Kinsey Illustration Posts
For your interest… Weirdest Book Titles
Even though I am a designer, I often find myself brainstorming titles for our books at Cedar Fort Publishing. My team (two editors, and acquisitions editor, and two designers) likes to work together. And we like each other. (Also this staves off boredom)
Here is EVERYTHING you need to know about titling a book that will go to press and influence millions of readers.*
- Begin with a list of suggestions given by other people familiar with the book (In our case these are usually the suggestions of the author. Some of these will be amazing. And sometimes they are reiterations of the exact same three words but in different combinations. Making us ask ourselves “Is Abraham Lincoln:The Story Behind the Man better than The Story Behind the Man: Abraham Lincoln?”)
- Decide all these suggestions are terrible and venture out on your own.
- Read selected pages of manuscript(mns.) looking for clues that might lead you to a gripping title. (Decide that Mr. Sheep Needs Time to Sleep may sound amazing, but is totally out of context for the title of a children’s book mostly about things you like to do with your dad.)
- Begin looking for alliterative title options (This is where the process begins to go downhill fast. The more obscure old english you need to delve into in order to get that perfect alliterative word, the better. Ex. The Besmirched Bishop)
- Take words at random from the mns. and combine them.
- Make those combinations into alliterative titles. You may also try forced rhymes.
- Make a list of all these titles and bring them to the production meeting. Allow the board of directors to enjoy them.
- All the titles are rejected. (Why?! They were so good!!)
- Do steps 1-7 between one and seventy more times. (This depends on how close the book is to it’s release date. Sales likes to have lists of books with their titles and covers designed around 6 months if not earlier before the release date so that the buyers at bookstores can look the books over and choose the ones they like. If the book desperately needs to be on sales sheets then repeat steps 1-7 but with a billion more stress feelings.)
- Decide that one of the author’s suggestions would actually be perfect!
- With a few tweaks…. repeat process from step 1.
*Names and specifics are changed so that I don’t lose my job/reveal industry secrets to the competitors
I got the text for this book, about 70 words because its a board book, and I started thumbnailing. It’s much less intimidating to draw your ideas in tiny form. Who cares if it looks perfect!? Its just a baby drawing.
The book used to be way bigger and was supposed to have maps in it. Then there would be these little temple stickers you put in. But in a meeting it was decided that this would cost too much. I still think it would have been pretty cool.
Sketches for Approval
The approval process is a crazy beast. I try to figure out what they like, so the first few approvals are always rough. I also (try to) never take things personally. I drew it, but it doesn’t mean I’m stupid if it gets rejected.
But on the other hand it DOES mean I’m a spectacular artist if they love it.
It’s available to purchase here.
I thought it could be cool to share how I illustrated this book and how the press process works. I learned a lot (as I do every single day at Cedar Fort) and I feel soooo lucky to work where I do.
This was a fast project. Like insanely fast. This is because the original illustrator contracted for this book ran into some problems, and kinda just told us that he wasn’t ever into doing it. Unfortunately he told us this the week after the final cover was due for sales sheets.
I’m a graphic designer at Cedar Fort, a publishing house in Springville, UT. I’m also often in charge of finding illustrators for projects. I LOVE this part of my job. I like the contract negotiations. I like taking their stuff to meetings and helping the sales team and head of our company see the illustrator’s vision, and then going right back to the illustrator and helping them see the vision of the company.
Sometimes translation between non artist people to art speak is hard. Especially when “No, I don’t like this spread. Redesign.” actually means, “Please change the colors of the trees and sky and make the children a tad bigger and suddenly I LOVE this spread.” Happens ALLLL the time!
So anyways. As the only illustrator member of the design team I was perfectly placed to pick up the slack and take this project.
The next post will tell you how I begin my illustrations and a bit more into the (never ending) approval process.
What a wonderful thing is was to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!
Click on that if you’re curious about what the heck I was doing for 18 months.
Also, look what I’ve been working on with Mark Mabry since I got back a week ago.
For the next year and a half I will be serving as a sister missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I will be serving in the Illinois Chicago West mission.
If you’d like to learn more about missionaries and what they do visit http://mormon.org/missionaries.
See you in 18 months!