When we sent our first book, “The Art of Joinery,” to press 15 years ago, I was teaching a class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking in Kentucky and got a phone call from the pre-press shop.
“The interior folio looks fine,” the voice said. “But what are you going to put on the cover?”
I stood there, dumbfounded. John and I hadn’t even thought about the cover.
So on my lunch break I grabbed my laptop and whipped up the cover above in about 15 minutes. I laid out the text and thought: Should we put some image on the cover? I quickly scanned through the images in the book and – with about two seconds of thought – threw the dividers on there. I sent the cover to pre-press and ran back to finish the class.
And that is how we got our company’s logo – dividers.
Believe it or not, it took a while for us to catch on that our books needed cover images. When I worked in corporate publishing, the cover and title were things that were settled and discussed by people way above my pay grade. So it wasn’t something I thought much about.
So “The Essential Woodworker” went through the same oh-crap-I-forgot-the-cover process as “The Art of Joinery.” It really wasn’t until “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” that my head really began thinking much about our books’ covers’.
These days I spend more time working on the cover – though we don’t fret over the marketing aspect of it. Like all aspects of our books, the cover is a joint decision between the author and me. So many times the cover is remarkably unmarketable. Which I love.
Now that we have Megan on board as the full-time editor, I have more time to breathe, think and look beyond the flaming crisis of the day. So this week I spent some time redesigning the cover of “The Essential Woodworker” by Robert Wearing, which is one of our core books. We are in the process of reprinting it for its 11th printing, and I don’t know when the new cover will appear. Likely this fall. And I don’t know if the cover cloth will be blue. Cloth shortages are wreaking havoc with our titles. (Have you seen the new cloth on “With the Grain?” I like it, but it wasn’t our first choice – or our eighth.)
Some days I am amazed we are still in business.
— Christopher Schwarz