I mentioned before that I went through the Author Launch course, and near the end of the course, I watched an instructional video about directing the design of your book cover. Before I had watched that video, I hadn’t thought much at all about my book’s cover. At first, I didn’t really care what my cover would be. (Lol, remember that I don’t love fashion or decorating?)
After I watched the video, I felt a little overwhelmed because I realized that I would have to be very involved in the process of creating and finalizing my cover. Later that day, I was praying, sitting on the floor, and I asked God to show me what to do about my cover. I felt like God gave me a mental picture of me looking at my house, holding a hammer behind my back. I thought, “Okay, that could be cool.”
The instructional video interviewed a graphic designer, who suggested that the author look at other book covers to see which she liked. She also suggested that the author look up color schemes on Pinterest and send those pictures to the graphic designer.
So for the next couple days, I scrolled through a ton of images of book covers. And I totally gravitated towards the ones that had a pencil drawing as part of it. I loved the muted look of grays and tans.
I started thinking then that I wanted someone to draw this picture for me. I had just talked to my friend Forrest on the phone to wish him a happy birthday, and so a few days later, I thought…maybe I should ask Forrest to draw it for me. Forrest is actually a doctor (not an artist by profession), but I remembered that he had drawn some cool pictures in high school and also that he had taken some art classes as his electives in college.
Forrest and I have known each other since we were toddlers, growing up together in the same church and also going to the same school. In high school, he was one of my very best friends. We sat next to each other in most of our classes, helped each other with homework, and he would often eat the leftovers off my lunch tray. Lol
Forrest has lived out of state for several years, so we hadn’t spent much time together lately, but still—I texted him, “Hey, do you still draw?”
I explained to him what I was hoping to do for my book cover, and then he quickly said that he’d love to give it a try!
He was in town a few weeks later visiting family. And he stopped by to see my new house and chat. I showed him the book covers that had inspired my idea, and he asked me a few questions to make sure he knew what my goals were for the cover.
I had my friend Tabitha take a photo of me looking at my house, holding a hammer behind my back. And I then emailed the photo to Forrest.
Fast forward a few months…Forrest sent me his first draft of my picture (which I was so excited about!), and I asked my friend and coworker Krysten to help me to finish the rest of the design work. Krysten and I have worked together for about four years, and during that time, she has done the artwork for many logos and t-shirt designs for my projects with the children’s ministry and women’s ministry at our church. So we have experience of creating and critiquing artwork together. And what I mean by that is I might tell Krysten a general idea and what colors I want, and then Krysten does her magic! Sometimes I’ll be like, “Oh, can we move that graphic a little to the left, and make this font bigger here, and maybe a darker blue here…” And then ta da! Krysten makes it beautiful!! She’s so talented and a sweetheart to work with. :)
When we began putting my cover together, Krysten and I sat at her desk during our lunch hours. While I was chopping on a sandwich and eating yogurt, she was pulling things up on her computer. She showed me hundreds of font until I picked out the one I wanted. We tried different combinations of colors and layouts…a little more grass here, and a touch of yellow there, and then finally, we have this cover finished!!
I love that my cover is unique, personal, and true to the spirit of the book’s story. I think it’s very “me.” I love that one of my childhood best friends (thank you, Forrest!!!) drew this picture for me—that makes it even more special to me. I love that Krysten and I could work together to make the design elements exactly what I wanted it to be. I could rest easy knowing she had the skills to make it work. And it made for some fun lunch hours! (Thank you, Krysten!!!)
I’m so happy to share my book cover with you today as a visual representation of my book. We’re one step closer to my book’s release! #WeWontShrinkBack
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.