The Art and Business of Book Covers

I took a graphic design class with a professional who made a living largely on designing book covers. The things you can do with Photoshop are phenomenal!

Longreads

When I moved out of my previous home, I donated more than three-fourths of my book collection because I was moving into a tiny space. I had no logical process for deciding which books I kept. Some were sentimental, with handwritten notes written inside; others were souvenirs I bought during my travels. These books seemed obvious to keep. Yet I was also inclined to keep hardcovers I’d never read or even opened, simply because the covers were attractive. All of these books, together, would represent my best self — the one I wanted to display on my shelves.

As I read more online, and since my physical shelf space has dramatically shrunk, I wonder: what makes an eye-catching, effective book cover? Which books will make the final cut?

Here are pieces I’ve enjoyed, new and old, about the art and business of book cover design.

1. “Judge This: The Power of First Impressions.” (Chip Kidd, Medium, June 2015)

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Never Enough Time

“The best laid plans of mice and men…and Henry Bemis…the small man in the glasses who wanted nothing but time. Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself. Mr. Henry Bemis…in the Twilight Zone.” -Rod Sterling, The Twilight Zone


There are days when I’m on top of the world and days when I’m at the bottom.  More the latter, it seems.

Honestly, where did everybody go?  I had minor surgery and concentrate so much on job searching, I’ve only just recently noticed several writers I followed on WordPress have either left or locked up their blogs to selected readers only.  Is there something going on with WordPress no one has told me about?  It’s like a scene from The Twilight Zone where a man wakes up and finds everyone gone.  I hope I don’t break my glasses.  Where ever you all have gone, I wish you well and hope you stay in touch!

My erratic and anxious mind makes it difficult to explain if I am doing well or not.  I have a hard time looking at my success and failures from an objective point-of-view.  I am still applying to jobs and it feels hopeless at times, yet I am getting interviews this year for the first time since 2007.  I have dozens of jobs on my Indeed.com list and I spend some days just staring at the list with the feeling I have no enthusiasm for any of these positions.  Sometimes I apply and sometimes I don’t apply at all.  Even the library positions provide me no zest.   My computer used to give me joy, but now I see it as just a job search kiosk.  Whether I get up early in the morning or sleep late well into the day, there’s never enough time.  I have a hard time having fun or enjoying anything until I’m assured of a job.  Ironically, this anxiety makes me postpone applying and I just surf the Net for hours.  It’s a Kobayashi Maru problem.  It’s June and I thought with my new vigor and job hunt strategy, I would at least have a part-time position now.

My job coach has encouraged me to apply to non-library jobs in addition to librarian jobs.  I’ve gotten several interviews for retail jobs, but I can’t help thinking that my bachelor and master degrees weigh against me in those positions.  It doesn’t help that I’m an introvert and I have trouble showing “enthusiasm” for anything, even if I genuinely enjoy it.  You just have to believe me when I say I want the position and would do my best at it.  My word is all I have.

The myth I’ve been told about libraries refusing to hire people with Master of Library Science (MLS) degrees due to pressure from the American Library Association (ALA) apparently isn’t true.  I have been getting calls and invites to interview for paraprofessional positions now.  The fact that they are considering me means something has changed in the library world.  In academic libraries in my area, you have to have an MLS for part-time positions.  A few years ago, even a year ago, this would have been alarming.  I’m not sure what the ALA thinks of these new developments, but I’m always glad the ALA gets proven wrong.  Being a ALA member certainly hasn’t given me an edge or opportunity.  There’s also a greater chance those in my position who got their degrees from the height of the Great Recession might have a chance at a job now.

It’s a mixed bag with this blog post.  Some hope and some despair.  It’s better than my last post, but it could be brighter.  I suppose things will get better in time.  I feel, though, there’s never enough time.  For anything.