Monday, March 14, 2016

Author Marie Bacigalupo Talks about her Cover for 'Ninth-Month Midnight'

Knowing how important a cover is to the commercial success of a book, I researched a number of resources, some of them free. Ultimately, I decided to go with a professional. I chose Ellie Augsburger, an illustrator at Creative Digital Studios, and provided her with the following information:

-target demographic: women 21-55

-emotion the cover should arouse: I want to remind women of the unbreakable bond between mother and child, as elemental as sea and sky, and I want them to feel the excitement of a sexual relationship that satisfies soul hunger as well as sensual appetite.

-theme: Life keeps reasserting and replenishing itself, like the tides of the primordial ocean (this theme finds an echo in the “cradle endlessly rocking” line of the Whitman epigraph).

Ellie did the ebook and paperback versions of my novella and needed specs for both. For the ebook, I asked, as Amazon required, that she produce a .jpg file size of  2820x4500 pixels with a 300 dpi/ppi resolution in portrait orientation. The title had to be instantly readable, so bold fonts were in order, as were simple images. For the paperback, Ellie needed the number of pages (202) and copy for the back cover.

Ellie proved to be a gem to work with. She was open to my ideas and patient with my suggested revisions. Coming down to the wire, I crowd-sourced different versions of the cover among Facebook friends, including a black-and-white version. They chose the cover depicting a pregnant woman in silhouette against a moonlit backdrop of purple-tinged ocean and sky. This cover felt thematically resonant to me, and potential readers seemed to like it, so we went with it.

For the back cover, Ellie requested and I provided the following:

-blurb: Ninth-MonthMidnight is contemporary women’s fiction at its most compelling. Struggling for years to conceive and tortured by secret guilt, 33-year old Dolores Walsh finally gives birth to a daughter only to lose her four years later to cancer, a loss that transforms Dolores, once a willowy brunette, into a zombie-like chain smoker and threatens her sanity.  Against the wishes of her husband, she attends the séances of Salvador Esperanza, a charismatic male psychic who promises to make contact with her dead child and who ignites a desperate passion in her wounded heart. But who is Esperanza? Is he a selfless savior or a self-seeking seducer?

Find out more on Amazon!


A former copywriter and administrator, Marie Bacigalupo studied creative writing under Gordon Lish at the Fiction Center and participated in workshops sponsored by the University of Iowa and Story Magazine. Her work has appeared in The Examined Life Journal; Romance Magazine; New Realm Magazine; Perspective Literary Magazine; Spark: A Creative Anthology; and other publications. One of over 7000 entrants, she won First Place in the 13th Annual Writer's Digest Short-Short Story Competition. 

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