When I started the process of creating my first book, Make it Happen, I knew nothing about writing books! But, with my magazine publishing background, I knew that I’d likely have some knowledge (and strong opinions) about covers.
People often judge actual books by their covers, and a great cover is one that matches the heart of the inside pages. A great cover is an honest one, like a genuine introduction from a new friend that leads to a meaningful connection.
Photo by amazing friend Gina Zeidler
The thing is, a book stays with you. Our lives evolve and grow over time, but books rarely, if ever, get updated or altered once they are published. As a writer, this can carry with it a lot of pressure. Every few years I update my website a bit to reflect the growth that has happened in my life (we even changed our company name recently). I get to share updates on what God is teaching me here on the blog over time. I get to change my words and photographs based on what’s new and where we are in our story. A book, however, remains unchanged.
So, when I began dreaming about the cover for Cultivate, I thought about the longevity I hoped it would have over time. I wanted the cover to feel like my garden: colorful, joyful, and alive. These are the same qualities I hope my garden, and my life, have many years from now, too.
After several rounds of cover designs, some of you loyal readers may remember we came up with this design below. I painted the background like I had for Make it Happen, and my publisher even released this cover to retailers (it’s still floating around on the interwebs in a few spots!). It’s beautiful, and it matched Make it Happen well.
This was a great fit… until I started over on my book.
As my life drastically changed in the season after our adoption, so did the pages of Cultivate. A new book took shape, and it needed a new home for the story that was unfolding.
I hesitantly emailed my editor with a new design I had mocked up, and told her that this book was shaping up to be so different from Make It Happen. It needed a cover that reflected this new story God was writing in my life.
This is what I sent her.
She loved it.
I love it.
We all love it!
And although it’s just the cover, it so accurately and beautifully reflects the heart of this book. The four sections of the pattern represent the four seasons. And the pattern itself reminds me of seeds, changing leaves, and little-by-little progress. It reminds me to cultivate. In every season, in the mess, in the thick of it–right where I am. The suede brown letters for the title are the color of new branches and of soil–the sustainer and nourisher of life. The foundation on which we grow new life.
Readers may not pick up on these subtleties when they first encounter the book. They may only experience the feeling of joy and a colorful life like my garden. But, as they dig in, I hope these intentional design choices make the experience of reading these pages even richer. This is a book about growing a meaningful life right where you are–in every season.
I’m so grateful to also share with you a special film I’ve been working on with Anna and Phil from Twenty-One Films for over a year now. They’ve filmed me, our family, and the garden in every season, and I cry every time I watch this. I hope it encourages you!
Friends, thank you so much for encouraging me along this book writing (and rewriting!) journey. I’m so grateful!
P.S. Catch the replay of my live broadcast on Facebook today for more behind-the-scenes of the book!