the others and came up with a cover I am thrilled with.

Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to get this out into the world. (January 2023)

PS – I dedicated the book to Carol because without her support, it would not exist. Thanks, Carol!

Photo by Shiromani Kant on Unsplash