Author Archives: Next Exit Travel

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries

Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries

Can you judge a book by its cover? If so, I don’t know how I feel about being on the jacket of my book.  My first reaction when my publisher sent me the cover concept for Gap Year Girl asking for my feedback on “the direction,” was wow (!), I’m on the cover. You put me on the cover? Really? Not sure that’s something I’m comfortable with. At all.

To get the creative process rolling, I’d sent She Writes Press several book covers I liked along with a couple dozen of our own photos, never dreaming they’d choose the one that featured me so prominently. We’d taken gorgeous shots of castles, colorful doorways and narrow, cobblestoned streets, but they wanted me. I couldn’t even show my husband, Joe, the image for a couple days, putting it facedown on my nightstand telling myself each night that I’d deal with it “tomorrow.”

But the more I looked, peeking at the image, lifting just its corners, the more it grew on me. I loved the colors, I loved the type and I loved the framing. Maybe it’s not such a bad cover after all, I thought, maybe it’s something I can live with. And actually, maybe it’s something I actually like.

A book’s jacket should give visual form to the writing inside. It should enhance the reading experience and reflect the tone of the book. Is that what this jacket does? Does it create the mood I’m looking for? Will it appeal to potential readers of my book? If I’m on the cover and my audience doesn’t like it, does that mean they don’t like me? Does that mean that they don’t like my writing?

Joe loved the cover the minute I showed it to him, and was especially proud that he’d taken the shot of me sitting on the Aix-en-Provence fountain. I sent the cover art to my editor, closest friends and former publishing colleagues for feedback and received universal approval. The only suggestions were related to the typeface and its placement and so the designer and I went back and forth a couple times until we were both happy with the result.

And thus, the cover for Gap Year Girl was born. I like it, all those closest to me like it and fingers crossed, my audience will as well.

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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Publishing Process


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The Editing Process

Connecting and working with the right editor is joy, pure joy, a writer’s muse, a gift from the gods. The right partner can make you not only a better writer, but a braver one as well. Having an honest broker who believes in you and the words you put on the page — but who also tells you, gently and constructively, when you’ve gone astray — allows a writer to take chances.

The editing gods lead me directly, without passing go, to Annie Tucker. Sensitive and sage, sincere and smart, Annie had my and my story’s interests at heart and reviewed my writing wisely. She asked careful questions, challenged what I wrote and examined how I wrote it. Over the six months we worked together, she became a trusted friend and ally, but not so close that she couldn’t tell me the truth for fear of hurting my feelings. Writers know it’s all about “the voice,” and good editors know this as well. Annie came to appreciate my writing voice and did all she could to drive me to enhance it. Her mission was clear from the beginning: to help me tell a genuine and compelling travel tale for readers. She enlightened me to the sad fact that audiences are always looking for reasons to give up on a narrative and that my job as a writer is to thwart reader desertion by making sure they always want more.

Like any effective relationship, a writer’s with her editor should make her world better.

And so it was with Annie. I looked forward every week to our half-hour calls, when she would gently make suggestions about the 5,000-word segment I’d sent her the week before, yet be perfectly clear about her point. Authors want others to read their writing and editors want the same, so there’s little time for coddling when you’re an editor and no room for defensiveness when you’re a writer. An enviable aspect of being a writer is that you can always edit, always revise, always enhance to better articulate those feelings and experiences that defy facile description. And while writers write first drafts, knowing what they want to say, word by word and line by line, editors instinctively recognize when clarification is in order. My editor, my Jiminy Cricket, whispered in my ear and was my clarification companion on my book-writing journey. Thank you, always thank you, Annie Tucker.


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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Publishing Process


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Hi there and Happy New Year! I’m so pleased you’ve found my author site at She Writes Press will publish my first book, Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer’s Adventure Across 21 Countries, in September 2015, and I plan to write about the publishing process, from editing through when I have finished books in hand (and I hope beyond the publication date). Thanks for following along and sharing the ride with me.

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Publishing Process


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