Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chapbook Rookie: Cover Art Teaser!

After AWP last week, I stayed in Chicago to spend time with my two best friends from high school, Heather and Casandra. Heather has lived in Chicago for the past five years and was preparing to move to Pittsburgh. Casandra came in for the weekend from Portland. She had been in the Peace Corp in South Africa, so neither of us had seen her in two and a half years. It was like we just saw one another yesterday. I love those kinds of friends. I'm lucky to have so many friends like that, ones I can call after months apart and we pick up right where we left off.

What I didn't realize about my decision to stay a couple extra days in Chicago was that it put me in a major crunch to get my chapbook documents to Finishing Line. I had a bunch of things to mail them by March 9th, including the cover art. Eek! 

So I got on the phone with Rose Desiano, my cover artist extraordinaire, leaving her a ridiculously long message about the deadlines. I worked on my end to finish revisions to the manuscript while Rose started revising the cover designs she made a few weeks earlier.  

When we first began, Rose asked me to search free font websites to make a list of fonts that I liked. The idea here was that fonts are a good way to bridge between the written word and visual arts. I loved this idea and happily sought out fonts I thought I'd love to have on my cover. I also told her about some general ideas I had as far as art was concerned. Earthy, movement, braiding, a little dark, messy even. When the first of the covers came back, I was surprised to find that the fonts I liked originally were not working for me anymore, but I loved where Rose began with the design. So I also spent some time in Chicago browsing through fonts again. 

Still in Chicago with my besties. Heather, who was preparing to move, also just had her second child, Sam. Hubby and first child were already in Pittsburgh, so we were there to help as much as hang. I hated being on my computer so much because I just wanted to hold Sam, but I really didn't want anything on my end to be the cause of delay. I revised my manuscript, Casandra helped me take an author photograph, and Rose toiled away over the cover.

we brought a baby to a bar. 
For dinner on Monday the three of us took Sam to a most delicious brew pub where they serve bacon fat popcorn that tastes especially delicious with their wheat beer. While there, Rose was emailing me cover designs and I was reply back on my phone with brief commentary about adjusting this or that. In one email she remarked at her surprise at the level of efficiency via email. About five or six emails and a few designs back and forth and voila! I had a cover. All while enjoying a good Belgian-style beer. And Sam did so well in the restaurant, allowing us ladies to enjoy our night out.

Tuesday in Chicago I'm preparing to leave for the airport when I get an email from Finishing Line with my production schedule. Squee! Pre-orders start May 29th and run until July 13th. My chapbook is set to arrive the week of September 8th, give or take a week or two for unexpected delays. Now I really wanted to get everything to them in time so as not to push this schedule back. 

Finishing Line typically does the design work for their authors, but since I'm a major control freak take-charge kind of lady, I opted to have Rose do the front cover artwork and the design for both the front and back. She had some final questions about what file types FLP needed, so Rose emailed the editor. On Wednesday morning, I wake up ready to print many documents, save many documents to a flash drive, and priority mail all the documents off to Kentucky when Rose forwarded an email she received from FLP. They said if we needed more time it was no problem at all. In fact, we could have all the way until June before they needed the full cover design, most likely since Rose was doing all of it. And if I needed extra time to finish my documents, that was no problem either. They said it would not affect my publication schedule at all.

*sigh*

The moral of this story, my fellow poets, is just ask. The worst that anyone can say is no. Plus, this bought Rose some extra time to really polish the design and me some extra time to make sure the manuscript is just so. This kind of flexibility with cover art and design is part of what makes working with a small press so fulfilling. Also, collaborating with a friend is even more awesome. I'm so glad Rose is making the cover! I admire her work and really love what she's created.

Speaking of the cover, it's done save for some polishing. I can't reveal the whole thing just yet, but I can share a zoomed-in square. Enjoy this little nugget. I'm so excited to reveal the full cover! So soon. Is it September yet? 

Next time on Chapbook Rookie: More Marketing! Marketing Galore! 
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