Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
I’m excited to share my new book cover with you (scroll to bottom)! It’ll be released June 1, 2021. My book, Where Do You Hang Your Hammock?, debunks the myth that anxiety is the price of admission to a creative life, and is divided into five parts: Dream, Nourish, Write, Publish, and Promote. It shows writers (especially first-time authors) how to use their present-moment circumstances as stepping-stones to a successful and meaningful writing life, navigated from the inside out. My book also encourages writers and authors to rethink their ambitions (which may be fueled by the tyrannical demands of the ego) and trust in their heartfelt purpose and values in the journey to becoming, or continuing on, as authors.
Many writers believe their self-sabotaging thoughts are trustworthy and true. They take rejection personally. They surmise that if they don’t achieve their goals they’ve failed, and lose sight of who they are and what matters most.
Where Do You Hang Your Hammock? is for writers looking for inspiration and for authors daunted by the publishing process, especially those who might lack the requisite author platform to get published the way they dreamed, or whose careers may not be unfolding as expected. It aims to be the friend and trusted expert writers turn to when hijacked by their own thinking. Ultimately, it reminds authors that they are infinite creators.
I wrote this book last year, and unlike my memoir, it came easily and fast. I mined my blog, which I’d been writing over ten years, and used many posts as the basis for this book. But cataloging posts and stringing them together doesn’t make a book. There were gaping holes and redundancies, and the need to focus the project around the theme of perspective. That’s why I’m pleased with my cover, which offers the perspective of someone lying in a hammock looking up at the sky.
It took a while to arrive at this concept. At first my publisher and I both imagined at least one hammock on the cover, despite the fact that famous New York book designer Chip Kidd explicitly recommends against this design impulse in his popular TED talk, “Designing Books Is No Laughing Matter. Ok, it is.” explaining that if the word “apple” appears in the title, using the image of an apple on your cover is redundant.
After restarting due to a false first start that wasn’t hitting the mark for either me or my publisher, I received a second round of comps from a second designer. My publisher was pleased, but I was disappointed. She saw something I missed: the power of this in-the-hammock design, which was so much more subtle than some of the first designs.
We went through four rounds of tweaks. Each time they came back not quite right, I felt disheartened, but hoped it would be a matter of time until we got it “right.” I trusted my publisher, and thankfully, she trusted me, too.
In an early iteration of this cover, the hammock felt to me more like a tunnel then a hammock. This also created a sense of speed, which was the opposite of my message to slow down. I found it claustrophobic. But my publisher pointed out that a hammock is “holding,” and “cozy,” that people feel cocooned in a hammock, and as I sat with that, I began to feel it too. My hammock at home isn’t the kind that folds in around the sides, but I have a fond memory of lying in one of these (also, coincidentally, pink) on a vacation in Cancún.
The more I looked at the new design concept, the more I liked its dynamic energy, and exuberant, celebratory vibe. Sometimes you just need to sit with a new idea and let it sink in before rushing to judge it. From that point, my publisher and I tweaked fonts, as well as the texture of the hammock.
I didn’t ask a bunch of people for their opinions. I shared the comps with my daughter, husband, and one author friend. I knew that if I asked too many people I’d get multiple points of view, which might get confusing, so I kept checking in with my own inner artist.
On the day I received the final round of comps, my publisher said she liked them all. My daughter said the same. “Pick whichever one you like best,” she told me. “They’re all great.” I appreciated this response. I liked having the final say, and, as a recovering people-pleaser, I enjoyed letting go of the need to please anyone but myself!
Shout out to Elke Barter, who designed this cover. Like I said, I’m excited to share it!