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Zen Peacekeeper.







It’s tough finding a cover you can live with (aka the author’s prayer)

Friday, August 10, 2012 by Marianne Elliott

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I am very lucky to have a tolerant, understanding editor at Sourcebooks. Not least because I have strong ideas about what should, and should not, be on the cover of the US edition of Zen Under Fire.

To illustrate – earlier this week, an email exchange between my editor and I led to the following chain of events:

1. Me writing a short essay on Edward Said‘s critique of Orientalism’s objectification of Muslim women; applying my understanding of and concerns about said ‘Orientalism’ to the covers of a variety of popular memoirs about women in the Muslim world.

2. My editor crying a little bit and asking her friends and colleagues to remind her to NEVER take on a human rights lawyer as an author, EVER AGAIN (NB: I didn’t actually see this part, but I’m using my imagination and empathic abilities to fill in the gaps).

3. Me despairing, (I can be a wee bit dramatic sometimes, which may be one of the reasons I fit in so well in war zones), and tweeting this:

4. David Michael Moore, aka the Retweet Artist, illustrating my tweet:

I was appropriately amused and distracted.

But NOT distracted enough to forget what I was worried about in the first place. Which leads me to the prayer of the author who isn’t established (for which read, bankable) enough to negotiate to have final approval of her own cover…

Please, let it be beautiful. 

And if it cannot be beautiful, please let it be compelling. 

And if it cannot be compelling, Dear God-of-Books-and-the-People-Who-Write-Read-and-Love-Them, please let it not be offensive to my friends in Afghanistan. 

Amen. Namaste. Salaam. Shalom. 



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3 Responses to "It’s tough finding a cover you can live with (aka the author’s prayer)"

  1. Karen C says:

    Love the illustrated version of your tweet! Who knew that book covers liked juice LOL!
    Sending lots of thoughts of appropriately beautiful & compelling book covers that will reflect the beautiful & compelling story inside especially for the people who don’t yet know the equally beautiful & compelling author. =)

  2. Lisa McKay says:

    The author’s prayer. Ha! So true. My mama said that Zen Under Fire hadn’t arrived by the time she left yesterday so don’t know what’s going on with that. My dad is likely coming out next week so if it gets there in the next week he can bring it out.

  3. Roxanne says:

    The illustrated tweet is beautiful! I have heard the difficulty of finding a book cover that is honest and compelling and respectful from many authors, but you articulate the particular challenges beautifully, Marianne. Looking forward to your US cover!

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