This morning as I brushed my teeth,I thought about two things that seem unrelated: My eyeglasses and the cover of my novel, A Ship of Peal. Both uncharted waters for me. I really didn’t know what I was doing with either decision.
I got my eyeglasses this summer. They are the first pair that I wear all the time. I have a long, narrow face, with one ear a bit lower than the other. I’m inept at picking out sunglasses. I almost always look like a little girl with her mother’s glasses perched on her nose, slightly askew. I needed help and I was prepared to ask for it.
“I think you’ll like the progressives,” Dr. Eyes said. “I just got some for myself, and I like them so much better than looking for my reading glasses.” Really? Dr. Eyes seems like she’s barely thirty. She needs reading glasses?
I confessed to Mary, the technician, that I needed help.
“No problem,” she said. “We’ll pick out a few pairs together, and then have a fashion show.
We picked out four moderately priced frames. Some in neutral tones, some with colors. Some rounded some square, some rectangular.
“Hmmm,” Mary said, with her head cocked to one side. “I think a slight upturn toward the temples looks good on you. Don’t you agree.”
I never even noticed the difference until she pointed it out to me. We took the frames to the desk where I tried on one pair after another for the six people who worked there and a few people in the waiting area. Everyone helped me narrowed the choice down to two, leaving the final decision to me alone.
I like them. I never want to take them off. They are so comfy. I splurged and got the transition lenses, so I have sunglasses when I need them.
That’s not the best part. Everyone compliments me on my glasses. Ann Garvin, who I met at Chicago Writers Conference, asked me to identify the designer. They are not designer frames, just middle of my price-range frames.. Yesterday, a gentleman at the Pancake Breakfast fundraiser, told me how much he liked my glasses.
I would never have this exquisite pleasure if not for the trust I put in Mary and the rest of the people at Dr. Eye’s office.
So what does that have to do with my book cover?
I knew I had to get a beautiful cover. One that grabs the reader. One that gives readers a hint to the type of story they will find inside. I knew it needed to be simple, and beautiful. I had no clue how to get there.
So I asked for help. I crowd-sourced on Facebook. That’s how I I found Chad Green. He pointed me to some of his work, and I fell in love with the play bill he created for To KIll a Mockingbird. Chad asked me some questions about the color of the mood I want to set. Clueless here. “How about if I send you a chapter?” I offered.
Chad created a draft. I consulted my crowd again. “What emotion does this evoke?” I asked.
“Tender,” “Nostalgic,” “I want to know more.” And this, “The kerning needs to be tightened between the S and the h.” I passed this last one along to Chad. I knew what she meant, but I never would have noticed without her input. It was like Mary’s comment about the upturn.
A Ship of Pearl is on Amazon, it’s in bookstores and libraries, and I sell it at events. I love seeing A Ship of Pearl in someone’s hands. Lovely Reader strokes the cover with an open palm, not unlike the way someone pets a cat or caresses a baby. The book gets gently turned over, “I love Queen Anne’s Lace.” And a deeper look at the short book description and the book blurbs. “The cover is beautiful,” I hear. “This is something I want to read.”
“Thank you,” I reply with all the pride of a new mother. And then I tell them who the father is.