I love to know how things are made, whether we’re talking about sidewalks or lesson plans or pencils, so I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that I’m fascinated by behind-the-scenes looks at anything to do with publishing.
I know it’s not just me: this is a community that loves to know how books are made, and so today I’m delighted to share a little bit about how the book cover for my next book Don’t Overthink It came together.
I’ve heard from other authors and publishers that every cover—and its design process—is different. Some designs come quickly and easily; for others it’s a long, slow road. My cover for Reading People went through dozens of iterations before we arrived at the final version. I’d Rather Be Reading was relatively simple, because we knew from the beginning that the cover would be an illustration of my home library.
As a starting point for Don’t Overthink It, I asked for something that felt calm and cheerful, and that wouldn’t look jarring next to my other covers, as they’re often sold together in bookstores and online. These conversations began months before my manuscript deadline.
I saw the first designs for Don’t Overthink It last April. My brilliant designer Patti Brinks, who designed my two previous covers, presented me with three initial ideas drawn straight from the text. Here they are.
Patti told me this design was drawn from a story I tell in the first chapter of the book, one she said she related to. It’s fun, colorful, and happy, and she liked that the design team got the concept without having read the story. I loved her idea to do the raindrops and text in a soft silver metallic ink.
2. Paint swatches
I tell a story—okay, two stories—involving paint in the book, and Patti drew on that idea for this design. She said everyone on the team could point to a time when they were trying to figure out what color to choose and just couldn’t stop obsessing about it. She liked how simple and calming this design felt, along with its use of negative space, plus the hand-done type made it feel more personal.
I liked this—and I especially liked the title font—but it didn’t “pop” the way I’d hoped.
3. Grocery cart flowers
This is the final book cover and not the first version Patti showed me, because the two are so similar I fear sharing the draft will only create confusion. For this design, Patti drew from a story I tell in chapter 13. (Listen to me read that chapter here.) She said, “I showed this design to the group and every women in the room “got” this concept immediately. Every one of us has put those flowers in our cart walked around the store, put them back, walked around the store some more, asked ourselves if we really need those flowers, purchased them and then felt guilty. This is a fun and pretty way of telling us to stop overthinking it.”
With this cover, it was love at first sight—but then we did lots of due diligence. I showed it to my team, plus a slew of friends and fellow writers. My publisher and I discussed the idea of a pink cover at length, and then we endlessly debated the exact wording of the subtitle. In the end, it felt right for the book.
I love it, and I can’t wait for you to hold Don’t Overthink It in your hands come March 3!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the design process and judging books by their covers in comments.
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If you’re considering buying the book, it helps me so much if you preorder. No matter where you preorder—from your favorite online or offline retailer, from the Page 1 Books Spring Book Club bundle, or a signed copy from my local indie Carmichael’s Bookstore—your early purchase helps spread the word to media, industry reviewers, and your fellow readers, and directly impacts how many copies will be printed.
As an added enticement, I worked with my publisher to create these fantastic preorder bonuses for you. I think you’ll get a lot of value out of these bonuses. To claim your bonuses, take your receipt and visit overthinkbook.com.
If you’ve purchased a ticket to one of my book tour events that includes a copy of Don’t Overthink It—yes, please claim your bonuses. I can’t wait to meet you in person.
If you’ve already preordered, thank you so much! It means the world to me.
I learned so much in the process of writing this book, and I’m eager for you to read it. It won’t be long now!