Sunday, April 20, 2008

Horse with the Golden Mane

1. Did you design the cover?
A. I told my designer what I had in mind and she submitted several drawings for us to consider. I am essentially an author .I paint word pictures, but I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler.

2. Did your publisher design the cover?
A. She did the layout after I submitted ideas on what I wanted. In particular, I wanted a picture of Red Leader because the pose was just eye catching. He is the horse with the golden mane mentioned in the cover and as the title of the book.

3. Did you get to give any input about the cover design?
A. Definitely yes. I am always open to suggestions, but because I write in different genres ,I often have to conjure up ideas on what I want the cover to “say”.

4. Is there an interesting story behind the cover design? If so, please share the details.
A. The photograph of Red was taken by my wife, Virginia. She’s not a professional photographer, but she has taken so many pictures of grandchildren she’s darn near a professional. There was only one fly in the ointment. In summer we keep a fly mask on our horses. The best shot of Red that we had was the one on the cover of The Horse with the Golden Mane and we couldn’t see his face because of the fly mask.
We submitted photos of Red’s face to the designer and she painted the face onto the body of Red. She did a passably good job of it too. I don’t mention her name because she’s gone out of business in the sense that she is doing illustrations only.

5. Who is the cover artist?
A. J.M. Williams of Ohio .

6. Are you happy with the cover?
A . Generally yes.

7. If not, what would you change and why?
A. I would have asked her to “mow” the grass in the picture of Red. Virginia snapped the shot spontaneously, never thinking it would be on the cover of the book. Of course I had not mowed the grass recently as is evident from the picture. If the designer could have shortened the grass in the cover picture, it might not be so distracting. But then, The Horse with the Golden Mane is my “baby” and I’m probably being too picky about what she wears.

8. Tell us what you think is the best part of the cover.
A. Red’s striking pose. He’s a very high-strung horse and in the picture he is standing at full alert. I cannot tell you what a thrill – and a fright – it is to be riding him when he comes to full alert and begins to blow. He’s a horse that bolted out from under me, cracked my ribs, broke my collar bone and punctured my lung so I have a deep respect for him. But in that pose, he is just magnificent.

9. Is there anything else about your cover that we need to know? Feel free to share.
A. As I have said repeatedly, covers sell books, so if a prospective writer/marketer spends money on anything, make it the cover design. Most of the people we deal with at book signings and fairs, are attracted by the cover. They look at the cover. It peaks their interest. You say a few words. They turn it over and look at the second most important part of the book . . . the rear cover.
When we started out we put reviews on the rear cover. Looked great and it boosted my ego, but readers form their own opinions and if the rear cover doe not have details about the book that interests them, they gently place it down. (Some of the kids are not so gentle.)

10. Please provide your web site link.

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