My readers will know that I’m working toward the publication of Hidden Traps: A Writer’s Guide to Protecting Your Online Platform, due to be released August 2017. It’s been an interesting journey: revisiting my nonfiction writing roots; learning about ISBNs and publishing options; and devising marketing strategies. It has definitely been a steep learning curve. I have learnt many things along this journey, topics of which will become future blog posts, but there is one aspect that I thought was perfect to reveal now.
Graphic designers think in images.
Looking back at it now, it seems so logical, but at the time that I commissioned the cover for Hidden Traps, it was a concept that completely eluded me. I’m a writer and editor. I spend so much of my time looking at how to craft that perfect sentence to convey the right picture. I’ve commissioned artwork before, providing only a line from my stories and getting the perfect image in return. Surely, I can do the same for a cover.
I’ll hang my head in shame now, because clearly my words weren’t enough.
During the initial contract specifications, I said that I wanted a woman clinging to a rope with fear on her face, with the rope intertwined with the title. I mentioned that the book was lighthearted. Well, the image that I got back would have been perfect for a thriller or murder mystery. For a nonfiction that is frank and filled with little quips, it was a disaster.
Enter a good friend of mine who has been working with graphic designers for a long time. “Sweety, you might be a really good editor for written works, and your stories are awesome, but words don’t work when talking to graphic designers.” She knew exactly what it was that I had envisioned — she’s a another writer, so words work with her. So, she pulled a few random elements together and told me to send my graphic designer this:
“Just trust me. Send the image.”
Skeptical, I did as I was told. However, I did add a few words to my comments, reiterating that I wanted a custom image and not stock photography.
I was amazed with the result. I never expected that something so primitive would result in brilliance. Now I know. The cover image that was sent in the second revision is in the final version. It was only little tweaks here and there that were needed.
Since then, I’ve learnt that if revisions are needed, you need to mark them on the image itself. Like this:
Like I said, this realisation that graphic designers are visual people seems so logical. However, writers don’t necessarily think that way.
If you commission a graphic designer for your own covers (and I seriously hope you are if you are self-publishing), ensure that you communicate with them via images. It will make revisions much easier.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017