Shaila Abdullah, Guest Post

7:33 AM

Once again I'd like to introduce you all to Shaila Abdullah, the author of the new novel Saffron Dreams. Shaila is on a virtual blog tour this month with Pump Up Your Book Promotions, and I had the distinct honor of being able to participate and read this fantastic book. I was delighted when she agreed to a guest post here. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did!


It’s All in the Design

I have said it once and I will say it again: the worth and value of a book is in its stickiness.

So how do you create that stickiness? That human emotion that connects you to a book, it’s plot, the characters, and makes you recall the book over and over again long after you are done reading.

Think of it much like a human being. The design is the body of the book; its soul is the actual content. There are many functions of a book cover: engage a possible buyer, convey something about the story, and leave the viewer wanting more. Authors, especially if they are new, tend to distance themselves from discussions about the cover of their books. Most believe that since they are not artistic, they should not get involved. Some are simply overwhelmed. The thing to remember is that you don’t have to be creatively inclined to have an opinion about a book cover. It is your product. If you created the content, you have a say on the cover. You will be surprised to find how willing publishers are to hear your side. Be explicit in your suggestions: start with images, elements, colors, and go all the way to typography. Bring in examples of styles that resonate with you. You’re not asking the designer to copy the idea; just to get a sense of what works for you. Don’t wait for that first draft to come in before you offer your suggestions. Being a designer, I know how frustrating it is when new ideas are brought forth at the time of design approval.

No one understands the importance of the right cover better than children's author Cynthia Leitich Smith. According to her if your book is for teaching purpose, an accurate/plausible cover is key to the school-library market. “My first three books were related to my Indian (Mvskoke-Cherokee) heritage, and so the publisher consulted with me,” she says. Renowned young adult author Lila Guzman has always been consulted on the cover of her books. “My publisher sends the cover art to me probably because they are concerned about getting the Revolutionary War setting correct,” she says. “For Turncoat, they had my character in a Continental Army uniform when he was in the Spanish Army. It was easy to flip the blue and white, but I cringe to think of the reviews we might have received had they had the wrong uniform colors.”

The visual connection readers make with the book is much like a guy meeting a girl for the first time. It could be a lasting relationship or a fleeting one. I designed the cover of both of my books but I had the backing of 15 years of design experience to venture in that area. For those with small publishers or self-publishing their book, make that wise investment and get a professional to design your cover. After all it is the face of your work. Remember, a book is judged by its cover, no matter what anyone says.


Thank you so much Shaila for that wonderful post...I hope you'll be able to stop back tomorrow when I post my review of Saffron Dreams.

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Every year we lose more people to AIDS. It hasn't disappeared and it's not going away anytime soon. I urge you to seek out and support your local AIDS Organizations. Encourage everyone you know to practice safe sex and to get tested once a year. Even if you don't think you are at risk, get tested. I didn't think I was at risk either, and I almost died before I was diagnosed.

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