Apostrophes, Fonts, Misty Trees and Other Decisions

by Kim Pearson on August 26, 2014

My copyeditor, Lauren Hidden (www.hiddenhelper.com) finished editing the first of the seven haiku books, and is now closing in on finishing the rest. A commenter on Lauren’s Facebook post about this editing job asked this question: “How the hell does one edit haiku’s?”
Pretty funny, considering that he answered his own question by putting an apostrophe where it doesn’t belong, making the word haiku into a possessive instead of a plural. My comment back to him was: “I agree that content/developmental editing is not really needed with haiku, but copyediting certainly is. Unfortunately I am not yet perfect and those nasty little erros can creep in when I’m not looking — and even when I am.”

While Lauren continues to use her excellent editing skills making sure my books don’t have things like misspellings or unnecessary apostrophes, I have turned my attention to the cover design of the books. I’m working with Cathy Davis (www.daviscreative.com) who I already knew to be an outstanding designer because she designed the covers and interiors for some of my clients’ books. Their book designs were compelling, intriguing, professional – in short, beautiful. I feel lucky.

First, Cathy and I, plus my VAA Janica Smith (www.janicasmith.com), spent half an hour on the phone talking about the general plans for the book. Because this is not just one book, but a series of seven, Cathy suggested that they all have commonality of design and color, yet could stand alone as individuals. Yes, that’s it, I said.

Then Cathy emailed me a bunch of more detailed questions about my vision for the books, what I wanted readers to feel or know by reading them, what colors or images came to my mind when I thought about my books, and other great questions that made me think.

I answered her questions as best I could. I said that haiku can be deceptively simple, deceptively plain, understated, sometimes tender, sometimes stark. It whispers straight to your heart, but does not scream in your face. I wanted the cover to somehow express this “haiku feel”.

In response, she sent me several ideas with slightly different layouts, colors, images, fonts. We went back and forth a few times, trying a photograph (a gnarled tree or a grove of trees seen through mist?) or a color (dark green or soft turquoise?), or a font (block print or slender italic?), or layouts (centered or flush right?). I gave her my opinions, and she gave me hers. If her opinion differed from mine, she also gave me her reasoning. Since my focus was on the words and their meanings, and hers was on the images and their effects, this didn’t always match perfectly, but often did.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the layouts, colors, images, and fonts we eventually agreed on, except to say that it wasn’t long until she sent me a cover design that made me go, “OMG, that’s It!”

Now it’s onto the internal page design. I’m excited to see what she comes up with. I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it.

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