Pat De Caro’s Bookcover

My publisher asked me to provide an image and give them some input into the design of my book cover. The moment they asked, I felt burdened and exasperated by the request. I was tired and pregnant and ready to be done with the project. But I had promised myself to follow through until the end and so I tried to look upon this unexpected task as an opportunity. After all, complaints about not having input into cover art are a familiar kind of complaints about publishers. What to do?

I called my mom.

I knew what I did not want: no image of Woolf and nothing too girly. So many feminist books end up clad in pink and purple with flowery script. I wanted the book to look strong, intelligent, but not confrontational. After a few minutes, she suggested I use the Pat De Caro print she gave me a few years ago. “Quietude” has hung in our home for years. Pat is a Seattle artist and a dog-walking friend of my mother’s. The print of hers I have is a lovely one of a young woman with bobbed hair sitting alone in a bedroom, reading. It’s simple, quiet, unsentimental, with a really lovely Bloomsbury feel to it. Perfect!

I took the print down off the wall and carried it into Manhattan on the train. The good folks at the frame shop in Columbus Circle took it apart for me and I got it scanned at Kinko’s. The framers put it back together, free of charge, and I was on my way.

My publisher accepted my ban of pink and purple and chose a lovely chocolate brown and oatmeal with silver accents. They even made the back cover and flap into a darker detail of the image in chocolate and pale chocolate so you can see the woman echoed from behind the blurbs.

One totally unequivocal good of my book is the cover, thanks to my mother and Pat De Caro. Hurrah!