The cover of my next book, A Place to Start

I’m making slow but solid progress toward publishing my new book of stories and essays, A Place to Start. I’ve collected the best of my writing from this blog’s first two years, 2007 and 2008, and edited and sometimes rewrote it to make it better. I’ve also added photographs throughout, many of which I’ve never shared before!

I plan to release the book soon in print, Kindle, and PDF. I’m trying to figure out access for other e-readers, and I’m also thinking about recording it as an audiobook.

Every book needs a cover, and here’s the one I designed for A Place to Start.

I wanted the cover to stand out, so I used bold, golden letters on a textured brick-red background. I’m a bit of a typography geek, so I cycled through a whole bunch of fonts before I settled on this one: Berlin Sans. It’s a friendly font — I didn’t want something stuffy — but heavy enough to draw attention.

I’ve titled the book after this post I wrote about my first apartment. The photograph is me, aged 22, leaving that apartment one workday morning. My longtime friend Kathy had come to visit, and I would drop her at the airport on my way to the office. She made this photograph.

Side note: I’m amused to see how formally I dressed for my job in a software company. Our industry has always dressed more casually than the rest of the white-collar working world. But 30 years ago it was still common to wear slacks, a dress shirt, a tie, and a sport coat. We defied convention by skipping the tie and the coat! Today, T-shirts and jeans are normal. I am sometimes accused of being overdressed for the office because I pair a button-down sport shirt with my Levi’s.

Anyway, I’m working to release the book in November on paper, for Kindle, and in PDF. Stay tuned! I’m excited to put my stories into your hands.

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26 responses to “The cover of my next book, A Place to Start

  1. Vieja Casa Nueva Avatar

    I love the idea! And the cover looks great!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Why thank you!

  2. yuri rasin Avatar

    Nice work Jim! Good luck with finishing the book!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Yuri! I solved one problem today with the production of the Kindle edition so I’m feeling good.

  3. Kurt Ingham Avatar

    Glad to see you are using USC (University of Southern Calif.) colors on your cover. I attended both UCLA and USC so I am able to take any position I feel like on the rivalry

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I did? zOMG. You realize of course I grew up in South Bend, home of Notre Dame, and USC was our mortal enemy.

  4. Aly's Vintage Camera Alley Avatar

    Exciting! Will this have your camera reviews in it?
    I’ve been working on a photo book. I’m nervous to release it though lol

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      This book is just stories and essays, no cameras, not really. Here are a couple stories I’ve put in the book:

      Maybe someday I’ll publish a book of my camera reviews!

      It’s fun to publish photo books! I’ve done two; click the Books link in the menu bar. They’ve sold maybe a dozen or so copies each, which was disappointing. But it was still fun overall to make them!

      1. Aly's Vintage Camera Alley Avatar

        I didn’t know you had other books out. I’ll check them out. I definitely hope you do a book of your reviews one day. It would be a good reference book as well. There aren’t many of those out there anymore for film cameras.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Mike Eckman’s the one who should publish the book. That dude will shoot anything! And he does comprehensive histories. Everything you ever wanted to know.

          1. Aly's Vintage Camera Alley Avatar

            That’s true lol you both should

  5. analogphotobug Avatar

    Looking forward to this. And it’s given me a great idea for my @emulsive secret santa…….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Excellent! Wish me luck finishing the final details. They’re …so boring!!

  6. M.B. Henry Avatar

    A great title -and the cover looks fantastic!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! Here’s hoping I can power through the last details and get this thing out there.

      1. M.B. Henry Avatar

        Ahhh book writing. So much fun, so many headaches :)

  7. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Nice design, Jim. I’m also a graphic, print production, and logo designer next to developing WordPress themes. I’d want to get creative with the top right corner using the warp tool to create a slight curl or bend up away from the red. And I’d also want to move the white border further up under the TO STA portion of text and give the lower THE a little more overlap. My two cents.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Daniel, thank you for the tips! As you can see I have some design ability and sensibility, but I’ve not focused on it for a couple decades at least and the tools have all either changed or evolved. I did this in Photoshop, the tool I have — and a tool I don’t know beyond the dozen things I do in it all the time.

      My vision for this was to have a corner of the central image bent a little, and the whole image looking a little scuffed and worn, as if it were in a drawer since 1990. I have no idea how to do any of that! When I got the cover to this state I decided I’d just be satisfied and move on.

      However, I will play with the Warp tool and see what I can make happen with that top right corner. I’ll also play around with the text/image overlap as you suggest. Thank you!

      1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

        Jim, try masking over a texture that resembles the old look you want then blend the layers with Multiply or another blend mode. Then use the paint brush to paint it from the Mask where you want it to show. Use a softened edge brush to pulling in the texture over top. Then use another layer to imply cracks or weather image, then use a yellow orange layer to change the color of the texture below and change the opacity to bring in just a bit of that old faded yellow appearance. You could skip the color layer and add these kinds of textures from this search:

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          This is incredibly helpful. It saves me hours of Googling and trial/error. Thank you! I will set aside a little time to try this.

          1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

            If you watch my texturing video, I cover some of those concepts while using Affinity Photo.

        2. Jim Grey Avatar

          I’ll see what I can do. I have a long list of things to accomplish before launch and I’m bound and determined to release in November — alongside working full time and writing in the blog six days a week. I’m stretched a little thin!

  8. Sam Avatar

    It looks like another awesome book Jim! I should be getting this!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Watch this space for an announcement when I publish it!

  9. Jerome Avatar

    Jim, how are you handling publishing, self or standard? I’m trying to finish up a manuscript (not photography) and can’t decide if I should self publish.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m self publishing. I’ll make it available on Amazon using KDP, and on IngramSpark.

      I have no idea how to get the attention of a traditional publisher. I’m not sure I care to try. It’s interesting to figure out how to self publish and market it on my own. I’m very curious to see how it turns out!

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