Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Cover Revealed!

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?

10 comments:

Jim Murdoch said...

I like the cover. I have my doubts whether many potential readers will ask any of the questions you think they might on first viewing. I certainly didn’t. In fact my first thought was – bear in mind that the photo is quite small – She’s not standing. Once I clicked on it I saw that you were. But the only thing that jumped out at me was the clogged shredder. I like the kitchen-sink-realism of the picture but it is a little cluttered. And that’s fine because once the book’s been bought it can be just as entertaining to study the cover. A bonus if you like. In some respects the picture doesn’t go with what I would imagine most people would think about when they hear the words, “I Stand Here Shredding Documents,” because when I first heard the title I thought about a business setting. Incongruity is good though. It piques interest.

Kathleen said...

Wonderful clutter. As Jim suggests, I would want to study this up close and continue to discover details. I caught the allusion in the title right away, so that helped me accept a shredder on an ironing board. To me, the cover makes me think the poems might engage with the feminist tradition of women handling everything, domestic and business life and art, encountering frustration, and meeting the challenge.

Shefali Shah Choksi said...

I agree; the clutter reinforces realism, and reflects the nature of women's work. I think a lot of people (men and women) would recognize the condition of the exhausted woman, crockery, and clogged shredder.
I know I'd buy it!

Karen J. Weyant said...

Great Cover! Can't wait for your book.

January said...

Congrats on the book cover. Can't wait to read it, too.

Sandy Longhorn said...

It's wonderful! And I love that it's your face that is half-hidden by the exhausted arms we focus on first, the arms and the shredder. Awesome!

Jeannine said...

I like it too, and the juxtaposition of ironing/shredding documents just makes that connection between this and "I stand here ironing."

Susan Rich said...

Wonderful -- and don't forget to give the two minute warning! I've also been part of a reading that did have a program -- I think it really helped give a shape to the evening.

Kristin said...

Thanks, everyone, for commenting! And thanks for your support and encouragement.

Diane Lockward said...

It's a wonderful, evocative cover. I like it when the cover says something about the poems inside. And I prefer downers to uppers.