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
We went through many rounds of designs to get to the right fit for Make it Happen, and just as many for my upcoming book, Cultivate.
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!
Cultivate from Twenty-One Films on Vimeo.
Friends, thank you so much for encouraging me along this book writing (and rewriting!) journey. I’m so grateful!
Pre-order your copy of Cultivate (releases June 27th) here!
P.S. Catch the replay of my live broadcast on Facebook today for more behind-the-scenes of the book!
That video. Phew. Tears (at work). Having just wrapped up MTH yesterday with you all, I’m just in awe of these amazing gifts that you and your team have and share with us. So much goodness and beauty. Cannot wait to read the book!
Lara! Amazing — I can’t wait for your book. Having watched your personal transformation from a hustle harder business woman to an intentional, faith-filled mama, wife, and business owner, has been amazing my friend! Love you!
Lara! This video made my heart smile and my eyes fill with happy tears. Your light shines so brightly and I can’t wait to get my hands on this sweet, sweet book. I just know your words are going to impact so many people and remind us all to take the time to enjoy each season in nature and our lives. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Sending you a big hug! Xo
Lara, I LOVED the video!! Excited for the book release, a message the world needs 🙂
The film is absolutely beautiful and perfect. I can’t wait to have this book in my hands! You inspire me, Lara. Every time I feel just lost because of all of the things that I feel like I need to do but can’t seem to get to; I come back here to your blog, your words, and I it always helps me to feel better. Thank you.
❤️ The video!! With tears in my eyes, I am preordering the book. I love following you on this journey of life b/c I can relate to so much of your story in mine. Congrats Lara! The book is beautiful!
What a smart idea to create a trailer for your book! The imagery & your messages are equally as beautiful. You got me all choked up. Thanks for sharing this with us!!
The trailer is PERFECT!! Cannot wait to for the book! Congrats Lara!
Lara – this is so encouraging and so beautiful. Thank you for always speaking truth so bravely. I’m so thrilled for you and so excited to read this and know it will help me so much in the season I am in right now.
Oh my goodness, this video!! Tearing up over here. This book and your words are going to bless SO MANY, Lara, myself included!!
Congratulations! My copy is pre-ordered, so now all there is to do is be patient in the wait!
This video is such a beautiful representation of your family and your message! I just pre-ordered (June 27 is so far! eeek!) Congratulations- I know the inside of the book will be as spectacular as that gorgeous cover! “The impossible is possible”- YES! LOVE THAT! :-}
Just pre-ordered! Your first book genuinely changed my life. Can’t wait to read this one!
All my best from Argentina. I hope getting a copy very soon
Beautiful. How fast can June get here?! Looking forward to enjoying your beautiful book.
Lara! This is so exciting! It has been such a joy to follow your journey these past few years. Thank you for being such a beautiful inspiration and pointing others to Jesus. Can’t wait to read Cultivate! 🙂
BEAUTIFUL!!! I needed to see this video. Thank you, and so excited for your book! xx
Beautiful! Inspiring! Thanks for being so raw in your journey.
This is SUCH a beautiful book cover and film – I can already tell just how life giving it’s going to be! I’m so encouraged and blessed by you leaning in to the hard things, for in your courage and God’s strength you give us permission and the motivation to do the same. You are having a far greater impact than you know! I thank God for using you every day Lara 🙂
SO proud of you, Lara! The cover is perfect and so is the video! I can’t wait to read it!! xoxo
Wow!! What an incredible video and testimony to share. I just got home from MTH and I’m so inspired to cultivate, to grow, and most importantly to prune. You are such a blessing Lara!
Congrats! I loved your first book and can’t wait to dive into this one when it comes out. So funny – I just blogged about the messy that often precedes and cultivates growth. Thanks for sharing this!
Thank you for this gift!
Such a good video! Love the story behind the garden!