Book Cover Choices - Please Share Your Opinion!


I would love your input on two potential choices for my upcoming book, to be published in February of 2010.  Please vote for the cover you prefer – I’d also love specific comments on both covers, both positives and areas where they can be improved.  Ave Maria Press and I appreciate your sharing your insights and opinions!

Cover #1

cover 1

Cover #2

cover 2


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.


  1. I kind of prefer the first cover. It’s more “handbooky,” if that makes sense. (I’d prefer the second cover if it was just the lower image. I don’t care for the split images very much.)

  2. First off, I buy a lot of books and I also use the library. I am a self-professed bibliophile.

    I get different impressions of the book depending on the cover.

    1. Whimsical, easy read, not too challenging, looks like a lot of other “mommy” books that will be shelved together (might get lost there), looks more aimed at the 20-something mother. (I am making an assumption that it won’t apply to moms with older children or with an empty nest.)

    I wouldn’t buy this copy because it doesn’t look unique. I will assume that I have other books with similar information.

    2. More of an introspective, relaxing, self-help type book, more applicable to all age mothers, good for quiet time.

    Is that a picture of you or a model? A picture of you would make a stronger statement, like “I do this, not just write about it”

    The only negative is that it resembles, from 1st impressions, a dozen or so other New Age or Buddhist books which talk about “nurturing your heart, body, mind, and soul”. Maybe it needs more detail or some symbol which is distinctively Catholic to emphasize that it is a Catholic book. (I see that it says Catholic.)

    I am afraid it would alienate or cause people not to look at it by judging it by its cover. When I am at Barnes and Noble or another bookstore, I am quickly scanning the shelves looking for something in particular or something useful. I need something that screams at me, basically.

    A Catholic symbol on the spine might help too as some books are not shelved with their cover visible.

    Overall, I like the 2nd option.

  3. Erin Bartholomy on

    I like them both, but they are very different. If I were book-shopping and not looking for your book specifically I would definitely be more drawn to the second one, though. However, I do not like the model used in the second one. She’s attractive, but she doesn’t look like a “real mom” (i.e. I don’t believe that she’s really a Catholic Mom reading your book). I also did not like the way she’s dressed (shirt too short in back). So I would vote for number two with a change in the model image. That being said I also really like number one. Hope that helps.

  4. Lisa,

    The book sounds terrific and I look forward to reading it… however, I can’t really relate to either of those covers. I have never in my life sat down next to a quiet stream to read my Bible or any book, and I doubt I ever will. It’s just not real.

    Real life for a Catholic mom is a house in all its family “glory.” Toys, dishes, laundry, controlled chaos. I’m not suggesting a cover that depicts a harried mom amidst a messy house, but rather an image that says to me, “this book will help you nurture your heart, mind, body, and soul without having to leave your real life and go off to a quiet spot by a beautiful stream. Right here, in the middle of your clutter and laundry, you can be nurtured.”

    Give me something real I can grab with both hands and identify with. Otherwise, it’s just a reminder of what my life is not and will never be. It may be unfair, but I might actually decide not to buy the book if the cover is just a pretty picture I can’t see myself in at all.

    I hope this helps somehow. I don’t mean to be critical; just trying to give you honest feedback. I really do look forward to the book!
    God bless you!

  5. I like both covers, but if I had to choose I’d choose the second one. The first cover is cheery and positive. The second cover I like a little better because of the colors and the scenes, especially of the woman reading the bible.

  6. I like the first one. It looks friendlier and easy to read. The other is nice too but seems more serious almost like a manual. Colors are bold unlike the first one which are soft and so not in your face. When I read your post or twitter comments you come off as, now don’t laugh, but delicate. Granted the meadow softens it. I think it’s more of the thick black strip in the middle. Sorry my 2 cents worth is long.

  7. Thanks to all of you for honest feedback which is definitely what we’re seeking here!! I didn’t design these and am simply looking to gather as much information as possible to share with the publisher. For the record, that model is ten times cuter than me!! Keep those comments coming!

  8. I really love the second one. Why? Color, photo of woman. Seems peaceful and edifying (reading a book). If I were a woman I could think that it was me. I could be peaceful and edified by reading the book.

    Lisa, this is wonderful!

  9. #1 looks more like a handbook – like it would have assignments and worksheets inside of it

    #2 looks more mediative – I like the colors better – and am more likely to purchase a book with the image of a person on it

    The “Nuturing Your Heart Mind Body and Soul”

    seems like it should say something more like

    Nuturing Your Heart Mind Body Soul and Children

    or Nutruring Yourself To Be a Better Mother

    — Basically if it’s about being a mother the emphasis should be on others – we nuture ourselves to better nuture others – seems to ME focused ( I know we need to take care of ourselves – but ultimately why? to better care for our families )

    or alternatively it could say Nuturing For The Heart Mind Body & Soul of The Catholic Mother

  10. If those are the two final cuts, then I’d go with #2.

    However, after reading Jennifer’s comment above, I have to nod along. If it wasn’t for the fact that YOU were writing this book, I might not buy it either. I’m not a cover designer, so I guess I’m not much help. The first one feels too whimsical, the second too much like a life I will have when I’m retired (maybe).

    I do think covers are important, though I’m buying this book no matter WHAT the cover looks like. (Not helpful, sorry.)

    Good luck! Many prayers going to you and your publishers and you get this rolling and ready for all of us!

  11. I think the first cover is more appealing to me – it would seem to be an “easy read” that a busy mom would want. The second cover while appealling reminds me of a fiction novel and not a Catholic Mom handbook. Also, Jennifer raises a valid point about busy Catholic Mom – an imagine of a Mom sitting on the couch with her book with laundry stacked and folded and toys on the floor might grab someone too!
    My 2 cents for what they are worth – my vote is for the first cover.

  12. Not sure why, but the second one jumps out at me a lot more. I’d chose cover #2. No matter what cover though, we’re looking forward to bringing this book home and adding it to our collection!

  13. I prefer the second one. The first has an appealing design but the second is more eye catching. There’s also something serene about the visuals. For harried Moms with busy schedules, that might be a hook to get them to consider the book.

  14. I like the first one, only because it’s simple and pretty. However, I do love the photos in the second one, but not the split image. It looks too “busy.” Also, the woman’s shirt doesn’t seem to be long enough in the back….Do I see skin? Maybe my eyes just aren’t very good? Can’t wait to read it when it comes out! 🙂

  15. I prefer the first one. The second seems to promise I will be relaxing by a stream while reading it. With 5 boys that would mean I never get to read it. The first seems to imply I could grab reading time as fits my life. 🙂 both are nice

  16. Constructively and honestly:

    I must agree with Joy. I wouldn’t be ready to jump on either. I think a real person is better and perhaps number 2 communicates more about what the book really is. But, you really may want to consider a picture of yourself – you’ll need to do a photoshoot… I think the draw of this book is your expertise and all you’ve gleaned both as a mother and the creator of

    I would want something more personal. More special. With both of the above books, I feel like I’ve seen it before. I don’t see anything with the Catholic identity which I assume is rich in your book.

    I also think Jennifer and Sarah’s points are important. Something that illustrates with a thousand words (in other words, a picture) that this is for moms of different aged kids in different walks of life, etc. Maybe something like a scrapbook page showing different women in different phases of life.

    1. Ten kids in tow at Mass
    2. A new baby in the middle of the night
    3. Walking two kids to the park
    4. Taking a prom picture of your teen
    5. Dancing with a son at a wedding.
    6. Maybe you and your boys could be the center picture.

    I also liked the busy mom taking a break picture idea. That would stand out and that would speak to me.

    Holy Spirit help Lisa and her team make the right decision. Guardian angels guide and protect her.

    God bless –

  17. Cover 1 looks sort of ‘crayon’ to me. That’s fine for ‘fridge art, but not what I’d look for in a book cover, unless it happened to be a drawing with children book. 🙂 It gives me the impression that this is the kind of book that doesn’t take itself very seriously, it’ll be an easy read, probably fun, but it’s not likely to be challenging or all that deep.
    Cover 2 already begins the work the book promises to do: nurture heart, mind, body and soul. 🙂 I can almost hear the little frogs, birds, and crickets…the gentle breeze, lovely fresh air. It’s inviting, almost immediately putting me in the mood to find a nice big rock and start reading.
    I’m a little puzzled by the subtitle, though. How does heart differ from soul in this context? It would be strange to be talking about the soul as such because it is not the kind of thing that can be nourished in this way, so it seems like you’re really talking about the heart twice….which is stylistically at least awkward, while also redundant. I hope that helps!

    People differ, so opinions on the cover will probably be pretty diverse, but I’m sure the book as a whole will be a blessing to all.

  18. Jackie LeBlanc on

    I love the second because of the colors and scenery, but also because of the quiet, meditative time the mom looks like she is enjoying. I agree with Cay Gibson – makes me want to find a book and start reading.

  19. Dee & I just spent some time with the book covers… we also spent moments looking at the feedback of your many friends and followers… we vote for book cover number two. It is so exciting to see your name in print this way — and like so many, we can’t wait to see you ‘on the stands.’

    In keeping with good old Chicago voting practices — we’ll go around to all the Barnes and Nobel stores.. all the Borders…. all the Books A Million… I’ll keep asking the staff: “Say… have you got that new book by that new author Lisa Hendey — something about a Handbook for Catholic Moms?” We’ll help create a groundswell of excitement! Blessings. dt/d

  20. I like the 2nd one. it is peaceful and calm, matches the title well.

    Ps I admire your work, I am not a Mom…yet, just a young Catholic woman, trying to spread faith as well 🙂

    God bless you!

  21. well I like them both but would like to know what is inside of the book in order to choose which cover .
    I like the first for more say the at home mum stuff getting through the laundry , dishes , driving kids stuff like that .. like a sort of daily inspirational thing .
    Then I absolutely love love the second cover . I totally disagree with Jennifer lol because It is so me . I am a real mum , a real catholic mum lol
    I do this type of work each and everday in my intercession .
    I do pray everyday outside if I can . I indeed get at times up to two hrs of prayer a morning to myself and I am still a catholic mum and have been to 6 wonderful kids 😉
    so for me the second cover offers a more deeper option for a book with say deeper meditations for a mum alone for reflection etc.
    am I making any sence at all ?
    I guess I have not helped in that I see each cover would represent a different type of book for a catholic mum … so both books are perhaps needed 😉 maybe that is an option for another book
    so for me on a personal level I identify with the second book cover .

  22. I like #1 because it doesn’t define what a Catholic Mom is supposed to look like. Catholic moms come in all sizes, races, and colors. The first book speaks simplicity to me and simple is good when I am reading a handbook. Good luck with the book! Cay Sonnier Gibson sent me here.

  23. I like them both, but I prefer the 1st one. The 2nd one looks a lot like Alice’s recent book “Haystack…”, and if it were me I’d want my book to be more unique.

  24. Patricia McClure on

    The second would attract me right away if I was shopping, it puts me in mind of the republished classics and I would definitely check it out! However, the first would be easier to locate when wanting to make references and referrals to others!

  25. I like number 1; it looks like it belongs in the nursery. But, either way it will be good – you have two good choices.

  26. Liked the 2nd a lot. Hated the 1st.
    Too much like a hippie flower child feel.
    My 2 cents……Hey does this earn me an autographed copy????

  27. hands down the second one…I’m a reviewer and honestly, the first one is too “soft” and not definite enough….the second one is relatable and inviting and REAL…… it………………….

  28. Neither cover really grabs me and I’m with that other person who said the covers don’t realistically portray the persons who would read this book. The design of the second one is kind of disjointed – I don’t see a huge connection between the two pictures and I don’t think it reveals at all what is inside the book.

    I agree too that you should be pictured – I love the whole idea of “I walk the walk.”

  29. It depends upon the tone of your book. The first feels like a Daring Book for Moms, Catholic style. It seems a bit light. The flower is pretty but not indicative of Catholicism. The second evokes a contemplative element and would be more likely to entice.

  30. Both images are very appealing, but I don’t think they convey what is inside. That said, sometimes you’d like to draw in someone who might be put off by the weight of the message inside, and for that they work. But otherwise, women do tend to deconstruct the cover models (even us!) and make judgements accordingly.

  31. I hope this isn’t repetitive but I stopped reading the many comments after about 10.

    The first design is CUTE, but not so serious. As many have said, it has a “dated” look to it. “Dated,” not “retro.”

    The second design is nice but I do not like the model at the bottom. Rather than a split-screen nature picture, I’d prefer a single image–preferably one with a religious feel. If it must be an outdoor picture, then how about an exterior view of a church in a beautiful setting? I just don’t think that model works…and I too have an issue with how she’s dressed. Besides, I only have three children but believe me–I don’t get to sit beside some lake with my Bible and meditate the day away. Show me a picture I can relate to.

    If I were designing the cover and not including a picture of a person in it, my first thought would be to show a day planner, pen, rosary and teacup.

  32. Isn’t it weird that authors have no real say over the cover??? Never quite understood that one.

    I think I like #2 best. Maybe I just like its implication that if I buy the book, it will show me how I too can find time to sit in a peaceful outdoor spot and read! That said, the orange field seems kind of random; not so into that.

    I’d buy #1, though, too, so I’m a fat lot of help. 🙂

    I haven’t read all the comments above, but I do echo the people who mentioned the fact that it would be good to have something that looks a bit “Catholic-y” — maybe work Mary in there somehow? But maybe I just say that because I’m rather into Mary.

    Anyhow, I’m beyond excited to read the book, regardless of the cover!

  33. Cherie Sutton on

    I like the second one, but agree with some that perhaps the split image is not needed? The bottom picture could be the whole cover. That being said, if these are the two finals and you have already gone through a huge process to distill it down to these, I would vote for number 2. Can’t wait to buy it online!!! Love, Cherie

  34. For what it is worth, I think the cover could be better designed.

    Although I like the layout of cover #1, the flower reminds me too much of Flavia or a carton design for a woman’s product. Perhaps more dynamic colors or a real flower would be more appealing.

    I agree that cover #2 is a bit disjointed. I love the vivid colors and design with the scenery, but the girl looks like an after thought. She should be more integrated into the picture.

  35. Hi Lisa,

    The second one is definitely my choice. They are both nice, but the look of the second one is more appealing to me.

    Great job on your new book release!



  36. Hi there!
    On first pass – the second cover because of its calming effect. Then looking at it closer – the top part (Catholic Mom part) reminded me of the Land of Oz – with all the flowers – (poppies?) not the effect I think you want to achieve with the title of the book…the two pictures just don’t seem to go together. Either do the lake front with trees or a flower garden – not two different ones

    The fist cover reminded me of a first grade workbook – especially the color scheme.
    Hope this helps!
    God Bless –

  37. Speaking as a 27-year-old husband (not a daddy yet), I like the first cover because it is evocative of a MOTHER rather than just a woman or just a wife. It makes me think of a woman who has children under her care. The second cover doesn’t give me that feeling.

    At the same time, the second cover feels more personal and gives me a strong spiritual impression. I think the first cover would work better with a different color scheme and maybe something else that makes the spiritual dimension really stand out. The second cover would work better if, instead of just a field of red flowers on the top, it had, say, a mother holding her children’s hands while walking through the field.

    Just my two cents.

    By the way, I’m coming out with a book in a week or so, on the new English translation of the Mass. If you’re interested, check out! Thanks, and have a great weekend!

  38. I definitely prefer the second book cover. It’s much more welcoming and appealing (in my opinion) to the senses.
    Thanks for the chance to offer my opinion!

  39. Lisa, hopefully you’ll be able to sway the minds of the ones in charge of the final cover pick based on what you go back to them with from all your wonderful comments and constructive feedback…

    Not more I could offer but my opinion: cover 1 – I was put off by the shade of green and the flower. One of the commenters used the word “whimsical” & it’s the perfect word… I kept envisioning it with a different colour background – any chance they could change the shade of green and make the flower a cross?

    I love that the woman on book cover 2 is reading the, it could just be me but it doesn’t jump right out that it’s the Bible until I really look. The whole peace and creation idea – it’s definitely more striking aesthetically and appears more pleasing to the eye…

    Wishing you continued success and heavenly blessings in your venture!

  40. I surely can’t go into detail describing why I prefer one over the other like others have, but in my humble opinion, I like #1 the best. Regardless of the cover, I can’t wait to read it!

  41. I’d like the 2nd one without the woman, just the nature scene (maybe an image of motherhood from the animal world, like a mother and baby deer?) I also like the first, but it could use more color or something…Best of luck to you!

  42. I agree with the “whimsical” comments — it almost looks like a chick lit book. #2 looks more like food for the soul. But I’d be interested in buying it no matter what it looks like!

  43. Sara Fox Peterson on

    I prefer the second cover. The title also seems a bit awkward to me. “The Catholic Mom Handbook” would be better.

  44. I like the first one better, it’s more ‘personal’ and ‘mom-like’. The second one is too slick, too professional, more distant.

    I don’t agree the model on cover #2 is dressed inappropriately. It’s how a Catholic moms I know are dressed. You cannot possibly expect someone dressed covered up from head to toe, it’s not the Muslim mom handbook after all…

  45. Theresa Smith on

    I’m very excited for you, Lisa, and look forward to reading it!

    I prefer #2 – it’s very well done. The only thing I would change is to add sleeves to her top. That might entice other Christian women to pick up a copy as well. Some of your audience might see her top as slightly immodest and not read the wisdom that I’m sure you’ve included in the book. It would help you better evangelize to our separated sisters in Christ.

    Blessings to you – hope the book bears much fruit!

  46. Meg Bartholomy on

    I’m with Erin, but for different reasons. I say Number One! I think it’s friendly without being childlike. Plus the little clover reminds me of a cross.

    I understand the appeal of the images in Number 2, but I don’t think the layout is very balanced. Also, the blur/gradient on the top photo of Book number 2 looks sloppy to me.

    This is exciting!

  47. I much prefer #2, Lisa, primarily because it has an emotional impact and makes it clear that this is a serious book for moms, not their kids. I also like the subliminal sense of solitude and serenity. What mom wouldn’t like to think she could catch a few minutes for herself anyplace except the bathroom?

  48. Hi Lisa,

    Wow, my head is spinning from just the few comments I read. Can’t imagine how you feel!

    I’ll just tell you how the covers made me feel at first glance…

    #1 – Like I could handle reading it, that it would be a light, yet very helpful book to read, not too overwhelming, but still a book with substance.
    #2 – A bit boring, like it might be too “heady” for me when I don’t have time to get too deep into a book right now.

    No matter what, I’m sure it will do well!

  49. I think the colors on no. 1 make it seem older, maybe out of date. It’s a bit boring for my tastes.

    No. 2 is definitely more eye-catching, but I agree with Joy Rebello in that it struck me as a bit “new-age-y” as well. Something Catholic (a church? sacramental?) would help!

    I also second what Kate says in comment 26 about the “mom” image and Barb in comment 49. The split image is not the best look in my opinion.

    If I had to choose one as is? Number two all the way.

    Enjoy this process! Can’t wait to read the book!

  50. Lisa,
    I definitely vote for cover #2. It looks very powerful, yet peaceful, and really draws you in. The first cover seems to me a little too quiet and well, flowery. Anyway, how exciting!

  51. Hi Lisa,
    The first one appeals to my sense of peace and serenity, but the 2nd one caught my attenion more, probably because of the color scheme. I buy quite a few religious books, and I’d probably pick the 2nd one off the shelf to look at it.

    So happy for you!


  52. Hi Lisa, The first one is really pretty, but I think I had more of a connection to the second one. I think I would be more likely to pick and buy #2. Can’t wait to see what you do pick. Both are really great. -Linda

  53. I agree that they are both very appealing, and it took me a while to move toward a preference. The second has a prayerful feel. There is a visual impact of holiness and dedication. Only suggestion would be to consider an asymmetrical affect by increasing the lower section slightly. The best to you!!! (When’s the first local book-signing event?!!!)

  54. I prefer the second cover. Just looking at it makes me crave solitude and some alone time with nature and with God, and isn’t spending time with Him the best way for busy moms to nurture their heart, body, mind, and soul? The first cover is a bit too cutesy for my liking.

    How exciting, Lisa!!!


  55. Cover #1 is my pick. The colors & artwork are light & refreshing. Also it avoids the caucasian photo which can shout “middle-class white woman” and could be a little off-putting to moms of other ethnicities. For example, as the mother of an asian child, I find myself (even unconsciously) skipping over catholic children’s books that do not depict children of multi races. Best of luck and I’ll be keeping an eye out for it when it hits the bookstores.

  56. Patricia Truty on

    I think I like the first one, but cannot articulate why. Maybe just because I saw it first, which isn’t a very valid reason. My graphic artist husband prefers the second. He said it looks better.

  57. I like them both but they each say something different to me.
    #1 looks more like light reading and more whimsical
    #2 looks like it would have more deep information and things to really ponder

    Can’t wait to read it!

  58. I like them both and intend to buy the book regardless! I will say the second one look a little more “contemporary,” which can be good ior bad I suppose.

  59. I definitely like the 2nd one & I like the model, too. I do think the too-short top should be air-brushed, though.

  60. I like the second one the best. The colors are brighter which cheers me up just by looking at it. I also like the real life images. Even though I won’t be reading the book by a stream, the photographs imply that this is a book for real life.

    The first cover, as others have said, looks too retro, and a bit like an elementary school workbook. As a twenty-something mom, I would not be inclined to pick it up.

  61. Second cover for sure. I wouldn’t be drawn to buy or read the first one, it looks a little too childish. The second one has bolder colors which draw my attention and the picture is more thought-provoking, leading me to believe that the material inside will be as well. The second one simply looks more like a mature handbook full of wisdom. Congratulations to you, Lisa!

  62. #1 because the other one is so age-group and ethnic-group focused (young white woman) and because it makes it look like you have to be alone to read it, instead of the reality of motherhood!

  63. I have my own funny dog memoir about to come out BAD TO THE BONE: Memoir Of A Rebel Doggie Blogger (Kensington Books). I know how important covers are, mine has my adorable mug on it.

    I like the first one, if I saw it I would go pick it up. I like the second too but find it rather distracting, the way it’s broken up. If it used only one of the pictures than I might choose the second, I would have to see it. That being said, the picture on the top portion reminds me of something that would be on an art book. The second picture, while tranquil, sort of makes me think of a cover on a romance novel. I don’t know why.

    The top one is whimsical, and I think draws you in. That would be my pick, #1.

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