The Dog Stays In the Picture


Just call me  Jean Angsty Whatley, I’m so damn full of angst. Don’t know why..

Oh yes I do. I am going to have to get a real J-O-B now that the book is being birthed in two stages, which could be considered by some  to be cruel and unusual punishment.  Oh the labor. Don’t get me wrong, I am as happy as a little girl, but we’re having cover issues, for the print edition of the book. The ship has sailed on Amazon, it’s up there, for sale, a mere $4.99. At 100K words, that’s a bargain — each word only costs .00004941. 

My publisher, for whom I am grateful, has been talking with the seller fellas who will end up hawking the book to the bookstore buyers. The seller fellas weren’t too keen on the dog the open road on the cover. I find this interesting. I get where they’re coming from, they wanted something a bit unconventional, “fresh.” Quirky was another word they used. Okay, I may meet their criteria on two out of three.

But, I did a little research with three local, independent bookstores today and just laid it out to them. I gave them my three line spiel about Off the Leash — and then showed them these two covers below and asked them which one they thought would FLY off the shelf. I’m not gonna tell you what they said. You let me know what YOU think. 

Jean Road Sign Book Cover

The Texas chain saw massacre, nope, I’m crazy — the Texas road sign cove

So I get back home  and open up an email from  one of my Kickstarter backers, Ray. He sent me $60 dollars last year, after coming across my video pitch on Kickstarter. I have never met this man, the first time I ever heard of him is when I got a funding pledge for $60. And he mentioned in his introductory email that he has three dogs. I wrote back and said, “$20 bucks per dog, eh?” and he laughed and said “yep.” That’s pretty damn sweet, isn’t it?

Off the Leash Kindle Cover

In the beginning….there was this cover.

One year after the fact, I am finally getting around to featuring all the dogs from my Kickstarter funders on my Facebook page. But I knew that Ray would have a tough time because earlier this summer, Ray had sent me a note letting me know his beloved Copper had passed. It broke my heart for him. I sent him a book called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant.  

I asked my friends who gave the book to me when my 14-year-old-dog Pete passed away, if they would be offended if I gave that book to Ray. They said they thought that would be nice. Ray said he liked it, figured Copper would like the biscuit part of dog heaven the best. So Ray gave a total stranger $60 to help fund a dream. I gave Ray a $12 book to try to help him over the hump of missing his dog.  I’ll bet you $60 he passes that book on to somebody else some day. Dog people are like this. 

And sometimes stubborn. The dog stays on the cover.

Ray’s three pack of dogs. Copper in the back, (God rest your soul) Skye front left and Noa. That’s a lot of dog.

About Jean Ellen Whatley

Writer. Dreamer. Sometimes schemer. Journalist/memoirist/observer and sometimes constructive irritant. Prisoner of demon muses. Mother to four humans and two dogs. In my spare time, I delete phone numbers of former boyfriends.

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  1. It’s between these two covers? They’re crazy if they don’t use the one with the dog and the highway heading off into infinity. I might use a different font but I’m a word person, not a graphic designer, so what the heck do I know.

    I mentioned to my 90-year-old mother-in-law that I’d bought your book and how much I’d love to just take off like you did. She’s ready to go. It’s a good thing we took away her car keys years ago.

    • Hi Karen! I don’t know you, but honey you sure made me laugh this morning! I want to be itching at 90 to hit the road again! I am still smiling about this. I will pass along your comments to my publisher. Thank you very much for buying my book and please tell everybody you know. It’s a viral thing. God bless.

  2. New cover is okay BUT to add some warmth and “heart/emotion” connection to want to buy it you can still put you and Libby over on the left edge behind the words “Off the Leash.” And/or maybe move the background photo to the right a bit, then you two would look like you belong in the photo. Just my two cents!

  3. Dear Jean, as a dog lover, the cover of your book drew me in. Then when you spoke at Saturday Writer’s, well, end of story. I’m sold and can’t wait for the book to come out in print version. (I’m old-fashioned – give me the feel of the paper between my fingers anyday.)

    • Hi Sheree,
      Libby’s a tough negotiator. Not only is she getting to REMAIN on the cover, she asked the designer to shave off few pounds. I left the Saturday Writers (Missouri Writers Guild) meeting so uplifted, you have no idea what you all did for me that day.

  4. Thank you for the tribute to Copper. He was my buddy. Copper was a big chicken when it came to strangers in the house. Chows are often thought of as mean and vicious, but Copper would hide after giving his deep, scary bark when strangers entered the house. Some Chows can be aggressive to other dogs or small animals. Copper only terrorized squeaky toys, dog food, and treats.

    As for you $60 bet on the book, I will gladly send it to you if I don’t pass the book on to a fellow dog owner.