Overwhelmed. That's how I felt when I read the "to do" list from Second Wind Publishers -- a good, well-organized list of things I needed to provide them with to make the book, well, a book. Now generally, I'm a list maker of the first magnitude. I make lists for a day's tasks, the typical grocery list, a list of places I want to visit when I can, a list of story ideas I want to explore, a list of goals for life...the list goes on.
To work my way down the list from the publisher showing how many pieces and parts I need to gather and submit, I focused not at the top (a typo-free, error-free, pitch-perfect manuscript) but with an item that falls in the middle of the list: the image for the front cover of the book. Focus may not be the best word. Obsessed might be a better choice.
If a book is judged by its cover, then what could my image say about my work? I wanted something appropriate to the setting, the feel, the style of my tale. I found a magnificently moody black and white photograph by a professional photographer that fits so well with my story. I wrote the photographer to inquire of its price for this purpose.
Suffice it to say, I also have a back-up plan. Last week, I dug through old photographs (I consider myself handy with a camera) and found the one that could work. I wonder if this is actually more appropriate given its location and the setting for my novel (coastal North Carolina). It seems to me that a potential reader would feel warmed to "recognize" the imagery on the cover. My target audience (coast lovers, readers of North Carolina writers, and history buffs) may be narrow, but its deep. Very deep. They may not feel the same seeing the professional's mystical shot I'm considering.
Should beauty win out over propriety?