In 1987, LIFE magazine featured an aerial photo of the Great Peace Marchers as they trekked along a road through vast green fields of soybeans in Nebraska. Photographer Jeff Share won awards for taking this shot.
A couple of months ago, I googled Jeff and found him to be a professor at UCLA. I asked his permission to use the photo and his generous reply was, “Yes, of course, use it and any other photos on my Facebook. They are to be seen!” One of Jeff’s photos now heads this blog. And when the book comes out later this year, we will use his big green bean field photo for the cover.
To create the cover of a book is not easy. Fun, but not easy. In our case, the photo had to be reconfigured to fit the book size, 6” x 9”. Then you have to come up with a catchy but relevant title. How to tell a bookstore browser what it’s about without slathering the words all over the beautiful green fields! What about the fonts? The font sizes? Placement of words…. It’s like moving jig-saw puzzle pieces around until they fit.
One of my advisors has said that the process of choosing a book cover usually starts with a vague idea, then a clearer idea emerges (akin to first draft of writing and then subsequent drafts, hopefully each one better). Finally a designer is needed to make the image in your head into a reality.
With some help from my designer, and a little good luck, the cover of my upcoming memoir of The Great Peace March for Nuclear Disarmament will be even better than the already spectacular one I have in mind!