Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cover Design

It's been a long time since I've been on...I know. I'm making yet another resolve to keep up with this blog! I attended the Willamette Writer's Conference a few weeks ago and learned all about the new publishing buzzword--platforms. The big houses now want to see a writer have a platform and to be managing it well. For those of you, like me, who weren't in the know: a platform is the entire marketing package of the writer--his/her Facebook presence (and number of friends), the blog, twitter account, website, etc. It's pretty interesting, actually. Obviously social media is a great way to market a book.

Which brings me to my best news--the book is done! I finished it a few days before Lucy was born and sent it off to Jessie at Salmon. We are still on track for the book to be printed in January, and launched at the AWP Conference in Chicago in March. I'm pretty excited. Ecstatic, actually. I can't believe this project is finally getting bound and glued!

So now we're doing the fun stuff like working on the cover and gathering blurbs. I was really lucky and got blurbs from Simmons Buntin, Alison Hawthorne Deming, and Peggy Shumaker. They were all really generous with their comments.

The cover is proving to be way tougher than I had imagined, though. Siobhan at Salmon asked me to think about cover art, and that's been really interesting, and really complex. I started reading online articles about poetry book covers, and pulling all my poetry books off the shelf to look at them. Then I spent about 4 months surfing. I have a new-found respect for graphic designers--this is really hard.

I have all these conflicting desires for the cover, which is not making it any easier. I want it to be simple and dramatic...but also emblematic of the book. And all images relating to the idea of liveaboard are not simple and dramatic...of course. It's a messy life. A real liveaboard boat does not look like our iconic vision of a sailboat--it's got power cords and piles of stuff on the dock and a bike lashed to the side, and maybe a kayak too. A part of me adores this and wants to embrace it...but I'm not sure it would make for a particularly beautiful book cover. So...I've been pretty stuck.

Last week Corey went out in the rain with our point-and-shoot wrapped in a sandwich baggie and took a bunch of photos for me. None of them were exactly right, but they did give me a brainstorm about the image I want--a bike on a dock seemed perfect. So then I spent all week surfing for that image, but couldn't find it. I must have looked at a thousand bike pictures and dock pictures and boat pictures, but couldn't find the one I wanted (but got sidetracked with a lot of really weird photos--the world is such a weird place). Thankfully, finally, another bolt of lightening hit me and I emailed our reference librarians on campus and within minutes my in-box was flooded with the sort of fantastic images I had been looking for. A shout out here to all reference librarians!

Anyway, today I narrowed those down to about 5 and sent them off to Siobhan, so we'll see what she thinks. Like working on a poem, I feel both anxious and exhilarated, both at once.

Here's my current favorite--let me know what you think.

No comments: