Itinerary for your trip into fantasy or the future with multi-genre author Helen Henderson
What I Write
What's in a Cover, Return to the Darkside
The series, "What's In A Cover," began with non-fiction. Taking advantage of a short hiatus from flying with dragons, I thought I'd celebrate the upcoming release of From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond by sharing its cover design.
Unlike the colorful covers for the fantasy series, the Dragshi Chronicles, the design for From the Back Street to Main Street utilized a different principle--KISS. Or for polite company, Keep It Simple SXXX (you fill in the blank.)
Unlike the previous non-fiction books, which covered multiple topics over an extended period of time, this one is about a single group for the shorter time span of only 180 years. And the final critera? The entire design one had to be suitable for a church.
Selecting a title was the easiest of the cover triad of title, image, and back matter. Combining the title of a slide presentation from an earlier anniversary celebration with a suggestion from a church member resulted in From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond.
The simplicity of the overall design meant the image increased in importance. A scan of the possible images grouped them into three possible themes: people, building, and objects.
Each category had its own issues. If a person, or group of people) was selected was from among the ministers, congregation members, or events received the honor? Various objects including the stained glass windows were evaluated and discarded. Only one window survived the demolition of the Main Street sanctuary and it was not available. Pictures taken over the years were not of production quality. The communion set seemed more appropriate for an antique reference. Early documents blurred into unreadability when seen in thumbnail size. Which left buildings.
No known image existed of the earliest sanctuary which left the landmark red brick building that graced the center of town for 100 years or the modern church of today.
For a history, some claim the older the image the better. But production issues such as crispness still had to be acknowledged. Laying out a selection of images in different formats from several eras helped narrow down the front cover image to three possible ones, then to one. A black and white cover wasn't wanted so the background became a solid color. Encircling the image with white provided contrasts for the art.
My personal approach to have a cover reflect the story raised the question of how to incorporate "And Beyond."Putting both the old and new buildings made the cover too busy, especially with the long title. A reminder that the history book would be published in paperback as well as in digital format solved the problem of incorporating present and future with the past. The modern sanctuary went on the back cover.
Introducing From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond.
The official release is mid-November, but if you are in the central New Jersey area, the Matawan Historical Society will be hosting a special pre-release of From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond at Aberdeen Day (September 26th, Matawan-Aberdeen Regional High School) and Matawan Day (October 3rd, Main Street, Matawan)