That First Glimpse
by Christina Freeburn
Anticipation. Nervousness. Excitement. A little bit of fear. All of these emotions tumble through me when it’s the first time to see my book cover. It’s like a child sneaking toward the Christmas tree, peeking with one eye open as they hope and fear at the same time about what Santa left. Will it be the Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, or a pink bunny suit made by Aunt Clara.
I’ve been seeing the book for about a year or longer on my computer and paper, but it’s been just words. No pictures. The only images of the book are the words that I’ve written: dialogue, description, how I’ve structured the plot. It’s all been me (and the suggestion of my wonderful editor) to show the story to the reader. But soon, the cover will arrive in my inbox and it will no longer only be about how I see it, but how the cover artist envisioned the book through my description of it.
Was I able to convey all the emotions and theme of the book adequately? Will my book look the way I’ve started to imagine it? Or will it be completely different? I had filled out a cover art sheet listing all the important elements in the book and what I think should be portrayed to the reader. The location: small town West Virginia. The mood of the book: for Framed to Death an optimistic, lighthearted tone coupled with a serious community issue. Which one (or ones) will the cover artist choose as being the stronger focal point to really show the story and will work best on a cover?
Being a scrapbooker, I’ve learned that less is often times more when it comes to design layout. When I started scrapbooking, I’d include every possible picture of an event (even if it meant cutting them into weird shapes), and layer on stickers and die cuts to fill all spot available. I would make sure to leave some room for some journaling so I could tell (more times than not retelling) what the pictures portrayed. After a few years, I realized I was overpowering the photographs with too many extras so I streamlined the amount of embellishments I put on the page, and chose the best pictures that showed the heart of the memory, and what I wanted myself and my family to remember about the event.
When the email pops with the subject line cover draft, I prepare for my first glimpse. All open programs are closed. I set my cell phone to vibrate and move it to the work station behind me. I don’t want anything distracting me from taking in the moment of that first look at my book. For me, it’s like meeting someone for the first time and I want to give my undivided attention. With one eye closed and the other opened a tiny bit, I click on the email and enlarge the attachment. Once I know the cover is full size on the monitor, I open my eyes. There it is. My book! A picture of my book!
The moment I saw Framed to Death, the first words that pop into my mind are: “I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it.” (It was during December so I was in the middle of my holiday movie binging season and I had just got done watching Elf.) The colors fit the fall season that book takes place and I love the frame chosen for the focal picture. It shows an element of the story without revealing it. I’d gush more about the new cover but I’m afraid I might give part of the plot away.
Framed to Death, the fourth book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series, will be released on April 26, 2016. The other books in the series are Cropped to Death, Designed to Death, and Embellished to Death.
Christina Freeburn served in the US Army JAG Corps and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. The Scrap This Mystery Series (Cropped to Death, Designed to Death, Embellished to Death and forthcoming Framed to Death) brings together her love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. She's working on future books in the Faith Hunter Scrap This mystery series published by Henery Press. Christina blogs at www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com where she chats about books, especially heroines and holiday themed stories, crafting, writing, and new hobbies she’s exploring