Writer, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Business Coach

Jean Wilson Murray

Help me select a cover for my first novel, A Hill of Beans. iStock_000010235656Small book cover

I wanted a cover for my new novel for several reasons, but mostly because I want to use it as motivation to help me finish the book. I admit it – I need all the inspiration and push I can get. My plan is to print out the cover and use it as my desktop, and put it where I can see it every day.

Here’s how you can help:

Read about the book then click on the contest link and select the cover you like best.

About A Hill of Beans

The premise – An older woman survives the disaster that thrust the world back to the 18th century, only to confront an evil threatening her Midwest town.

Audrey Larkin, age 60 and retired, lives in a town in Iowa. In 2018 an EMP hits the town and who knows how much more of the U.S. (An EMP is an electro-magnetic pulse that wipes out all electricity and electronics and communications. It also stops water pumps, appliances … you get the idea.) No one knows how it happened or how long it will be until “the Grid” is restored. The town’s physical structures are left untouched, but many die in accidents during the initial blast and all must learn to survive without modern conveniences.

The story initially focuses on how Audrey, her husband Robert, and their neighbors and friends who must learn how to survive. As they work, they see strange things happening at the shelter across the street and the more Audrey and her friend Carla learn about the shelter’s director, the more concerned they become.

The title comes from a line in Casablanca:

Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

The phrase “a hill of beans,” has the meaning of “something of little importance.” I like the irony in this phrase, because it’s only by a few people taking on the issues in their own neighborhoods that this “crazy world” can be changed. Who knows what could be the large effect of small actions, like Rick’s sending Ilsa on the plane with her husband, or Audrey’s fight to free the people in the shelter from the evil that controls them?

Here is the link to the contest: 99designs contest: Cover for A Hill of Beans

In case you are curious about 99designs, they are an online site to allow individuals and companies to find designers by posting contests for artwork – for logos, t-shirts, web pages, mobile apps, advertisements, illustrations and more. I have worked with them on web design and other projects. Under their new format, you select the level of payment you want. I chose the lowest level, knowing I would still get good designers. The higher level of payment the more designers, and the more designs, you can attract.

After I got designs, I began rating them, communicating with designers collectively and individually, to clarify what I wanted. (“I don’t like the woman’s hair,” “Can you make the color brown for fall?” “This is a small town, not a big city.”)

You can guarantee the payment – or not. I waited until I saw that I had some acceptable designs, then guaranteed the contest. Designers like the guarantee, since they don’t want to put a lot of effort into a contest that may not pay anyone.

I had over 100 designs to choose from – some designers submitted multiple designs. I selected finalists and now I’m deciding on a winner. I like the timeline – it’s pretty tight, which is fine. Only a few days to collect initial designs, then more time to select a final winner. If you’re considering this, plan on spending an hour a day at least on communicating with designers during the initial phase. Then some time getting comments (as I’m doing) and deciding on the final design.

Thanks for participating. I would appreciate your comments on the novel, the title, and the quality of the designs.



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1 Comment to “Help Me Choose a Cover for My Novel”

  1. Mama Bean says:

    It sounds like a good read, and I like following your progress on here. (Already voted on cover.) Goodspeed on finishing it 🙂

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