Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Of All The Luck

On May 11th, 2011, I published my first novel Gasher Creek. This was a labour of love that took over three years to write and edit. It was a long, exhausting process. Nine previous attempts to write a novel resulted in nine “practice sessions” that fizzled into frustration. But Gasher Creek was different. It continued to evolve until, to my own amazement, a complete story had emerged.

Finally, I had a novel ready to be published, to take on the literary world!

Well, almost. As I neared completion of the book, I realized that one crucial element was missing: a book cover. This was a problem because a.) I am not a visual artist (even my stick men don't look like stick men), and b.) I didn't know where to find a visual artist. 

What a daunting task. I mean, it took me twelve years to finally finish a book. How long would it take to figure out all this new stuff?   

Luckily, my mother has a talent for drawing and agreed to create a cover. And although the cover was functional, it didn’t quite capture the essence of the book. Readers kept commenting on its “vagueness”, and vagueness is not the impression any author wants to make.

So I started looking. And looking. And looking. I scoured the Internet, asked my friends for leads, sent out e-mail queries which resulted in lukewarm promises of definite maybes. Every opportunity fell through.

A year passed…

And then I received a tweet from designer and poet Tracy McCusker. She'd read a blog post of mine and took a chance on my book. And she loved it! Of course, I was thrilled with her response—but then it got better. She liked it so much that she wanted to donate her time toward the creation of a permanent book cover.

I was floored. A cover designer wants to work with me? What luck! I spent the rest of the day feeling very thankful for Twitter and blogs and the Internet in general.

Over the next few weeks, she carefully laid out a series of ideas, each of them brilliant. I was amazed, not only with her visions for the book, but also with the methodical way she examined each idea. Her sketches were provocative and precise. She suggested various fonts, colours, and themes that might resonate with readers. Clearly, I was working with a professional. Finally, it felt as if a real book cover was on its way. 

And then it arrived yesterday—and it’s brilliant. Using a simple image, she’s captured the essence of the book in a way that I didn’t think was possible. It stunned me. I’m still stunned. That cover is now up on Amazon.com. 

As a writer, I should be able to conjure up the appropriate words to express my gratitude, but it’s difficult. I’ve already thanked her about a thousand times, but thanks doesn’t seem to do it justice. How do you properly acknowledge someone who suddenly appeared out of the Internet ether and delivered a solution to a year long problem? How do you show appreciation for a work of art that’s surpassed every expectation? Unfortunately, I'm not that good of a writer. All I can do is continue to thank her. Again. And again.  

Thanks, Tracy.

If you want to learn more about Tracy McCusker’s art and poetry (and you know you do), please visit her website: scienceofdeduction.org