An Open Letter to Joelle Fraser

Ben Garrido's Author Page

Joelle Fraser is a memiorist and (soon to be) novelist. She has been published by Random House and Counterpoint Press to critical acclaim. She is also my editor. This interview will cover her first book, “The Territory of Men.” The Territory of Men follows a young Joelle as her mother bounces from man to man to man. On the surface, this is her mother’s search for enlightenment and equality but, in my opinion, it is also the story of a woman looking for a man to impose identity on her. The book plays on the tensions between women’s lib, the appeal of bad men and childhood. 


Dear Joelle,

I mean this in the most positive possible way, but reading your book disquieted me.  The reason, I think, why your book had this effect on me has to do with my continuing and, as yet largely unsuccessful, quest to figure out…

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The Passion Of Lovers

The passion of lovers is for death said she, The passion of lovers is for death

Love, exciting and new.  All book designers should fear the day where love is theme for the book. I fear those days, I do. Not because I can’t do it or because I am not exactly a fan of romance. Because you might end up with the cover shown above.

It is a good cover, for the genre. Good type, well placed, the photo itself is really nice. The woman is beautiful without looking like an artificial model, and the lad looks fit but you can’t see his annoying six-pack. All round a good, competent work, and I am sure the designer will be happy with it – and so will the author and publisher.

You know what is the problem with it?



Book Design Blog


I have to admit that a lot of book covers look the same. The market often dictates what a cover should look like. Stock images play their role in covers looking very similar, as well as unqualified designers working on book covers. Ultimately, it’s the designer’s job to do the research and to come up with a unique looking cover.

Another reason is sales and market. The sales and market dictate how a cover is designed to a large extent. Especially true in large publishing houses. Perhaps not for all, but certainly for some. In many cases, it’s not about getting the right story from the author across. It’s about what will sell. Sometimes not a bad thing, and sometimes we could challenge this way of thinking a bit more.

So let me say this as simply as possible. If you work closely with your writer, editor, designer and marketer…

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First post. Always small and confused


I created this hopefully unpretentious blog to write about the process of creating book covers. My English might not be always Cambridge standard, however I hope my ideas and thoughts may flow anyway.

In my many years of experience I had the chance to work with very different publishers, from vanity publishing to crime and fiction, photography, etc, and this is the experience I wish to talk about and reflect – perhaps even help someone who is starting in this terrible, soul-destroying industry.

As I dont consider myself the best in terms of introductions, I will move quickly to my first real post.

Thanks for visiting.