the non-writing part of publishing a novel

I’ve spent some time these last few days talking to the illustrator who does the maps for the endpapers of the novels. Her name is Laura Hartman Maestro and she does beautiful work, for many different publishers. My end of the deal is to supply her with all the maps I used in my research, along with supplemental materials such as drawings of buildings and ships, and then give her an idea of the range of the maps I’d like to see. It’s actually a lot of fun, and very satisfying. I got it all organized and color copied at Kinko’s and then I sent it off to New York by FedEx, came home and wrote for a couple hours.

Now the artist who’s doing the cover has been in touch and needs a different kind of commentary from me, and that’s also a part of the process I like, though it’s much more fraught with anxiety than the creation of the map. I like the concept for the cover, and I think it will turn out well. But I’ll admit that I’m a bit obsessive about book design and cover art. I’ve been known to buy books that didn’t interest me at all because I was so struck by the physical fact of the thing. With different mentoring as a teenager I could have well ended up as a graphic artist somehow involved in book design. Does this mean I want to design my own cover? Probably that would be a bad idea; I’d spend a year doing it and get nothing else done.