VIDEO: The Making of a Book Cover

February 4, 2010

There’s a history to this book cover that isn’t alluded to in the video, namely, that the original Journal Keeper jacket was a lovely, softly-lit  photograph of our local train station in the snow.  Everybody, including my publisher, liked it alot, particularly with the  golden light of the approaching train shining down the tracks.  Then, a friend called to tell me that she had recently been in a San Diego bookstore  where she asked the owner if a memoir by an older woman writer about her life would appeal to her book buyers.  “Absolutely,” the owner replied, “as long as there isn’t any snow on the jacket.  I don’t know why, but I’m always sending back books that feature snow scenes.”  We decided that maybe we should re-think our options.


35 Comments


  1. A nice short film, very atmospheric, and very folksy. In Scotland we call them lug chairs (Scottish for ears). Still think that the cornfield was better, whatever your publisher might say.

  2. made me know again..you are great!!!..loved the video..you in the trailer on the chair w/table…cant wait to read your latest!!

  3. What a wonderful story for Valentine’s Day (which also happens to be my birthday!)
    I just finished my writing session for the day and saw your e-mail with this link. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to read the book!

  4. David McCormick

    Wonderful! And how did Chair get to be a “him?”

  5. Phyllie,

    What a beautiful web site!! You may finally get me to start a journal. I love the video of the wing chair—I agree, it makes a splendid cover. What is fun is the fact that the train station, the street, and even the arm chair are all familiar! Sorry to have dropped in so unannounced at Christmas. I won’t do that again.

    Best wishes on the new book and the book tours–

    Beata

  6. RUTH AND STEVE

    WE LOVE YOUR VIDEO AND THE COVER. BEST OF LUCK WITH THE BOOK. WILL YOU BE DOING AN EVENT IN DC THAT WE CAN ATTEND? R AND S

  7. A very entertaining piece, Kathy and Phyllis! Loved seeing all of the familiar faces, and hearing the impromptu conversations. Can’t wait to read the book!
    Tom

  8. You’re not getting any less crazy, are you?

    We’ll see you at the book signing on the 10th in D.C.

    Robert

  9. The story of the cover, and the cover itself, pose an invitation to the book that I can’t turn down. And I loved seeing glimpses of your home and the Ashland scenes I enjoyed so much when I stayed in your cottage in 08. Congratulations! I look forward to seeing you at LVA or one of your other appearances.

  10. Loved the video… especially the snarky kid on the bike! Looking forward to reading the book.

  11. Judith Mayotte

    Love the cover. Love the chair. Love how you read to my dear friend, Kathy Beal. Great thanks and I look forward to reading behind the Wing Chair cover.

    Judy Mayotte

  12. Congratulations, Phyllis, I can’t wait to read the book.

  13. Phyllis ~ I’m delighted to have been included on your distribution list for this teaser about your new book. Can’t wait to get a copy! The cover is indeed an invitation to open the book.

    All the best,
    Jan Ducsay
    formerly with The Etruscan Foundation

  14. I love the process for deciding on the cover of your book…especially the scene of your sitting in the chair as the truck drives down the street! Very clever, and it must have worked since you found the right location after all. Thanks for sharing a fun trip. I look forward to reading the book.

  15. Priceless! I agree with your publisher, the red wing chair in front of the white picket fence is perfect. Do you think perhaps the red wing chair has a story to tell too???

    Can’t wait to read the Journal Keeper. I’m so happy for you Phyllis!

    Barbara

  16. Hi Phillie…The book looks great. I,ve alrready bought it on Amazon. Can.t wait to get it. xx moi

  17. As an actor will tell you, never underestimate the power of props. We pulled out old family photos recently on my mother’s 75th bday, and as much as I loved seeing my cute 5 year old self, I was more enthralled with the furniture in the background — my grandad’s green leather chair, my grandmom’s rocker, my dad’s faux eames. The stories they held…

  18. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and personal story. It reminds me to find the hope in an ordinary day. Looking forward to reading the book. Best of luck to you.

  19. Clever girl! I think I need to get the book to find out why all the fuss!

  20. Lovely video! Lovely photo! Nice to see this beautiful project by a beautiful writer.

    (and good advice about the snow. hee hee.)

    Monica

  21. Neale and Gerry

    Phyllis,
    totally wonderful! Just love it. Can’t wait to read the book. love n and g

  22. What a great video!

  23. Love the chair!
    Love the woman in the chair!
    But really want the phone number of the tall guy in the pink shorts at the beginning of this charming video!
    Niki

  24. I love the book cover journey. Did you have a seat belt on when riding on the trailer? :) lookng forward to reading the book.

  25. Tamieka Waterstraat

    I loved the video! You really did a good job, with the cover, Mrs. T! And i cant wait to read the new book!!!

    Love Always,
    Tamieka

  26. My copy of The Journal Keeper arrived today at the 57th Street Bookstore in Hyde Park….can’t wait to start it!
    Congratulations on another wonderful book!

  27. Monica, have been meaning to tell you that Alexander Lam is quoted in my journal/book. Last page of 2000.
    Take a look. Best to you, Phyllis

  28. Jan, How wonderful to hear from you. Believe it or not, I’m so clumsey a blog user that I didn’t even know these replies existed until today – approximately 2 months late. So sorry. Hope you like the book. Phyllis

  29. Beata, you can always drop in on me unannounced. I felt awful to have to brush on by you, but that won’t happen again from this end. Love to you and Tom, Phyllie

  30. My copy of The Journal Keeper arrived today at the 57th Street Bookstore in Hyde Park….can’t wait to start it!
    Congratulations on another wonderful book!

  31. My copy of The Journal Keeper arrived today at the 57th Street Bookstore in Hyde Park….can’t wait to start it!
    Congratulations on another wonderful book!

  32. Beata, you can always drop in on me unannounced. I felt awful to have to brush on by you, but that won’t happen again from this end. Love to you and Tom, Phyllie

  33. what a beautiful, funny, touching story/movie. I love how it ends, that the chair, which has by this time turned into a person, will be honored by Phyllis being the best writers she can be.

  34. Hello!:)
    really enjoying the book!
    am about 3/4 into it.
    p.s. was really pulling for Ragan!
    SO glad you decided to keep him :)
    peace&blessings
    mary~

  35. Connie Robinson

    Phyllis: Loved the story of the making of the book cover, with the traveling wing back chair. Ironically, I read your book, The Journal Keeper, in MY favorite wing chair which sits by a window in our small library…with morning light for reading…and, if necessary with my floor lamp light. The necessary first cup of coffee accompanys me as I eagerly climb into the chair to anxiously read my current book.

    It wasn’t because of the charming wing back chair cover that I read your Journal book. But, because it was recommended to me by two friends, one of whom loaned me the book. Soon, I will buy my own copy, because I want to have it on hand to loan to other friends; and to re-read.

    One of my favorite parts in The Journal Keeper is about your mother’s group, named by you, The Immaculate Degenerates. I so admire the relationship you had with your creative, loving mother. Joyful good humor permeates the conversations between the two of you. Years ago, my now 91-yr old mother, gave me an embroidered pillow that says, “A daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be a friend.” How true. My daughter and I have that kind of relationship, too. And, we ALL love to read…and write observations.

    Keep remembering and writing…
    With Appreciation, Connie

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