You are invited
to my cover reveal
February 20, 2019
My memoir reflects
the first 24 years of my life
as a Mennonite girl
Would you buy this book?
It takes a few seconds (1-2 eye-blinks) for readers to decide whether to buy a book randomly spotted in a bookstore. They scrutinize the book in one gulp: title, graphics, and color. “Does this book grab me? Is it worth my time?” they ask.
It took time . . . a long time . . to decide on a title, a photograph, font style and size, and placement of the cover elements.
I agonized over the title and sub-title. It too evolved over time. I blogged about the process!
Mennonite in Shiny Red Shoes
Coming of Age Mennonite: A Daughter’s Quest
A Mennonite Daughter’s Journey Home
A Mennonite Memoir: The Farm Mechanic’s Daughter
I was Mennonite: The Farm Mechanic’s Daughter and a Cultural Imprint
A Mennonite Daughter: Thorns and Roses
A Mennonite Daughter: Plain Girl Finds Love
The Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl
Then the struggle with A versus The.
Should I use the definite or the indefinite article? The Mennonite Daughter: A Story of a Plain Girl versus A Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl
Editor Annie Tucker stopped the fuss with her suggestion about dropping the article in the title and keeping “the” in the subtitle. Thus, the title . . .
Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl
While we were clearing out Aunt Ruthie’s house, I spotted an album with tattered pages I hadn’t seen in decades. There I found a photo of me as a 4-year-old holding a homemade doll. My white leather shoes fit into the black suede high heels I wore that day in front of a lilac bush.
I am self-publishing this book, so decisions about the content and layout fall on me. But I am fortunate to have an in-house artist. My husband Cliff created the cover, which the designers at 1106 Design tweaked.
Before the final design was approved, he made stand-up mini-posters for my desk and dresser to help inspire as I scrutinized copyedited drafts.
Inspiring Cover Reveals from Author Friends
Some beta readers
Melodie Davis, Whatever Happened to Dinner and her jazzy, fun video
Mary Sue Koeppel, her book cover on Amazon
Kathy Pooler, scroll down to see Pubslush campaign for her first memoir. Her second is in the works
Merril Smith with A Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast
Shirley Showalter with her fanfare with friends and publisher
A Developmental Editor
Susan Weidener and a book design cover for her beloved John
An Invitation to You
I would like to feature other authors’ cover reveals next week. Please contact me here or by email, so you can be included in the post. Thank you!
What’s Next: Another Photograph!
Next week the reveal continues with the back cover display, portraying me as a Mennonite teacher. Stay tuned!
“A book cover is a distillation. It is a haiku of the story.” Chip Kidd
Good morning, Marian. What a fun thing for me to see first thing in the morning. Congratulations! I LOVE the cover!!! Extend my admiration to Cliff for his work. I can’t wait to read the final version of your story. (I suppose I should say final version of this story–as I know this is only part of it.)
Thank you for the shout out for one of my books, even though I didn’t have anything to do with the cover. It was fun to look back on that old post. 🙂
You’re welcome, Merril. I thought your book cover on the BREAST would have a bit of shock value as many of my readers may not know of your work beyond the poetry you publish daily now.
I’m glad you approve of my book cover. It felt like the right fit, but one never knows. Thanks! (I’ll let Cliff know your approval.)
Love the cover and the design, Marian. I can only imagine how exciting it was for you to find that photo in the old album. So happy to see you reach this milestone. All best!
When we visited Grandma’s as children, I would hunt for that album with the carriage and find that particular photo. (The carriage scene looks so southern, now that I think of it!) Of course, in my wildest dreams I could not have imagined this picture would find a place on my book cover. You probably couldn’t imagine either as a 7th-grader that your teen-age photo would circulate worldwide on BLUSH.
Also, when I found the photo two years ago, it didn’t strike me as book cover material. Back then, I was thrilled to find the photo at last. Thanks for your good wishes, Shirley. You have followed me through many milestones in this space. 🙂
Aw…I love it, Marian! The red shoes and the title are perfect! Oh yes, I’d certainly buy it. Congratulations!
Thank you, Jill. I’m glad you approve!
The cover is perfect. It’s a sweet photo, memorable, with a title that is easy to remember. I’m glad you dropped your “the” and “a” because I swear those words cause me more confusion when I go to look for a book or a movie than anything else about the book or movie.
Good to know. I’ve dipped a bit into metadata (Whatever that is!) and wording of book titles. Actually, I didn’t drop the idea of a/the until one of my editors suggested it. Yippee for her, and me. Glad you approve, Ally!
How amazing for you to find the darling photo of you in the shoes. When I first saw your cover, I said to myself, hmmm, I bet Cliff photoshopped those shoes on you. May every author of a memoir be so blessed with such a perfect find. It was fun to watch/read each and every cover reveal you shared. We are waiting breathlessly for the final book!
Actually, the shoes are real, not photoshopped in. The original black shoes were colored red for the cover photo. Early on, I thought “red shoes” would be in the title itself, but the image sneaked in another way. I loved your own cover reveal and the trailer. You really made a splash with that. Unfortunately we were not “friends” when Whatever Happened to Dinner released.
I’m several months away from the launch. We are now just setting up interior book design. Thanks for your support all along the way, Melodie!
One more thing, love your final title, it is perfect for your book. Way to go for your editor!
I value your opinion, an editor yourself. Thanks for the thumbs up!
I absolutely love the picture you chose. It is perfect. I for one like books with a real photo on the cover. The cover turned out very well and I agree, you didn’t need an article in front of Mennonite Daughter. I look forward to seeing the back. How lucky to have Cliff to do the design. You have worked so hard on this and it is all coming together nicely.
Yes, it is coming together nicely, but so slowly. It feels like turtle speed, but I’ll get there. I wonder if publishing gets any easier after multiple books, like yours in a series.
It’s a great cover – exactly right for the book. I look forward to finding out more.
Well, Arlene, you’ll get to see the back cover next week. Not too long to wait. I’m glad you enjoy ( ! ) the buildup here – ha! Thanks for checking in today.
I love it! And those red shoes give an insight into the personality of that young child, who might turn out not to be so plain after all. That cover would definitely grab my attention and perk my curiosity! How very exciting! 👍 💖
Thanks for your vote of confidence, Fatima. You definitely have the insight to enjoy it. 🙂
Marian, I am Jan’s friend, I would love to get your book. How do I get one?
Vickie, I definitely remember meeting you at Jan’s birthday shindig. And maybe once since then. My book is not yet published. I’m hoping for late spring this year. If I do a pre-order campaign, I’ll let you know! Thanks for stopping by today. I’m glad you are enjoying this journey with me.
Do you have red shoes for your “Book Launch Event?” LMK if you need a shopping partner.
Love the cover.
If you go to my “About” page, you’ll see the shoes I now have. They still fit, but I need fancy flats now. And, yes, I will need a shopping partner. Thanks for offering! 🙂
The cover is adorable and would definitely make me pick it up at the store or click on Amazon. Congratulations again!
Thank you, Professor Mama Duck! I’m glad you approve. 🙂
Beautiful cover, Marian! I love how the red is highlighted on the shoes! Love that photo! It’s just right! So generous of you to have other cover reveals here too.
Thanks, L. Marie. The other cover reveals featured represent folks that spent hours reading and critiquing my earlier drafts, some of which were really rough. I appreciate your noticing!
Love the cover, Marian! What an exciting time this must be for you as you see all of your effort come together in book form.
You know the feeling, Linda, having published Two Hearts.
I like sharing the joy with supporters I meet here often. I’m still months away from a book launch, but “in due time” I keep telling myself . . . like the mama elephant that has to wait years for junior to be born – ha!
i like how you show the real photograph, raggedy edges and all. Do you think Mom made your dress or did this one come from E-town dress factory compliments of Great Aunt Sue? Pretty fancy as are the ruffled socks. Chose the perfect title.
Good observation, Jean! I hadn’t thought about that; it looks like mom’s style, but hard to prove either way. The skirt looks starched. I can tell you that a photo of the three sisters, all smiling with Mom’s embroidered dresses will make it into the memoir photo gallery.
Love it. And yes, even without knowing you, I’d pick it up.
Thanks, Janet. Now you know about my book inside and out. Thanks for the thumbs up here! 🙂
Love both the cover and the design and the title is just perfect. While I am not nearly as competent as you when it comes to book writing, I have dabbled with two E-books I wrote that were Kindle e-Books. Would you care to see the covers I chose to go with when I wrote them? If so, please tell me how I would go about sending the pics to you. Again, kudos to you and you and your hubby must be so proud of this achievement.
Thank you, Irwin. Of course, I would be happy to feature your book covers next week. You can send the photos to my email address. I have yours, so I will shoot an email your way.
I love it, Marian!! Especially the red shoes. And yes, as soon as it’s available, it’ll be on the top of the pile of books on my nightstand.
You do have time to read at this stage now. I’m thrilled that you would move my memoir to the top of your pile of books. You probably noticed my reference to Annie Tucker, who helped me with the title and of course the narrative structure. It’s good to see you here, Joan.
Marian, you are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing the process. It just makes me want to complete my own. The discovery of the photo of you in grown up dress shoes takes the cake. They were black shoes and you made them red for the cover! Your face looks the same as now, and the photo looks as if it’s a grown-up person in a child’s body! And I think that’s how children often feel. Absolutely I would buy it!
I almost choked up reading your line “It just makes me want to complete my own.” I’m glad we can encourage each other on this long, arduous journey, ” . . . as iron sharpens iron.”
You gave me insight into what may have been going through my mind and its reflection on my face. I think most little children wear grown-up shoes because they want to feel big. You expressed it perfectly. Thanks for the thumbs up on the cover, Elfrieda.
I love the cover. It tells a story of a little plain girl who will move toward a fancy world. Each step, each word, each image demands so much focus and finally intuition. Yes, this is it! Also faith that we’ll find the right words and image.
You have found it! Cheers first to you for all the hard work. Cheers to Cliff, your in-house designer and persistent supporter. And cheers to the beta readers. I’ve been doing more of that job with books about hospice or grief. It’s lots of work and time to do it right.
How lucky I am to have readers (you included) who approve my cover shot. We thought it was just right, but I’m not a mind reader, so it’s nice to have affirmation here.
I will pass the cheers on the Cliff. About the beta reading: The authors who have you as a beta reader are very fortunate. It’s hard work and takes skill to detect what’s wrong and how to make it better.
I’m enjoying your outdoor winter scenes on FB and take that as a sign you are doing well.
Love it and so excited for you! It’s been a long journey…and it’s not over yet! 🙂
You are right, it’s not over yet. But I got this far. Thanks for being in my cheering section, Jenn!
Love your memoir cover. Agree your red heels hint at your story. I like the title,
Mennonite Daughter: Thorns and Roses.
Best wishes for this phase and beyond.
Yes, I will certainly buy your memoir. I suspect there will be corollary between a Mennonite Daughter and a Catholic Girl’s path (especially through that time frame) despite our many differences.
Count on me to support your launch.
Audrey, thank you for affirming your support, so appreciated. I know several Mennonites who now attend Episcopal churches. I suspect they enjoy the liturgy which may be similar to yours. And, after all, Menno Simons was a Catholic priest, I believe. Thanks again!
LOVE the cover Marian – those red shoes and your smiling face is an attention grabber! And the title is perfect! Thank you for sharing this with us! Onwards!
I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! I love love love the cover and yes, even if I didn’t “know” you (and I feel like you and I are friends even though we’ve never met in person), I would be quite interested in buying this book based on the cover. You and Cliff did a fabulous job. The cover is original and simple (not too elaborate, which I think is important) and gets the message out regarding what the book is about – just perfectly. Many many many congrats. xo
Wow, Pam, what an endorsement – Thank you! You read/critique books with a sharp eye, so I take this as a high compliment. 🙂
I like your choice of the word “Onwards,” Susan. The path ahead is still a climb, but it is leading closer to the goal. Thank you for this positive thought and for loving the cover. 🙂
Hi Marian! Though I don’t know you either I am wanting to know your story from this great cover! What could be more perfect or original than an old photo that you just “happened to find” at the right time. God is so good and He has timed your journey and release…..yes, I will definitely want to read your book as I just love the old fashioned; hold that book in my hand and read to my hearts content way of reading.
Congratulations on everything you have accomplished so far! It probably won’t be your last either, just sayin’
Dear Cactus Flower, I love the title of your blog: Boot Camp has Chandeliers. And it has plenty of color too. Indeed it does. Thank you for commenting here, applauding my cover and giving me a word of prophecy, which truthfully makes me shudder. 🙂
Thank you Marian! The title comes from a dream I had many years ago when I was seriously starting my walk with the Lord and He told me to use it. You are most welcome; I can’t wait to read your book and I shared your news with my best friend Carol and she has written 2 books, this last one needing to be published; she self-published her first book. I really love it so….I have 2 great books I will be reading this year that I know of…LOL! Yes, I am also prophetic in my ministry but I am not a prophet but the Holy Spirit does use me to encourage people with that gift. Thanks for noticing the color too because I do love color and wish I could splash more color on my Blog for interest….
Thank you, new friend! I am glad you rely on the Lord for inspiration and direction. I’m glad we have this connection now.
Me too; new Friend!!!
Marian, you and Cliff have put your loving efforts into this cover, and YES, I’d buy it! I’m happy to see you’re working with 1106; my choice for assistance if I move ahead to self-publishing. Of course, like you, I’m fortunate to have a “live-in” artist. Right now, with surgery on 3/16/19, I’m only thinking about preparing myself for that and nothing else. Congratulations to you on being so near the finish line, and thanks for sharing a work of art!
Thanks for this Sherrey. Yes, you too have a live-in artist / musician / construction worker (your studio). You are on my prayer card, so prayers will ascend before, during, and after your surgery date next month.
I’ve enjoyed reading your ReaderFriends’ comments and appreciate their thoughts about enjoying the cover. I’m glad I can be a part of your success with your new career as published author. Hey, maybe we can tease your audience with just a smattering more of photos and visuals.
Yes, I am a willing partner in your teasing business. Thanks for restoring photos and creating original art ~ what a blessing!
I love the cover, Marian I have a similar photo to that except I have thrown my teddy on the floor and am wearing a scowl…I much prefer the red shoes 🙂 x
Oh, Carol. I see you smiling from your kitchen whenever you comment or I visit your blog. I can’t imagine you scowling. Whoever took the childhood picture froze an interesting moment in time. I’d love to see that photo sometime. Ha!
Oh I was definitely scowling, Marian and telling him off so I can’t guess what teddy had done…I think my mum must have that photo…Thank you so much for your nice comment about picturing me smiling that is lovely although I guess I do most of the time 🙂 x
Marian, I’m so happy you found this perfect photo for your cover. It makes me feel immediately connected to this precious little girl and her story. Of course, I know part of your story but I can’t wait to read the final version. Kudos to Cliff for his artistic talents. Congratulations! Thanks for the mention and link.
Kathy, you were my very first reader at least two years ago when my story was still a muddle. It’s come a long way since then and still needs a little more refining. I’m glad the cover chimes with your knowledge of the story. I’ll pass the kudos on to Cliff.
With all the pain of giving birth, we still insist on having our story children. 🙂
Thanks for being my compadre all the way to Hallelujah!
Congratulations on your choice of book cover! Now I can hardly wait to read your book.
Thank you, Lynn. I guess I’ll go this. No one disagrees. 🙂
And I’m glad you want to read the book too. That means it will be DONE!
Wow, Marian! I’m speechless! Well done and congratulations to you and Cliff (and the other people who provided insights). I know what a painful and long-term process it is to come up with the final title and cover. You did it! And, honestly, it’s PERFECT! The photo and design are brilliant. And, while it probably only now makes sense to you that your chosen title is the best one, as I scroll through your other versions, “Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl” is rising above and beyond all of them. Dropping the article in the main title is so to the point – short, straightforward, this is it! – and using “the” in the subtitle makes total sense as well, since it’s your story! There is only one story, hence “the” is much better than “a”.
Chapeau, as they say in French (or in Flemish dialect). What a milestone and such an achievement and it all looks and sounds so good!! I”m so excited for you and proud of you. And, yes, I would pick this book up in a book store. I just hope it will get to book stores, which might not be easy as a self-publisher. Looking forward to the back cover as well.
Liesbet, your thumbs up makes the vote unanimous; my cover is apparently a “Go.” There is so much struggle involved though. Looking back, it seems as though the process should have been easier and faster. I’ll bet you think that way too about your project.
Thanks for the “hats off” too. Yes, my high school French is kicking in – ha! About publishing, I’ll probably use IngramSpark and KDP for publishing the print and e-versions of my book. But, the decision is not final yet.
Thanks for being my partner in this exciting, exhausting adventure. We’ll both deserve PhB’s – Philosophy of BOOK. Yes?
PhB’s. Love it! Your long, exhausting road is ending, Marian! So exciting.
It’ll be a a few months yet, but this is the year!
Very soon I’ll get back to you about your offer for my manuscript, Liesbet. I have a horror of typos and other errors. 🙂
Dear Marian, Your (and Cliff’s) cover is beautiful. Thanks for giving a sneak peek.
It speaks to me of at least two things, in a roundabout way:
1. our practices can be of service to the next generation
2. listening to children and the child within us and not finding ourselves separate from this beautiful, mysterious world in which we are clearly and profoundly entangled
I love your wisdom in analyzing the title and cover. My motto has always been “Soli Deo Gloria” and my book will be a legacy to my children and the generations that follow.
It’s so good to hear from you again. Thanks, Dolores! And best wishes on your pursuit of family history as well.
The cover is wonderful. Your list of possible titles reminds me of a writing class I once took where we were supposed to come up with 25 potential titles for something we wrote. It was really interesting to get feedback from others in the class about which titles they liked.
Sheryl, welcome to my blog. And thank you for commenting, so appreciated. It’s always good to connect with fellow writers. Do visit again. In the meantime, I will check out your blog.
You’ve really nailed it! Great title and that photo is precious!
Thanks, Fiona. I value your opinion as an artist yourself!
Congratulations…I can’t wait to read it . I love the cover and like most of your readers I adore the shoes 👠. My mum used to say ‘Red shoes no knickers ‘ so sorry I don’t mean anything . I just couldn’t resist it .
You’re so funny, Cherry. That’s a compliment if I ever heard one. Of course, I’m glad you approve. ~ Marianx
In answer to your question – yes, of course I’ll buy it!. I love the cover, especially the red shoes too big for you, reminds me of myself at 3 years old, only wish I had a photo. So thrilled for you Marian, I have followed your journey for quite awhile and await the finished product. 🙂 x
You would approve, but of course! You love clothes, shoes, shopping, all of the fun stuff. Thank you for being a constant companion in this journey. Tomorrow I’ll show a link to one of your colorful covers, Debby!
Oh, thanks so much Marian. I will visit back as usual. My regular programming will resume this coming weekend! 🙂 x
Marian — I was off the grid last week and didn’t read this post. i love it, I Love It, I LOVE IT! Oh my gosh, I simply love it!
My shoes match the color of your flashy Fiat. Way to go, Laurie!
Wonderful cover Marian and so excited for you.. looking forward to doing a book promotion for the cafe and bookstore when it is available.. hugs
Thank you, Sally. It will still be a while, but I will definitely take you up on your website’s book promotion. Hugs back to you! 🙂
Would definitely enjoy reading this book!
Hi, Stevie, and welcome! I’ve seen your name in the online writer’s world, probably other blogs. Thank you for the thumbs up, so appreciated!
This will be one of my favorite books! I just know it! You are so creative, and your husband, too! Where would we be without our husbands??? You will let us know when and where and how to get a copy, won’t you? Or have you already and I missed it? Thanks for sharing your story!
Thanks for your enthusiasm, Anita! No, you haven’t missed my book. It’s taking a lot longer than I thought and probably won’t be released until early summer. What a task!
Your cover works for me AND the title! Good work. Congratulation! Mary Sue
I’m SO, SO happy to hear from you and gladly receive your approval on the title and cover. You know the story from the inside out, serving as my very first reader nearly two years ago. ()Maybe three! At the moment, I’m editing page proofs, a tedious but necessary part of the path toward finally getting published. You know the feeling. Thanks, Mary Sue!