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.

If you take my monthly email newsletter, Back Roads, you’ve already seen this cover. On Back Roads I share a little more personally than I do here, and you get to see what I’m working on before everyone else. If you want in, sign up here.

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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

    • 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!

  3. 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.

    • 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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