The Evolution of a Book Cover/Update


Welcome and Happy Freaky Friday, my friends!

I’m writing this post in a zombie-like state.

(Now, before some of you comment, “That’s nothing new,” please hear me out.)



I met my editing deadline on Wednesday night, and I swear I felt like I had a baby. I’ve never worked that hard on something before, with the exception of labor. I was so exhausted that I actually slept well. (
My fellow insomniacs will get the significance of such an event!) I’m slowly coming back to life…

I look forward to reading your blogs again and replying to your wonderful comments.

Some of you have seen the current cover on the Facebook page (please “like” & share the love!) and Twitter. It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon  (woo hoo!), and the Kindle pre-sales option will come this summer. It’ll be out October 10th.

A week ago my book got posted on Amazon, and it was SUPER-exciting! It went to #20 on Bipolar Book bestsellers for an hour! 😉 It was the #1 Hot New Release in Amazon’s “Pregnancy & Childbirth” category for an afternoon or so! 

But yesterday I had a little surprise!

My publisher asked me to consider changing the front cover title font from cursive to regular. (Regular…schmegular…whatever that word is! I told you I’m a zombie!)

Although I’ve disagreed with them before on other points, I was okay with this suggestion. More than okay. But I don’t like the all caps element. (You’ll see what I mean when you look at the 2/16 image.)

Some backstory you should know is that I negotiated with my publisher to handle the cover design, but they would get final approval, of course. And they did approve what I submitted. (Hope that makes sense.)

Moving on…

Here’s how the cover came to be:

My daughters and I thought of an idea. We created this mock-up. (Sorry for the terrible picture, but you get the idea…) The title, subheader, bylines were black on the mock-up, but we wanted our designer to use a sparkling white color instead of black.

Avonlea wanted the title font to consist of stars (and those fonts exist), but that didn’t quite work out.



We gave that mock-up to our remarkable graphic designer Vanessa No Heart to play with. Vanessa sent us a bunch of ideas that boiled down to this image with three different color palettes:







I liked this one the best:



My publisher prefers this font. They have a very good rationale which I’ll paraphrase below.


2/16 Image

I’m down with the publisher’s font, BUT I’d like “Birth,” “New,” and”Brain” to have the first letter capitalized.  I’m really hoping they’re going to be honky dory with that feedback!

Here’s the loosely paraphrased rationale:

“Dear Dyane,

We think the design you submitted will hurt sales. 

Readers use visual elements to identify the book’s topic, and this process happens super-fast

Usually, script fonts signify humorous topics, light topics

Your memoir covers a serious, important topic. Our font makes it look more serious, not like a Harlequin romance novel

When you look at books online or in a store, you spend a fraction of a minute looking at a cover. Cursive is harder to read. Many readers pass on the book ONLY because they don’t want to take a closer look at the font!”

Okay, that all makes 100% sense! Like I mentioned, I just don’t like the all-caps version. It’s too stark and I don’t feel the magic! 😉 

The publisher also wrote they wanted my approval on the suggested font, which was very cool of them to do. Technically, I think they could have insisted that I had to accept the new font. At least they are being respectful.

In the big picture of worldly events, this is a very, very, VERRRRRRY minor situation, and I’m not going to freak out. But I do love nice book covers, and I’d like to be proud of mine, you know what I’m sayin’? 

Stay tuned…..let me know your deep or shallow thoughts on the matter, and if you don’t like the cover, I understand – it’s not for everyone…& most importantly, have a GREAT weekend!!!!!



Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October.

It’s now available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link!



44 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Book Cover/Update

  1. I mean. This is all up to you but when I first saw your cover on Amazon a week or so ago (I ordered it btw, super excited!!!) I honestly didn’t care for the font either. I’m not saying the 2/16 is the best version (I think the font is weird…Can’t put my finger on it) but it’s better than the current cursive font…IN MY OPINION. You know I love you and I’m so much more concerned about you making mad dollars from this so that’s my two cents. Either way, it’s going on my shelf in October and I expect to have it signed. You did such a great job on it. I have neither had kids nor edited a book so I can’t imagine how much work it was. Great job my dear. Enjoy your weekend! Hugs XOXOXO!!!😍❤❤❤

    • Lady Jess!

      That’s THE the kind of feedback I want! The honest flava! 😉 Thank YOU!

      While I liked the cursive, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I was too freaked out/stressed/distracted and so on to deal with it. I should have asked Vanessa to come up with a lot more choices. She would have been fine with it.

      Although I like the publisher’s font – it’s readable – I want it looking softer, it’s too stark….and I forgot to mention I want it a little smaller. But it’s not perfect either. If you figure out what bugs you about it, let me know! There are thousands of fonts out there (and it’s easy to get caught in that world, LOL!) so I could try to find my one true love, but even if I did find it, the publisher might hate that. So this is the best option.

      As far as the the book content goes…um, well I need to write a post (or two) about THAT! I don’t care about $ I just didn’t want to put a piece of sh*t out into the world with my name on it. My only hope is for it to help people!!!! :)))))))) Thanks for being truthful – I wish everyone else was like that, sweet thang! XOXOXO thank you for the retweets and always sending me “good juju”!!!! I hope you have a good weekend too, lovely one, and I’ll get up to speed reading your blog and everyone else’s again!

  2. I like the all-caps title. It’s bold and assertive. Upper and Lower case might be easier to read, but t all caps “means business.” Your book is gonna be a bestseller. I just know it. Prepare yourself to write a movie script!

    • I love reading these comments! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

      Hmmmm – it will be cool to compare the all caps version with the upper & lower case version. 🙂 As far as bestsellers go, I’ll be thrilled if it sells a good amount like my husband’s book did, LOL! I forgot how many he has sold, but it has been at least a couple thousand. I also would love good reviews. I’m scared of getting 1-star flame reviews from the anti-ECT and anti-psych crowd, but I’ll have to just let go of all that tomfoolery, eh? 😉

      Thanks for your beautiful faith in me! XoXo Honey Pot (my new nom de plume! )

      • You just steel yourself against your critics right now. They are not YOUR audience! Concentrate on the good you are doing for the population that needs you most. I have every confidence in you, Honey Pot! xxoo

      • You must be psychic because I REALLY needed to read your words today. I’m going to need to attend “Steeling School” because I’m a walking exposed nerve ending – I’m a double Pisces if you follow astrology!

        My daughter Avonlea asked me if I could delete the negative, troll-like reviews on Amazon, and I chuckled and said, “I WISH!”

        My husband has a lot of experience with getting nasty, out-there Amazon reviews because his topic is very controversial.

        He is the oppositive of me: cool-headed, naturally grounded (by day he’s a geologist, so that suits him!) and he has a positive attitude towards nasty reviews. He could run the Steeling School come to think of it!

        And he loves giving book talks (As for me, um…..public speaking = YIKES!!! But I want to give it a try.) When he has had people attend his talks and heckle him, he has handled their freaky, defensive, erroneous, rude questions & comments so well, and he even enjoys meeting the challenge of those interactions!!!!!!!!

        His book is about West Coast aviation history, so we’re talking apples and oranges when it comes to his book and mine…but he’s a good beacon of light to follow as far dealing well with sh*tty reviews! 😉

        And of course I’ll come to you for shots of Merry-isms when that time comes. If you don’t mind????? XOXOXOXXOXOOOOXOXOOXOXOOX

  3. Makes sense.

    BTW, just ordered my pre-sale from Amazon. I am gonna hold you to an autograph! 😉

  4. I preferred your original cover both aesthetically and emotionally. Thought it was elegant and was part of the flow of the tree.
    Whatever decision you and publishers decide it is the content that is most important!🎼🎼❤️

  5. I’m with you on the all-caps, SpyDy, and I miss the more elegant font! Still, the tree, sillhoette (sp? Ugh I’m tired) of mom and child with the dusk and the stars…that’s all so beautiful that I think the cover still has a bit of magic to it. 🙂

    Now, go rest up–you just gave birth to a final manuscript! xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • I loved reading your comment! I’d love to share the image with you after they email it next week and see what you think! I’m SO glad you like the other bits – those resonate with me, and I’m relieved they aren’t getting the boot. Hope you’re having a good Saturday morning. I’m still tired from the “birth” of the revision – I just wish I lost the 13 pounds I gained in the last “trimester” of editing!!! 😉 p.s. thank GOD I had your coffee to get me through last week – talk about a godsend! XOXOXOX

      • Yay for coffee indeed, Coffee Queen SpyDy! 🙂 We’re in a weird stalemate in the Potty Wars here, but otherwise I’m surviving…especially when there’s Valentine’s chocolate EVERYWHERE! 😉 xxxxxx Enjoy a lovely walk with Lucy through the forest–you’ve earned it!

      • Oooh, I forget those Potty Wars days and I know with twins you have a whole different set of challenges. I salute you! I’m glad you’re surviving around that Valentine’s Day chocolate. The girls gobbled everything, and didn’t even get tummy aches, those lucky sugar monsters! I’ve been chomping at the bit to go to the forest but we had more rain and it’s a muddy mess. Can’t wait for it to dry up and get out there again…….. sending you love and big hugs, my lovely scribe!

  6. Darling Dyane, Captain Dyane, Lady D of mine… Whoop whoop whoop bravo and congratulations. Go for some gelato on my bill oh gosh how many years of that pregnancy? Come on Lucy set the tune… Even Ella knows am happy… Can’t wait

    • You always know how to light my face up with a smile…the answer to “how many years of pregnancy” is TOO many years! (Um, 9 years if I must spill the means, on and off, that is!) How I wish I had your gift of being a prolific writer who ***gets things done*** – you are truly amazing. I found a replacement for my gelato (Halo ice cream – low fat, low calorie, yet yummy) but I’ve lost it with food. HOWEVER, I’m still logging on LoseIt! and I won’t give up! We’ve had terrible rain storms here and I haven’t been able to walk Lucy, but those will clear up and we will get our blood moving again. Plus, I could do an indoor workout – you do it, right? The nasty weather is just an excuse! 😉 Love to you, the boys, and always ELLA!!!!!!!!

      • Lady, for the entire week or precisely 8 days, I haven’t exercised and not loged in since like Tuesday when I traveled out of town and internet zone. I’ll resume next week cause I feel sluggish and even guilty not that I have been eating wild or on halo or gelato goodies you know… But hmm you know how u feel having a redwood bath or on the elliptical right? Oh prolific and I haven’t even had more than 5 reviews for any of my books? Hahaha you know am joking cause I don’t think reviews necessarily indicate prolificness lol

      • We will BOTH get back into it, my darling friend, and we need to check in with Bradley and Ann! Banish that guilt! You are gorgeous! Reviews are so weird. I’ve seen some AMAZING,brilliantly written books on Amazon published by “big” publishers and they only got a few reviews. Like 3 or 5. So please don’t worry about that. What I want you to celebrate is that you’ve written more than one book, which I find miraculous! 😉 And don’t get me started about your other accomplishments… are almost as cool as Miss Ella and Miss Lucy!

  7. Congratulations.The book cover looks great. My bipolar diagnosis started after I had my first child,They first thought diagnosed me with post-partum depression but than thought I needed more help and just called it bipolar disorder 1 but never called it bipolar post-partum depression. That is interesting. I am interested in reading your book to hear if we have similarities in our stories. I am sure we have many. It sounds very interesting. If you ever have time, could you tell me how you found your publisher etc. I am writing my memoir as well and was curious how to find a good publisher. When and if you have time I would love to hear about that process. Thank you very much… and huge congratulations on your accomplishment of writing your book and finishing your editing!!! Hugs!

    • Thanks for such a lovely comment! When I was diagnosed, I was hypomanic (not psychotic) and in my book I go into what the postpartum bipolar diagnosis entails in Appendix A. Postpartum bipolar is listed as bipolar, peripartum onset in the DSM-5. Anyway, sorry to go off there….I’d be honored if you read my book! And yes, let me know if there are similarities….re: publishers, I had an author friend act as my de facto agent and she submitted my manuscript to the publisher on my behalf. Then I wrote her a check for $1000.00 (just kidding! She did it of her own accord!) But there are many independent publishers willing to accept manuscripts without your needing an agent. I suggest checking out Authors Publish Magazine. Their mission: “We support authors by sending you publishing opportunities” and they share with their subscribers those types of publishers I mentioned where an agent isn’t required – for free! I signed up for their newsletter, and I think you might find them useful. I found out about them through Susan’s excellent “Beyond Your Blog.” The link to sign up is:
      Good luck with completing your memoir and thanks again for your comment and for the hugs! (((hugs))) right back at you! p.s. if you do a search with the word “rejection” on my blog, you’ll find a couple posts I wrote about sending my book proposal to a publisher and how it was rejected…yuck!

  8. I Love, Love, Love the cursive cover. But then again, I love to write in cursive and read it well. Now-a-days, they don’t even teach cursive in most schools anymore and many (especially) younger readers don’t bother taking a second glance at it. (As you may remember my 8-year-old had ADHD, but I have insisted she learn cursive during her summer vacations for the simple reason that I want her to be able to read the many letters I’ve written to her over the years in cursive – before I knew they wouldn’t teach it to her at her school).

    Long point to a short story…your editors probably have a point about the cursive (although I really don’t see how anyone could read the title and infer comedy, humor, or romance). I think print will catch more eyes. As far as capital letters, I’d have to see it in lower case to give an informed option, but I like the idea of capitalizing the B, N and B.

    • I liked the cursive because I was thought it was feminine (motherly) and personalized mental illness, you know? So many bipolar-themed books have clinical-looking and/or boring fonts…just my humble opinion! That’s so cool you love to write in cursive! I’ll share the other version in next week’s post. I’m so glad you insisted that your sweetie could learn cursive so she could read your letters – that’s incredibly precious – what a gift! You truly are a SUPERMOMMY!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Dyane, I just placed my pre-order. And, I agree with the publisher about the font. Italic moves it into the realm of fiction or romance, and you don’t want that. The typeface they’ve chosen is strong, and using all caps makes an authoritative statement that says, “This book is written with intention.” Don’t hide behind that statement. Stand out in front of it. You’ve earned the right to do that.

    • Well, Susan, you made my day with the pre-order! At least the price went down from $15.99, LOL!!!! Thank you so much!

      It was helpful to read your perspective and it validated how I feel. I’m happy with the change & that’s a relief because if they demanded some hideous font, then I’d be in trouble. I shall follow your wise, loving advice and stand out in front of my statement, because I do believe in what I wrote, warts and all! 😉 XOOXOXOOXX Thanks again for writing a comment that made me feel ***good*** – bless you! Xo

  10. Hi, Dyane! I agree with your publishers. Grab the readers. Shout it out with caps. I think the more vibrant color scheme with vivid yellow, orange & red sunrise achieves the same result in that it catches the eye quickly and looks more dramatic and less romantic. I’m kind of a graphic design geek.

    • Hello my beautiful, balayaged friend!

      I’m happy you agree with Post Hill Press because I’ve always loved your taste in design, i.e. your website fonts & layout, etc.

      I’m loving the caps look now, and while I’m curious to see what the title will look like with only the first letters in caps, I have a feeling I *might* prefer all-caps. I’m not sure! Picky picky me.

      Re: the color schemes – this is kind of funny and I think you’ll appreciate it – I asked a few IRL friends what they thought of the colors, and the ones from the U.S. liked the pastels, while the expatriates (England) preferred the more vibrant one. I have no idea why that is! Do you?
      XOXO Dy
      p.s. I absolutely loved that pic of your hair on your Instagram! Once my hair heals itself from the flat iron, I’d love to get that done….
      p.p.s. I think it’s really cool you’re a graphic design geek!

      • Honestly, I think the font and the color are not about what you like the most, but about what catches someone’s attention best. Pastels do not. Your story is a vibrant one – one of overcoming overwhelming adversity.

  11. I’d be honored to help you with comebacks to nasty reviewers! Lemme at ’em!! LOL This is SO exciting, it’s no wonder your nerves are frayed. Craig should be a great mentor for you. My brother was a Picses…March 5…Public speaking/book presentations — not really that bad.Just WAIT ’til you hold your book in your hands for the first time! It will give you POWER. And remember, “FEAR” means Feeling Excited And Ready!

  12. I love the one you like the best as well! So proud of you and all your hard work! Beautiful Lady Dy and your beautiful book. Can’t wait to read it. XXXOOO

  13. The cover looks great. But I think “of a” is squeezed in and as well less space above it than below. It’s especially noticeable because of the bold strong, capital letters of BIRTH / NEW BRAIN and that ‘of a’ is in lower case and cursive. Good luck with the book. You must be so proud, and relieved!

    • Thank you so much, Norah, for taking time to comment, and for noticing the “of” and the “a.” I totally agree with you, and I will bring it up with the publisher. You did a good deed today! :))) Thanks again – you rock!

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