Threadgold Press – lessons learnt

[This is a moan, so feel free to jump to pictures at the end]

One of the privileges of being your own publisher is being able to choose your own book cover. Over the last month I have really concentrated on this (actually since April, if I’m honest). Ignoring the Really Good Advice to pay for professional work, I have become intimate with the foibles of InDesign; my numerous attempts to create a cover now run to over 50 files.

I am exhausted and depressed, I have used up all my credit with my nearest and dearest, the garden is untended, the vegetable plot a riot of weeds and my in-tray is overflowing. Each night I have new ideas and each morning I start again expecting the perfect cover to appear under my hands. But it hasn’t, and I am now finally ready to compromise. My daughter, Amy, has produced something better than any of the ones I attempted and while I still feel, churlishly, that it is not what I had in mind, it is simple and beautiful and I need to stop NOW.

So here are a few more rejected designs (and they are not the weirdest):

BL cover tests29.pr BL cover tests32.pr - Version 3 BL cover tests26.pr BL cover tests21.pr

That’s enough amateur graphics. Here are some lilies (smelling heavenly) and hydrangeas to finish with. Tomorrow, I will pick beans and weed the veg bed.

DSCN6205 DSCN6202 DSCN6201 DSCN6199I’ve been Lindy Hopping this evening, so I feel more human.

 

24 thoughts on “Threadgold Press – lessons learnt

  1. If it makes you feel any better, Hilary, when I was thinking of self-publishing I sought input from “a professional” designer. It was crap, total rubbish. Money straight down the drain. Of course I didn’t do to the top-of-the-line, as there was no way I could afford it; but I came up with several designs I liked better than that “professional” company’s.

    • This is comforting. I couldn’t afford top-of-the-line design either. I have a foolish habit of consulting others about individual designs and consensus there ain’t. I must just get brave and decide – and stop being so picky.

      • …and realise that a book will not sell because it has a wonderful cover. Take mine, she said sadly.

      • Books don’t sell without an expensive marketing campaign, but word of mouth is the next best thing. I have a copy of your book and I bought it because people who’d read it said it was wonderful, moving, funny and unique. I’d be thrilled to get reviews half as good as yours.

  2. Hilary, I am in book cover contemplation stage.I’m really not a graphic designer and after reading your 50 files plus attempts at creating your book cover, you’ve convinced me to source out. Now the question is who to? M-R’s experience is not encouraging. Lucky you to have your Amy. 🙂
    Your lilies do smell heavenly!

  3. Don’t judge a book by its cover! Look, I know it is important but not that important. Keep it simple. I would never pick a book for its loud or intrusive cover, in fact, probably avoid it.
    Make a choice and avoid vaclilating (like I often do)..
    I wish I was at a stage of publishing a book and making a choice of a cover.

  4. Designers are over-rated. We hired one to do a flat we had bought. The builders gutted it and we agreed a fee with the designer. Number 1 never turned up. Number 2 was so bad we fired her. She was slow and couldn’t work with the contractors. She had ideas for a luxury mansion when we had bought a 1220 sf flat to let out. She designed a ritzy bath to be custom made. I asked whether it would fit in the lift to go up to the 26th floor. She hadn’t thought of that. Off with her head. Mrs. Ha project managed through to completion. Perfect. I see no reason why book covers should be different. I never judge a book by its cover 🙂 DIY.

    • Hmm, I can relate to this. We have extended our house three times (we’ve lived in it for VERY long time), each time we hired an architect, and they did come up with some great ideas, but also some wild, expensive schemes. I am committedly DIY, so I tended to work things out with the builders most of the time. As a sculptor, making very big work in a second-floor studio, I learned early on to design with doorways and stairs in mind. However, I do think graphic designers have hidden skills.

    • I’m not sure my time has any monetary value. I’ve never created much wealth, but I’m a dab hand at not spending it by doing things – any things (re-covering sofas, making clothes, building brick paths, extending, instead of moving, house) – myself.

  5. You are very good at what you do. But as you say yourself you are a dab hand at not spending money by doing things yourself. The money we save has as much value as the money we earn even if we don’t spend time putting a figure on it and can’t take it in sacks to the bank.

  6. My brother Tom did graphics I think the typography is as important as any picture you go with, he spent a long time learning about that part of graphic design. I think he got 100% in his exam and they kept his books for a long time 🙂

  7. I don’t know, Hilary… You mention depression (albeit a moaning session) but it appears that is a “symptom” of wonderful writers. On the other hand, I am NOT a writer BUT I am depressed! 🙂

    These covers… I had no idea of their importance. What intrigues me is the title but perhaps that is because I am into more history than anything else. I hope you daughter’s design got you off home plate and into your beautiful garden. Very colorful photos!

    • Thanks, Koji, I hope the depression is temporary, the world news does not help. Border Line will not be historical, the borders in it are those of Slovenia and mental health. I am very lucky in my daughters, who both help their often troublesome mother.

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