Beautiful Book

My editor recently sent along a sample of the design of the inside of the book. It is gorgeous. It really does a good job of marrying the contemporary with the nostalgic old photos by using a scrapbook aesthetic. It’s reflective of the food in the book, as well as of Mrs. Rowe, herself, an American icon. I could not be more pleased.
Designers amaze me. They have this gift of taking words and making them more concrete with using the right fonts, colors, borders, and techniques. It just floors me. As an editor, I worked with some pretty talented designers over the years. The smart ones really listen to editors and writers. I don’t mean designers “take orders” from editors. What I mean is the publications design process is one of creative give and take. An interchange of ideas, words, and images. This process is one of the things I miss most about working as an editor.
Sometimes designers get carried away and editors have to rein them in. The purpose of designing a book, for example, is to make the read enjoyable, not to detract from the story by offering a lot of distraction. Cookbooks are different, though. When I read a cookbook, I want the design to be pretty and I want the recipes to be pleasing to my eye and easy to read. I don’t know if my sensitivity to this is because of my years in the business or not. But sometimes I get so annoyed by the design, or the use of fancy fonts and weird spacing, that I can not read the book.
Of course, I am like that with words, too. If a book is poorly written, then poorly edited, I can’t stand it. One of my pet peeves is the difference between “that” and “which.” If I find that/which used incorrectly throughout a book, I can’t read it. It’s too distracting. But I digress.
Back to the design of this cookbook and how amazing it is and how it made me feel.
At some point a book just begins to feel like work—most of the excitement is gone. Then it seems to ebb and flow between fear and excitement. Maybe dread. After all, an author is putting their name on a cover and along with all the good stuff that comes with that, there is often criticism, and let’s face it, that makes the author a little vulnerable. I know I feel like this sometimes.
At times, it also feels a little unreal, as well. I know some people think I am crazy when I talk about my book. I’ve been talking about it for years. Most people don’t realize the years it takes to write a book, let alone publish one. I know there are some that suspect I am making it up or that the publisher simply won’t publish it. (This attitude kind of annoys me. But I don’t give too much energy to feeling angry about it.)
But with the fruition of this design, the book feels very real to me. Not only real, but exciting. In fact, I want to scream about it from the top of the Blue Ridge. It’s almost here! It’s almost here! And it is BEAUTIFUL!

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