Book Covers and Design Questions

Last night, I sent Mindy Halleck, my Booktrope Editor and Book Manager, a fresh copy of my manuscript, A Decent Woman, for editing. I had a hard time pressing Send, though. I know my book is in her very capable and experienced hands, but I kept thinking that I should read it again to make sure I hadn’t made any dumb mistakes! I had to let that thought go. It is what it is at the moment and can be tweaked later. What made me feel better was that I found out that Mindy and I share many of the same favorite movies and books. She will get my book, I thought and she likes the Rumi quote I’ve selected for the opening page.

I’m honored to work with very talented folks–Laura Bastian is Project Manager, Jennifer Gracen is Proofreader, and Greg Simanson is the book cover designer. I find it exciting to work as a team which is so different from my everyday life since I live alone. For decades, I’ve painted alone and since 2005 when my children went off to college, I’ve written alone. As a single person, I make all my decisions and I have to say that I am loving being part of a team! I just have to keep my mind off the editing for now which isn’t hard to do with all the social media and blogging I’m doing and the web site design that will begin soon. I’m ready to work hard and do whatever I have to do to make this book the best representation of my work. I know my Team will help me make that happen.

I love the image we’re using for the book cover–Portrait d’une Negresse painted in 1800 by Marie-Guillemine Benoist, which hangs in the Louvre. I’ve always loved this painting and have wanted to use it for years. I am thrilled with all the positive response I’ve received to the painting as the book cover. It was the symbol for women’s rights at that time and also, the symbol to end racial oppression. As my protatonist, Afro-Cuban Ana Belen was a former slave, it is THE perfect image. The fact that it was painted by a woman is the icing on the cake for me.

Late last night, there was a question about the book cover type and size and the size of my name. The original version Greg showed us resonates with me. I like it very much because it resembles the block letters with which I sign my paintings. I was open to trying out a more feminine type which Greg very kindly sent us, but it didn’t work for me. A little too girly for my taste, but I am entirely open to looking at different types. We’ll see what the team thinks and what Greg comes up with. I’m sure it will be great.

So, my homework this morning was to look at my personal library in the third bedroom where I will be writing as soon as I unpack the boxes that have lined a wall for two years. The closer I get to seeing this book published, the more I am motivated to unpack the boxes and turn this room into my writing room! So, I pushed a couple of boxes over and looked at dozens of book covers and created a stack of what worked for me. The type that I seemed to gravitate toward was the more blockish types, not the script or curvy types. I agree that my name should be larger, remain in the crimson color that matches the sash around the woman’s waist, and the title should remain in white, but now size is a new concern. Should my name be the same size as the title? Should I add “a Novel” to the book cover, right under the title? I like that idea very much.

So many questions and at the end of the day, it’s all very subjective, isn’t it? Art and design are like that. There are no stead-fast rules to follow in art and I’m not well-versed in design. You either love or hate a book cover and if you don’t like the image, you might love the title or the short synopsis on the back cover. But, the book cover is what draws you to that book in the first place! The book cover is so important, but I can’t please all my readers, however. I think my Team and I will come up with the perfect book cover. I’m going with my gut and hope my team members agree because now I have to contact my friend Janet about creating my new author website. More design questions! My editor’s idea of using the same colors in the image of the painting/book cover in my website is spot on. Raw sienna or parchment, crimson and black would look great along with the same type as the title on the book cover.

Decisions, decisions. These types of decisions, I can live with and enjoy!



Published by

Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born, Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the award-winning, historical novel, A DECENT WOMAN, published by Sixth Street River Press. The book is a Finalist in the 2016 International Latino Book Award with Latino Literacy Now, and was Book of the Month with Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. She is featured in the award-winning anthology, Latino Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani. Eleanor is currently working on her second book, The Laments, set in 1927 Puerto Rico. Eleanor is a writer, artist, photographer, and blogger, who is never without a pen, notebook, and her camera. Her wonderful adult children are doing wonderful things in the world, which allows Eleanor the blessing of writing full time. Please visit Eleanor at her website:

4 thoughts on “Book Covers and Design Questions”

  1. Your articles on writing are really encouraging! I’m excited to be able to follow your progress. Documenting your journey helps remove some of the little fears that keep needling me. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m very happy to welcome you and look forward to keeping up with you, as well! I’m 56 years old and fear is a thing of the past, this happens as we age! LOL!

      1. I’m not far behind you! I’m in my 40’s. You are helping demystify the publishing world. Most of what I’ve read about the subject involves mountains of rejection letters for the authors. I think that is what I’m fearing. I like that you are sharing the positive side!

  2. Oh, I got those, too 🙂 In my previous blog, I wrote about the ups and downs of query letter rejections, but this is a new blog for a new year and a new path! Thank you for your kind comments and keep putting one foot in front of another!

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