Creating a book cover

My son, Henry Craver, works as a photographer in Mexico. When considering a cover for Donkey Show, using one of his photos was a no-brainer. So I sent a few to the designers at Atmosphere Press, and this is what they came up with.

I showed it to a marketing consultant, Lou Bank. He liked the design, but said it would sell “zero” books. The trouble, he said, was that it didn’t communicate anything specific to readers. It didn’t target any groups. He suggested coming up with a cover that communicated “Mexico” to readers. There’s a fairly large group of English-speaking people who are interested in Mexico, for one reason or another. And some of them buy books.

So I unearthed a map of Ciudad Juarez that I’d bought in the ’90s, and some Mexican tarot cards, and I started to fool around on my phone. This is what I came up with:

Lou said simply to add “by Stephen Baker” and to go with it. But it was a little sloppy for the Atmosphere team. They incorporated the tarot cards and came up with several options, including this:

That’s what we’re going with.

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