I like line drawings, comic and cartoon art. I like images that pop in thumbnail-sized cover previews on Amazon. I like a balance of illustration and negative space, with touches (or more) of 1 or more strong colors. The mood of the book is a mix of melancholy and hope; the title, "Slide a Mirror to Me," is a line from the opening poem, which describes retreat/anxiety after trauma:
The desire to be seen
Slide a mirror to me
under the door,
here, in this dark room,
and I will find a way
to flash semaphores.
Thank you for considering the project!
NOTE ADDED OCT 29, 2017:
Here is a list of some images/moments from specific poems that might make interesting covers:
1. The back of young woman's unadorned head, looking in hand mirror and seeing a young woman in a crown or tiara
2. A pair of empty boots from the back, laces askew, with superheroes in Batman-style blue and yellow on the calves. (Technically, the shoes aren't boots--they're walking braces worn by a friend who had part of her foot amputated. I've attached a photo, below, in case this image inspires you.)
3. A young woman and a blue whale (the last poem is called "The Blue Whale")
4. A young woman's hands holding a picked bouquet of hydrangeas, possibly blue hydrangeas (there's a poem about chopping down blue hydrangea bushes)
5. A young woman (not girl) in a red riding hood, probably with her face downcast, so that she is more generic (all the poems have the same narrator, and in one poem, the narrator is an older red riding hood, aware of her own foibles, "still climbing in bed with wolves")
7. Vintage paper doll(s), perhaps with cheerleader outfit(s), OR a simple string of cutout paper dolls (there's a poem called "paper cheerleaders" about people who cheer only until the going gets tough, with the lines, "cut-out paper dolls unfolding from white paper… / pieces of you, missing / that harsh hands snipped away...."
8. Palm-up, loose-fisted female hand--fingernails being examined. (The core poem in the collection is called "Fingernails." It's first image is a psychotherapy student who learns to examine her fingernails to seem inattentive, which gives women space to talk about their traumas.)
I appreciate all the submissions so far. Thank you so much, designers!
NOTE ADDED 10/30/17:
Hi, designers! Halfway through the contest's submissions period. Thank you for your many beautiful entries.
Feedback from readers who've been looking at your entries...
1. They're excited, and they'd be happy with most of these covers!
2. Female readers, especially, love several of the stock illustrations you've featured. They love the illustration in #22 but worry that it reads "too young." The narrator is an adult, and the poems touch on sexual harassment and sexual assault. We hope the cover will invite adults and young adults, but not children.
3. Male readers hope I won't choose a cover that turns other men away from the poems. For this reason, they so far like the covers with paper dolls best. The book has a strong female point of view, but it's also true that most of the poems were previously selected & published by male editors. Reaching my whole potential audience is a tricky balance that I might not achieve, but I invite designs/elements that invite as many readers as possible while communicating the adult female POV.
4. Everyone appreciated the font in #23 for how it reflects/engages with the title.
5. Everyone loved the more intense color palettes, as in #23, 30, 39. Scrolling through the book covers, they pop out.
6. I'm drawn to the covers that include original illustration or substantially transform a stock illustration. I've used Photoshop, though not lately, and it will be harder for me to choose a design that is almost "straight off the shelf," so to speak. (My readers don't know/care about this, however, and if you've found the perfect stock illustration, I will choose your cover with delight.)
7. Some of your designs don't fit these notes, yet I love them for other reasons, as I've tried to let you know privately. Thank you, and hope your week goes well!