Birthing My Book, part V

Judging a Book By Its Cover They say that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do it, don’t we? It’s not dissimilar from buying a bottle of wine based on how attractive we find the label.

One of the benefits of publishing with She Writes Press is that they hire an artist to design my book cover. About a month ago, I received three possible covers the designer created. When I looked at each one, I shrugged my shoulders with a lack of enthusiasm. We tweaked and finessed two of the options—which made them more palatable—and then I sent those to a small group of friends to get their feedback. No one was very excited by either one. A few weeks had passed and I felt no closer to a cover than when we first started.

I talked with my publisher who explained why it‘s challenging to find an image for my cover. We have to find an image that tells the potential reader what the book is about. My book tackles some issues that are hard to capture visually: Disability, abortion, and acceptance. How does one depict those in single image?

I sent the designer an image that I thought would work and she created some beautiful covers based on that picture, but ultimately, they were all on the dark side (read “downer”). Another week passed and we were no closer to a cover. I was getting frustrated. How do I capture the essence of my book in one single image?

The publisher suggested we start with a new designer. Within a few days she sent me her first attempt. When I opened the email, I gasped. In a good way. It needed only a few small changes for it to feel just right. Woohoo! I had my cover image.

But then my publisher said the title didn’t fit the cover anymore. Pregnant Pause, A Memoir of Acceptance, had been my working title for three years. I was quite attached to that title. I was resistant to change.

I was in the midst of editing my book and then I found myself having to come up with a new title. I like to think I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal, but these set-backs were draining me. Was this some kind of sign from the Universe to stop publishing? Or perhaps I was being tested: How much do you want this, Colleen?

Ultimately, these setbacks and challenges reinforced my desire to publish.  So I sat down with myself for a brainstorming session to come up with a new title. It took a few hours, but I finally landed on one that actually works far better than my working title.  The new title of my book is A Leg To Stand On: An amputee’s walk into motherhood.

How do you respond to challenges and set backs? Do they inspire you or defeat you? What keeps you going? Is there a challenge in your life right now? How does that challenge fit into your overall view of life?