You may remember this post back in October, when I spent a week-end taking photos in a quest to come up with art for the cover of my forthcoming chapbook. It was a fun week-end: I spent Saturday taking photographs that I thought fit the theme, and then on Sunday, my spouse took a turn. The cover photo is his, and that's me in the slumped pose. I don't know if you can see it here, but the book on the counter is Tillie Olsen's Silences. That presence of that book makes me so happy, because the title of my chapbook is a nod to Olsen's short story, "I Stand Here Ironing" (hence, also, the presence of the ironing board in the photo). The china in the background is my grandmother's. The mug has the NPR logo, circa 1998 when I made the donation during a pledge drive.
I love the photo for all its symbolic richness, but I do worry that between the photo (which could be seen as having an air of despair, with the slumping woman and the dishes on the counter) and the title, I run the risk of people saying, "Ugh, what a downer; I'm not reading that." What I'm hoping, of course, is that people are intrigued, that they will say, "Why is that woman in a stand-off with the paper shredder? Why is it on the ironing board? Why is that book on the counter with the dishes? I must buy this book to find out!"
I only provided the photo; Finishing Line Press designed all the other aspects of the cover. I did choose black and white to keep the cost down (so my chapbook will cost $2 less than chapbooks printed in color). My first chapbook cost $8.95, and I've heard disbelief from some people that a chapbook would cost that much, so I decided to keep the cost down where I could.
So, even though I can't change anything at this point, I'd love to know what you think. Would you buy this book if you had no connection to me and saw it in a store or at the AWP book fair?
Phoebe Cates Friday
5 days ago