An Evolution of Five Book Covers

Share:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

As you might know by now (because I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops), Will Write for Food, 2nd edition, is out with a new cover. I thought you might like a behind-the-scenes look at how the cover selection process works and how I ended up with my current cover.

Here’s the original cover of Will Write for Food. This cover came in an email from the publisher (Marlowe & Co.). I loved it immediately and danced around the room. People told me how lucky I was to have a great cover on the first pass. It’s an old-school journalism kind of image, and back in 2005, I was an old-school journalism type of gal. I bought matching jewelry, a bracelet of typewriter keys. My agent gave me a necklace with a “D” typewriter key to celebrate the book’s release.

Fast forward to 2010 and the revision of Will Write for Food. The new publisher (Da Capo Press) said they wanted to freshen up the old cover. Even though I loved the old one, I had to recognize that it needed an update for the new generation of people who want to blog or write memoir. It took me a while to come around. Months, actually.

Da Capo needed a new cover image immediately for the catalog. Below is the first pass, a placeholder because they needed something fast.

Months later, my editor sent me three images. I was lucky that she gave me a choice, because many authors do not get that privilege. All three covers had food images — something that seems obvious now. I had heard that sweets and desserts do well on covers, so that was a consideration.

Below is the runner up. I love the black background and the clean lines of this one.

The next cover seemed like a diet book to me, I suppose because of the veggies. And I love veggies! Maybe I was stuck on the dessert idea. Kind of like how Cooking Light magazine wouldn’t bother with a salad on the cover. But chocolate cake, now we’re talking.

And last, the cover of choice. At first I was taken aback by the softness of the new cover, by its scallops and pink-ish background. But now I like it, and it’s perfect for its target audience of women who want to write about food.

You might also notice that Anthony Bourdain’s generous quote is gone. I asked to have it moved to the back cover, and the editor agreed. The focus of the new edition is blogging, so I wanted a blogger’s endorsement. And who better than Ree Drummond, whose not-even-published-yet memoir was already optioned for a movie starring Reese Witherspoon?

I’m thrilled.


  1. says

    Congratulations Dianne! It’s a gorgeous cover and absolutely draws me in. Less harsh than the dark backgrounds and color blocks. Thanks for sharing the evolution with us.

    Kudos on your amazing accomplishment!

  2. says

    Looked through the pictures first to pick my favorite before reading the text of your post…did like the black background, and the eye drew me to the title right away: clear , crisp and elegant.

    I do like the final cover the best…… looking at it now, I see it had the same font as the runner up ( black background)…well done.

    Congratulations Dianne!

    Tempted to get your book at Amazon, but they’re rich enough, making a trek to Third Place Books instead.

    Post note on book projects, was going to comment on your Anatomy of a Book Revision post , I gather you use Word for your book projects, have you heard of *Scrivner?

    It is a program designed for writers, they have brilliantly translated the ” I still write on paper ” method ( and sheets of it, if you know what I mean) down to a computer application that is easy to work with . On Word, your pages in the book are all in one big file, in *Scrivner each page IS a file. Just think the ease of a binder wherein you can take each page out and rearrange them. And your research in different applications whether it be pdf, web pages, images, word doc are all accessed in one view, side by side, in one file, no more switching or multiple windows. That is only two of the features; it is better explained in their website: …only available in a MAC though…….
    Thought it might interest you and your readers.

    *Not affiliated with the company in any capacity

    • diannejacob says

      I like that you did that, Melanie. I would probably have done the same, testing myself against the conclusion. And you reached the same.

      It is definitely tempting to buy the book at Amazon, because of the good price. But independent bookstores are down to 10 percent of all book sales, and this news from Amazon that more people bought books on Kindle last quarter is not good for them. Thank you.

      Will check out Scrivner. The problem is that most publishers want you to submit your manuscript in Word.

      • says

        Oh, Dianne, Scrivner file CAN indeed be exported to MSWord, or compiled and printed in standard manuscript form and even in HTML format.

        I owe it to bookstores, I did find you ( and many authors) in a bookshelf.

        • says

          I too love Scrivner. Couldn’t do big projects without it. It stores your research as well as your drafts. Best Mac application for writing I’ve ever used — and it costs about $40.

          And no, I’m not affiliated with Scrivner in any way either.

  3. says

    Diane, You were indeed fortunate to have a choice of book covers. It is rare for an author to be given a voice in the matter, even though it is so important. I think every writer should add a clause in their contract that allows for a discussion. If the image on the book jacket doesn’t photograph clearly it will impact the Amazon sales. Irena

  4. says

    I love the cover you chose, Dianne. It really is beautiful. And I think the inclusion of a dessert photo is perfect. I agree entirely that the salad photo would have looked like a diet book, and I think it was a wise choice to move the Bourdain quote to the back. Though I bought a copy of your original edition just this past Christmas, I can see I will need to buy your new book, too. Gotta have that new blogging info!
    :) Jane

    • diannejacob says

      Thank you Jane. Another reason to choose the final cover was that it echoed the first by using a plate, and I liked the symmetry.

  5. says

    I liked the old cover. It made it seem more serious and a writer’s reference book instead of a “book club” book. So in that respect I like the first two better than the one chosen. Sorry!

    • diannejacob says

      You are entitled to your opinion, Lisa. Please don’t be sorry. Yes, the first one was much more serious. It took me a long time to get past it.

    • diannejacob says

      Thank you, Rosemary. It really is pretty. I had a hard time with that because I was afraid I wouldn’t be taken seriously. Pretty silly.

  6. Julia Allenby says

    I love today’s post! I think you should get a jacket made from that tablecloth material. And wear it with your D necklace.

  7. says

    I have to tell you Dianne – I am in luv with this book. Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I was told that a certain big chain bookstore that they worked in had it “on the truck” and would be arriving at my store yesterday. The store manager was instructed to have it ready and waiting for me to pick it up. I adore it and can’t wait to read it cover to cover this weekend. My first edition will be passed down to a loving home. Now, if you have a book signing in Philly ever, just let me know!

  8. queen artoeat says

    Your new cover is gorgeous. I would be curious how the male contingent weighs in on its attractiveness. It’s very tasteful but feminine.

    • diannejacob says

      Yes I wondered about that too! Only 1 brave man on this list so far — my frequent commenter Nate — and he commented about Ree rather than the cover. Not that I blame him.

  9. says

    I cannot wait to receive my copy that I preordered. I have the original version (whose cover I love) but am so looking forward to the updated one. I love the cover and the acknowledgment of bloggers!

  10. says

    I found your webpage and blog only yesterday, and I enjoyed it so much (mostly posts concerning writing recipes, most commons errors, top terms to avoid in recipes and so on). I found it extremely interesting. I finalize my first ethnic cookbook and yesterday, I started to revise my recipes (that is why I was searching for reliable blogs and information). I took many of your recommendations into my heart.
    Congratulations for the second edition of your book. If I will have a chance to have it delivered to Poland, where I stay now, I will order it.
    Maybe it should be translated into Polish. Why ? Because recipes in Polish cookbooks (even those published by huge publishing companies having a lot of money are usually awfully written).
    Kind regards!

    • diannejacob says

      Congratulations on your new cookbook, Magdalena. Glad to be of help. Now you will break this tradition of badly-written Polish recipes.

      I’m pretty sure Amazon will ship my book anywhere. I just got an email from a blogger in India.

  11. says

    Dear Dianne, I wish I had found your blog sooner! It has been such a delightful and inspirational read for me tonight. I’ve just bookmarked you and look forward to catching up on your old entries when I am more awake (1.28am now in New Zealand)!

    That is a gorgeous new cover too – love it :-)


    • diannejacob says

      Hey Mel, glad you approve.

      Maybe you should read my blog late at night. It might help you sleep. 😉

  12. says

    Bravo Dianne, it’s beautiful! In my many years of art direction we almost never gave the author a say in the cover design. So you are very lucky, and also lucky to obviously have a good designer. Your new cover is fresh, clean, and inviting. It makes me want to pick it up!

  13. says

    Please tell us all about the female food blogger market. I’m all micro and no macro. Are there really that many of us?

    • diannejacob says

      I don’t have actual numbers, Cindy, but I venture to say there are tends of thousands of female food bloggers.

  14. Howard Baldwin says

    Okay, I’m male, and I’ll weigh in. As a writer, I like the first edition cover the best. The rendition of the typewriter keys (for those of us old enough to recognize typewriter keys) made very clear the connection between food and writing, which I think is important. Ditto the “placeholder” cover, with the fork spearing the pencil. Where’s the writing element on the last three? I’m glad you’re happy with the result, Dianne, but IMHO, now it just fades into the infinite smorgasbord of food books (as opposed to food-writing books).

    • diannejacob says

      Thanks for being the lone guy weighing in, Howard.

      I see your point. I could argue that the first cover wasn’t much about food, except that the keys were on a plate. The focus was on writing. In this new edition, the focus is on food. I guess sales will be one of the indicator of which one wins.

  15. says

    I’m completely drawn to the last cover. Maybe the publishers know my soft spot, because I think it’s beautiful. I have your older addition, but with this fresh cover (plus the bonus of the additional blogging/memoir info) I’m bound to pick up this new copy. Congrats!

  16. says

    Hi Dianne- When I heard you speak up on the IACP teleforum this morning about your new book I smiled! I’m only on page 33 and it’s already having a positive impact on my writing and blogging! Thank you! Your book is exactly what I needed. I want to hide away and read non-stop, but I get an idea and go back to my computer to change something and write. The pages are already highlighted and I’m writing in the margins.

    • diannejacob says

      Thanks very much Sally. I appreciate your support. Writing in the margins and highlighting is a supreme compliment.

  17. says

    Gorgeous cover, Diane and congratulations! Looking forward to seeing a copy here in India.

    Best wishes for a lovely 2011,