- Like many other historical fiction readers, I’m tired of the overuse of showing the back of a woman staring into her setting. Although I appreciate the approach in that it allows readers to envision the character as they see her through deftly written descriptions, I wanted something more original.
- In the same vein, I wanted to avoid use of a stock photo. There are a few out there which have appeared on several different covers. I think it adds to reader confusion.
- To be as authentic as possible, the visual needs to convey the time period and setting in history to pique a reader’s interest.
- Finally, I wanted to immediately imply a paired combination of women + medicine.
I am fortunate that, unlike many traditional publishers where an author has little to no say, my publisher, Black Rose Writing, an indie press, allowed me creative license to direct the cover design. Between BRW and my website designer, Author Bytes, I reviewed four options. I selected three and sent them out to my beta readers who knew Eliza’s story. Two options focused on a still-life approach using objects and one had a woman doctor facing forward. One of my readers perfectly summed up his opinions, which matched mine.
The “first one” may be recognizable to those who have been following my journey for a couple of years now. I staged it as a photo shoot two years ago with my talented friend, Marjorie Warnick. She understood the look and feel I envisioned for a novel about a woman doctor in the early 20th century. She did a fantastic job with the shoot. Then, using more feedback from beta readers, I adjusted the photo a bit more thanks to the magic touch of PhotoShop. The white gloves draped over the bag were removed to lessen the feminine items (pearls and floral arrangement are enough) and the stethoscope changed from black tubing to a worn brown look. Thanks to my medical advisor and beta reader, Dr. Eliza Lo Chin, I learned about the Bowles stethoscope which was a more common instrument in the early 1900s.
Next stop? I’ve submitted the second round of copy edits to my publisher after proofreading the 320 pages of Eliza’s story laid out in book page format. Here’s to hoping I found all the stubborn typos which managed to slip by. Just in case, a good friend with an eagle eye reviewed as well. Onward and upward in finalizing the last pieces before publication on August 25.
For more sneak previews of The Unlocked Path, check out a few of my excerpts. If you’re in a book club and would like to read the novel and have me join you for an author chat, in-person if possible or over Zoom, I’m signing folks up now through my Early Interest Form.
I invite you to follow my blog for further updates on my journey toward publishing my first historical fiction with a release scheduled for August 25, 2022 from Black Rose Writing. More information about The Unlocked Path is available on my ABOUT page. You can sign up to follow from this page with the pop-up, or send me a note through the CONTACT page and I’ll email you an invitation.
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