A Book's Cover Design Is the First Good Impression You Can Make on a Reader.

We all have one regret in life. There is so much talent running loose in the world, and I know we’ll never find it all. I won’t even scratch the surface.

Fortunately, Twitter and Triberr have introduced me to really fine writers like Bert Carson, R. S. Guthrie, Christina Carson, Jack Durish, Jo VonBargen, Lana Lynne, Julia Robb, Robert B. Lowe, Maria Granovsky, Mae Clair, and Gae-Lynn Woods.

Those mental exercises that deal with 140 characters even took me across the big water to find talented novelists, short story writers, and poets like Emma Calin, David Atkinson, and Claude Nougat.

And by hanging around the Northeast Texas Writers Association, I ran across such great wordsmiths as Jory Sherman, Jim Callen, Patty Wiseman, Gay Ingram, and Jim Ainsworth.

Stephen Woodfin and I grew up on the same city streets of Kilgore.

So did John Crawley and I.

But words, not hometown familiarity, brought us together years later.

Woodfin’s legal thrillers keep the pages turning until I’m exhausted, but I don’t dare slow down. I’m racing to the finish. I can’t help myself.

And Crawley’s psychological thrillers surprise me every time. I should have seen the plot twist coming. I never do. He’s good that way.

I’ve had the privilege of working with one of the world’s most recognized travel photographers at Southern Living Magazine, Gerald Crawford.

And I share the same DNA with the creative photographic genius and novelist FC Etier. To me, he’ll always be Chip.

But what are words, what are great photographs, what are great illustrations if there is not an art director who can skillfully take the pieces of a disjointed puzzle and turn them into a creative masterpiece.

Jutta Medina can.

She is German. She still speaks with a heavy German accent.

A marriage brought her to America.

Good fortune brought her to Texas.

She walked into the Dallas publishing company where I worked one day.

“What do you do,” I asked.

“I am a graphic designer,” she said.

“I’m looking for an art director.”

“I can do that, too.”

And no one ever did it better. She and I worked on magazines together. We produced big, full-color, coffee table quality books together.

Her creative ideas were brilliant.

Even when I disagreed with her, she had better ideas than I did.

And no one was easier to work with.

She and I left the publishing company and went our separate ways.

After my wife Linda, Stephen Woodfin, and I launched Caleb and Linda Pirtle to publish novels but mostly help other authors promote their books, we all knew that it was critical to produce superb book cover designs.

That had always been vital.

In traditional publishing, a book cover had to reach out and attract a reader’s attention as soon he or she walked into a bookstore.

Jutta Medina: A Portrait

Now it’s even more important.

The trick is being able to design a book cover that is still compelling when reduced small enough to appear on Amazon or barnesandnoble.com. It is extremely difficult to make cover designs look good on postage stamps.

Jutta Medina can.

She has designed so many of our covers, and she doesn’t mind working with us until she gets them right.

Generally, Stephen and I send her little more a title and a log line that defines the novel. Occasionally, she will call or email and ask a question or two.

That’s all she needs.

And the results speak for themselves.

We think she’s great.

We like her a lot.

If you’re ever looking for a strong cover design, you might want to email Jutta Medina at [email protected].

I’m betting you’ll be glad you did. Just look at the work she’s produced for us. I have included a few of her cover designs on this blog.

I don’t think New York could have done better.


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