First-time author James Gibson contacted me about designing his memoir, Just a Long Walk. I asked if his manuscript was finished and if it was professionally edited.* It was not, so I suggested that he contact Andy Doty (Editwright.com) for editing and book coaching services. Andy got the project and circled back to me to design the book many months later.
*Book design starts after a manuscript is complete and professionally edited.
Gibson provided several photos for the cover. Two images had the most potential for a cover: 1) the author, loaded with his gear, on the John Muir Trail, looking into the distance; 2) Gibson’s tent set up with an orange sunlit mountain against a dark blue sky and moon. The mountain was a complementary burst of color.
Although memoirs typically have the author’s photo on the cover, this time was different—Gibson selected his tent photo. It’s an authentic, calm image that entices the reader to take a closer look and find out more.
I selected Adele from Adobe fonts, “A versatile and authoritative slab serif font family with no shortage of personality.” This type family has 30 fonts and looks good in caps, lower case, and italics. I split the title into two lines: “Just A Long” is smaller and the word “Walk” is justified with the top line. At a thumbnail size, it is clear and easy to read. The subtitle and author’s name are centered horizontally, with the title, subtitle, and author’s name spread out across three evenly spaced sections in the top, middle, and bottom of the cover.
Publishing and beyond
Gibson published through both Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark. He is actively marketing and promoting his memoir. He received two National Indie Excellence Award Finalist awards: in Best Cover Design and Motivational categories. We updated his cover with the NIEA gold emblem.
Praise from Editwright
“The author and our many team members created plenty of reasons to be proud of this book. But there’s one comment that we hear more than any other: readers LOVE this book cover! It’s clean, crisp, sharp, and professional looking, with eye-catching typography on top of an eye-catching photograph, carefully balanced so that neither element distracts from the other. This book has been flying off the shelves at bookstores, and it’s obviously due to Peggy’s design work.”
Designing his memoir was an opportunity to help make Gibson’s book a success. And it was great to team up with Andy Doty who edited and managed the project. Thanks Andy!