The Evolution of the Cover

Published by Chet Kennedy on

As I researched the process of building my book I was most intimidated by the Cover art piece. I have played with graphics in the past but I have recognized in my own life that I have enough talent to get me by but I needed my cover to be eye catching.

I thought I would walk you through the evolution of my cover design because in my world most things actually start with the graphics or the pictures.

Praying for these knees

When I started writing the book the original concept was going to be simply a collection of my favourite camp talks from 20 years of camp speaking so I designed a cover that was fairly simple. The title was based upon the fact that I used to take these shots at camp fire and I would purposefully cut off the campers heads because I did not have media releases for everyone in the picture.

At some point someone asked me to included the faces so they could pray for the kids at camp. I explained the rather hot button topic of media releases and that person then said, “Then I’ll have to pray for these knees.” That’s where the concept came from. Initially I thought writing the book would be easy and painless, as it turns out I was naive and clueless.

BROKEN MORTALS : The Stories Behind the Bible Stories

I remember the Saturday very vividly when everything changed. I had about 23,000 words written for the book and realized that I was starting to see a theme in a number of the chapters I had written. The theme seemed to resonate with the idea that these characters are all human and flawed. But, not every chapter I had written fit this idea. I remember sitting down in my living room with my laptop and I drew this cover. When the cover art changed the concept changed. I threw out 3 chapters completely and brought my word count down to around 15,000 words. I created a new outline that would only include Old Testament characters and Broken Mortals :The Stories Behind The Stories was born.

BROKEN MORTALS : A Journey of Hope

I blame the next iteration on Brene Brown. During the summer of 2018 I was doing more driving because I was in talks with Camp Chamisall about taking the Executive Director position. Earlier that summer I was introduced to Libby the audio book library app by Emma Hanson. Which meant that I could listen to books while driving for free.

One of the authors that I discovered was Brene Brown. Her books were interesting and I appreciated her candor in audiobook delivery. Her main focus is on vulnerability and she shared story after story of things in her own life that she was learning about and working on while sharing statistics on shame and vulnerability in her research.

I felt as though I had unearthed the missing piece from my book. I had all of these great biblical sermons unpacking all these great biblical characters and how God used them in spite of their flaws. What I was missing was a way to make these sermons relevant to today’s reader. That’s when I realized that in order to make sure that Broken Mortals had the impact I wanted it to I was going to have to spill some of my own struggles on the page.

I remember sitting in Starbucks in West Edmonton Mall when I wrote this paragraph.

In May of 2015 I walked away from my position after 20 years in youth ministry. I felt defeated. I felt exhausted, I had a failing marriage, I was deeply in debt and my world was caving in. In my defeat I ran from ministry and tried to live life in the real world, with a real job. I needed someplace to hide, someplace to wallow, someplace to heal.

Broken Mortals, p. 116

I sat there stunned, my eyes welled up with tears, I started breathing heavy and I was suddenly very afraid that everyone could see my screen. Those were the first truly terrifying words I had typed since starting the book and they resonated with me. I knew I had stumbled onto the correct level of vulnerability when the voice of my accuser started screaming in my ear. “What if everyone reads this? What if they find out who you really are? Everyone will know you are a failure.”

That began a long process of going back through the chapters again and making sure that they all included a piece of me, most parts are tame and friendly but the book did get harder to write as more of my story spilled out onto the page near the conclusion of the book.

A Journey of Hope

It was actually a suggestion from a number of my Beta readers that I change the subtitle. They felt that Stories behind the Stories no longer did the book’s content justice. The best suggestions were a Journey of Healing or a Journey of Hope. I liked the latter one and I do believe hope is a central theme for the book. So… that’s where the new subtitle came from.

Final Designs

So… in the final weeks of February 2019 I bought a graphic from Envato so that I could legally use it for my cover art. I threw this design together first to give my graphic artist something to work off of and second because I needed to get some approvals started with KDP and amazon. I had set myself a deadline of March 1st because I had a youth retreat coming up and I was hoping to promote the book. Everything felt ready but also rushed. I like my design but the black lettering didn’t “Pop!” out of the screen like I wanted to but I could not figure out what was missing to give it that Professional design feel.

Final Cover byJoel from Representative Designs

Joel spent a couple hours on a Saturday building this Beautiful cover for me. He built both the front page and the Paperback Cover.

I think it is obvious why a professional graphic artist is absolutely essential when designing your cover art. When I saw this come through my email I was truly stunned and overjoyed. This was a cover I could only have dreamed of.

If you are looking for help with your webpage or need some graphic design work I cannot recommend him highly enough. I used Joel Brigham from Representative Designs.

You owe it to yourself to give your book a fighting chance in the competitive land of self publishing.

Have a great day

Chet Kennedy

Speaker, Author, Developer of People

Categories: Uncategorized

1 Comment

Joel Brigham · March 18, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Thanks Chet for the props. I’m so glad it turned out for you. It was a great privilege to be involved in this meaningful project!

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