Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Cover for "Documenting America"

Okay, loyal blog followers. Today I finished those few things I needed to do to call Documenting America, Vol. 1 done. Completed the Introduction, added a few lines to the quote in one chapter, and typed all the quote revisions--or maybe I finished them last night. Printed a copy for my final review and reading by my wife.

That gave me time to think about a cover. My thoughts were to have the title, subtitle, and my name superimposed over one of those documents in the book. I chose the 1816 letter of Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, which I downloaded from the Library of Congress (a public domain document. Try as I could, I couldn't get done in Paint what I wanted to get done. So I pulled the picture file into MS Word and did what I wanted with a text box and a footer, screening out the document picture using the Word picture editor. You can see the result.

Obviously, I am not a graphics designer. I'm just trying out the concept. If this is a valid concept for a book such as this, then I'll see about getting a proper cover made according to the concept. I wanted to make something that I could, in a pinch, upload to the Kindle publishing platform and make work for a while during the wait for a proper cover.

What say you, loyal readers? Is the concept for this cover valid? I'm not looking to have the background document readable, just there for show. Let me know in the comments, if you would. Try to look past the specifics of these graphics to the concept.


Poppy White-Herrin said...

I think that's a neat idea for a book cover. Except I don't like all that "white space" around the edges, maybe the text from the historical document could take up the whole book cover with the title and your name superimposed over it like you have done here. That's just my opinion. Good luck with it.

Gary said...

Needs some suggestion of age and less starkness of the black&white. Also the title needs to stand out from the document a bit more.

Suggestions: 1) sepia tint the background or a warmer antique-looking brown, but just a hint.

2) Add a light drop shadowing to the title lettering that will lift it off the page a bit.

David A. Todd said...

Thanks Poppy and Gary. As I said, I'm no graphic designer, neither as a conceptor nor a producer—especially as a producer. I was wanting a sepia document, Gary, but the one I wanted wasn't available in sepia. But in reality, there's nothing magical about the one I wanted, other than it is featured in three chapters in the book. I should be able to find a sepia one. I'll also check on how to do the shadow lettering.

I also received a little feedback in the Suite101 forums.


Anonymous said...

I am of the mind that these old documents should look old as well. It would absolutely set off the title on it. I am all about contrast. You are really doing a good job. My books are on Creatspace and I couldn't be happier. Other than I am not a salesman. There is the catch. I wish I was.