Catherine’s War

Several months ago I was recruited, by my editor friend Karen, to work on a book project. Originally, I was just recruited to design the cover (Karen was doing the interior). Actually, originally, I just recruited to consult on exporting a Word document to an epub file. I tested some things out and never got anything resembling a clean epub file. Anyone out there who knows how to convert a Word document into an epub that doesn’t look like a WYSIWYG editor threw-up after a long night on the town let me know. . . actually don’t, I don’t want to know that bad.

Anyway, I was asked to design a cover for this book. The author, Denise, and I discussed ideas for a few days before I started. Her first thoughts were about train stations and long goodbyes, but after talking to some friends she moved on to train tracks and misty-ness and most importantly black and white—they had convinced her that the train station wouldn’t have the same impact as tracks. So I gave her these concepts:

And as is usual she sent back feedback for me to move forward. She liked this part of one, that part of another—she wanted a different feel. I could tell none of them wowed her. Then I spoke to Karen. Karen was surprised the concepts weren’t all of train stations. Karen, the editor of the book, was the one person who knew the book almost as well as the author. So I did some more work and sent an email back to Denise with the subject “Not to muddy the waters…”


Her response was “Omg, omg, omg. One of these images just made me gasp aloud.” It was the first one. We then spent an evening discussing what she liked about it and how it was so full of hope and the sun shining through was exactly what she wanted—to which I told her “I know something you don’t know. . . that image looks even better in color.” And from then on with very little alteration we had our cover.

Catherines War Cover
I’m sure there’s some lesson here about going with your first instincts, or trusting your designer more than you trust your friends, but really it’s just how the design process goes—when you let your designer in great things can happen, if you keep them at a clinical distance it’s harder for them to get a sense of who you are.

4 thoughts to “Catherine’s War”

  1. And trusting you was by far the best decision I ever made!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You work magic, and I would recommend you to anyone.

  2. I met Denise and Karen at the St. Louis Publisher’s Association meeting when they were considering what to content to write for the back cover. They were both amazing and I was so happy to see the finished product in August. The cover is AMAZING. You did an outstanding job and hope we can work together in the future!

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