On July 6, nine months after beginning to write it, I submitted the final manuscript for My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography, to the formatter. I feel good about it. It’s close to as good as I could have done by myself. I look forward to getting feedback about how to improve it and what to do with it.
The only person to have read the entire book, Bob Anschuetz, a retired English professor who provided line editing services for the book, has written the following for the back cover:
In this extraordinary autobiography, lifelong community organizer and social activist Wade Hudson traces his adventurous journey in search of an authentic life rooted in “deep community”—an association with others that combines activities aimed at fostering mutual support for personal growth with active efforts to create a more compassionate society dedicated to the common good. In detailing an amazing array of personal experiences, from community organizing…to involvement in the human-potential experiments of the 1960s counter-culture…to leadership roles in some of the most meaningful social movements of our times…to driving taxi for a living, Hudson shows that the capacities for compassion, caring and authenticity do not come easily. He portrays his own development with rigorous honesty, revealing the many sides of his personality, admitting his mistakes, and acknowledging the ways in which his experiences have changed him. These testimonies from the heart, and the personal struggles they reflect, produce a fascinating life story. They will also encourage readers to develop their own capacity to love themselves and others, and to live their lives more fully by working with others to help build a better world.
Tracy Atkins, who helped with the formatting, commented, “We have enjoyed working with you, and really like your book and what it stands for. Great job and extraordinary life.”
Though those comments are encouraging, I have no idea what to expect with the book. All I know is that writing it was a great learning experience for me.
Concerning the cover, some 35 individuals gave me feedback to my “Which Cover?” post. I very much appreciate all of the input. It heartens me to see that so many of you care so much about the book.
About 60% of those favored Option B, the one with the yellow and purple background. That was my initial favorite as well. Some of the comments in favor of that option included:
- I prefer the yellow and purplish cover, Wade…seems to me it represents a “higher learning.
- Family and I think the bottom cover is a softer look. Of course, these are all women, who picked the bottom cover. (four of us)!
- Totally intuitive on my part, but it has a softer, more heart-centered feeling to it, ergo more reflective of the title.
The comments in favor of the “red/orange”option were longer and more substantive. Those comments included:
“A” the red one . . being placed in the center of the cover instills strength and balance .. the colors are striking and in a book store will make you pick it up. The lower design has you placed ready to slip off that edge. Not so attention grabbing. Nice colors but NOT working well with you slipping off the edge ..in my humble opinion
A is stronger than B because:
1. It uses a strong, positive colour – a red or orange (true reds, such as crimson (bluish) and vermilion (yellowish) are best for this) – which lends you authority AND makes you more attractive to both men and women – so the psychs say!
2. It places you centre-stage, where you should be for an auto-bio.
3. It has you facing in the (conventional, left-to-right reading oriented Western sense) forward rather than backwards.
B gives the impression that you are sadly (blue tones in the violet sky) looking back over your life, perhaps about to cry in your beer that “It was better, back in the day”! 😉
A gives the impression that you’re looking forward confidently to continued successes.
I don’t know Wade. If your autobiography is mostly addressing spiritual issues then B seems most appropriate. If it is more pragmatic or advice oriented then I would choose A. Spiritual books usually have the misty backgrounds and the bright red looks like a more earth bound manual type of a book.
As to the cover choice, I myself had no trouble deciding on it quickly. Definitely, it’s the top one, both for the type and the layout. A great portrait, by the way. You look like a modern-day Walt Whitman. I would, however, like to see an added line of space between the book title and the top of your hat….
As an addendum to my earlier cover-choice message, my impression is that you SHOULD be looking into space, and not squarely at the reader. To me the book represents you as more of a visionary, or prophet–even a bit of a loner–attached to an uncommon cause (deep community), rather than as simply a good guy looking to make friends wherever they’re available.
Regarding the cover layout, of the two I prefer A, in which the position of your face invites people to open the book. Suggest a larger and less ornate font for “My Autobiography” – italic is still ok, but find a font that’s more legible, without the curlicues. Regarding background color, my preference would be to stay away from purple / pastels which to me suggest this is a new age or self-help book and do not convey strength the way a strong solid band of color does in A. For the solid band, orange would not be my first choice (perhaps a deep burgundy?) — in any case either color will likely work well to draw the eye and convey a sense of strength.
So I’m going with A, the red/orange option. Thanks again everyone!