I met Corinne Richardson at a St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA) “networking-blitz” meeting in December 2005. When she looked at my business card, she recognized the name, “Kodner,” and then we discovered we also had a mutual friend. She said, “I’m writing a book, and I’d like you to design it when it’s ready.” Several months later, she contacted me with her edited manuscript for Dressing Nifty After Fifty.
Corinne gave me a huge vote of confidence! Although I had years of graphic design experience, at the time, I had designed only one other book. This was a great opportunity to learn about self-publishing and produce a “show-off” portfolio piece.
Corinne was former attorney and as sharp as a tack! I sent her an estimate to review and sign, and she sent me copyright and release contracts to seal the deal. She decided early on that she would self-publish her book through Lightning Source, a digital printing company owned by Ingram, an international book distributor.
She was very well read and a thorough researcher. She followed Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual to a T! The back cover of Dressing Nifty After Fifty had to be formatted exactly like Poynter’s example, and she solicited more than sixteen testimonials. Prior to publishing her book, I helped her produce an advance reading copy (ARC), with a plain cover stamped with the words, “Uncorrected Page Proofs,” to send to the media.
Corinne hired illustrator, Shelley Dieterichs, to create drawings for each chapter and a set of mini icons. She loved red and black and requested a fat red border with Shelley’s icons for the cover. She had strong opinions about typefaces as well, choosing Bookman Old Style in a large point size for the interior pages. She said her target audience was older women, but she also had macular degeneration. (You learn a lot about a person when you design a book!) When we completed Dressing Nifty After Fifty, I designed her business cards and bookmarks and website graphics.
We lived in the same neighborhood, and since she preferred not to drive at night, I drove her to SLPA meetings. That’s when we really got to know each other.
Fast forward to 2013. Corinne called me with a new project—a book called Coping While Hoping for Better Health. At the beginning of this book, she wrote a personal note, describing her diagnosis of cancer in 2011. “All my life I have been a rock-bottom survivor, using all manner of coping skills,” she wrote. She was in remission and determined to see this book completed. Coping While Hoping for Better Health was published in June 2014.
Sadly, Corinne died in January 2015. I didn’t have an opportunity to say goodbye, which I sincerely regret. I learned so many things from her; and I know I will always remember her self-confidence, strength, and sense of humor. She was a good friend, and I will miss her.