25 July  2022

Anatomy of a Book Cover 

Campbell’s Boy is a story based on some research that I dug up about my family ancestry. It centers around court case records of a real event in probate court. After I uncovered it, eleven years ago, I could not cover it back up and it became a bit of an obsession. I began to write about it, using fiction as my medium.

Eight years in, I was lucky enough to visit the actual location, Colusa, California. As a writer, this is the ultimate to physically be in the place I am writing about. At that time, I took photos with my really sub-par, crappy Iphone (vintage 2015 or so).

A physical geographical feature that is integral to the story is the Sutter Buttes, a line of buttes that rise up out of nowhere on the landscape and stand alone. The buttes served as a touchstone for my main character, Emmet Campbell. I knew they had to be on the cover in some fashion. 

I started my cover vision with some sub-par, crappy photos that I took of the Sutter Buttes.

I took those, played around with photo editing and came up with a cover (of sorts).

It needed a professional eye so I sent it around to some cover designers. One of them put it quite succinctly: as it was, it looked “very 90s, like some magic mushroom poster”. I realized he was right (and I still chuckle when I think of his description.)

I connected with a cover designer who could work with what I had in mind, Hannah Linder Designs. The super talented Hannah was very patient with me as we went back and forth until it finally gelled into what I wanted. 

                                                                                                      THIS IS IT!