One More Idea


Okay, how about this….. Here’s the way it was:
And here’s hay photoshopped into the barn to take away from so much black. (I do actually store hay in this area also, but there’s none there now.)
I’m sorry to everyone who wants the Maia under the door, me in shorts, shot but that’s not happening!


  1. ruralrevival says:

    I vote for this one with the hay photoshopped in!

  2. bonita says:

    Well, the photoshopped hay and cropping help a lot to mitigate the problems with the original shot. And yet, we still cannot see your face, and you occupy only about a third of the shot. However, you seem dead set against the profile w/chicken shot, so this one, by default, is probably the ‘final’ choice. Maybe we’ll get to see your pretty face on the cover of your next book!
    (I get how agonizing a decision this can be. I’ve been in cover meetings that raged on for hours, and the pix didn’t even have authors in them.)

  3. DeniseS says:

    I like the addition of the hay, and seeing the cover with the hay photoshopped, I now understand why your publishers thought the all black doorway did not work. If you have to redo the photo,maybe Maia sitting at your feet and a few more chickens on the ground. Don’t know how hard that would be, but if you can do that, it would add a few more animals in the barn door. If you prefer chickens only on the cover, maybe the additional ones can be coaxed with the cracked corn you have said they love. You have many photos on your website with chickens moving and they are not blurry. Just a suggestion.

  4. Robin Wrenn says:

    The photo without the hay is way better. It’s more welcoming to me with a sense of mystery and possiblities. The hay looks phoney. That is probably because we saw the first picture before the change. If we had never seen it then the hay filled one would probably be ok. It’s a terrific picture though of you, I think, that shows what you and your farm are all about now.

  5. lissablack says:

    I think it looks just fine.

  6. Rose36 says:

    It’s probably too late now but….. the shot with the hay added looks like some really poor quality brown grass, the lines are too exact (never saw hay stacked so straight) and it doesn’t seem proportionate to you.
    I too would like to see more of your face!

  7. Peggy in KY says:

    I agree with Robin. The hay looks fake and I really liked the light shining through the slats of the barn behind you in the original. Maybe adding more peaks of light in the original would help. The hay appears to be crowding you.

  8. GrammieEarth says:

    I’m thinking the hay looks past its expiration date, and you have gotten farther away. Not as inviting. Oh how good we are to sit here in our computer chairs telling you what you should do! :moo:

  9. Peggy in KY says:

    how about this. Remove the big stack of hay to your right. Leave the hay behind you and allow that beam of light to peak through as if you are inviting all to see the rest of your world.

  10. crannynanny says:

    No hay-no way–still like publisher’s choice.

  11. zshawn says:

    Agree with those who say the hay looks fake. The hay at the bottom of the book title looks more real/fresh. I don’t like that you are a smaller portion of the frame with the hay. If they can find a better lot of bales, I think some hay would look good and add to the composition. In the end please yourself… know what they say!

  12. Lierin says:

    The problem I see with the hay is those straight edges. I’ve never seen a hay bale that doesn’t have wisps of hay poking out randomly. Those bales look like they’ve been shaved πŸ˜€

  13. bbkrehmeyer says:

    Wished you could go w/ the head shot. That is a beautiful photo.
    The hay????? “no way Jose”. Its way fake…..

  14. saitisntso says:

    You know the barn is the star in first photo, and the giant shredded wheat is the star in the second pic. (Sorry Barn!)
    Let your animals run willy nilly in and around while holding chicken. :moo:

  15. yvonnem says:

    Better without the hay…

  16. Fran says:

    The photo shopped hay looks a little fake because what farmer has bales of hay that close to the door?
    Can’t wait to get the book. Your writing reminds me of growing up in West Virginia.

  17. denisestone says:


  18. GA_in_GA says:

    Better with hay, but not the hay that was photoshopped. πŸ˜€

    One thing about the potential cover photo with you holding your hen, is that it reminded me strongly of the cover for “The Dirty Life.” I don’t think you’ve found the right photo yet.

    Aren’t we helpful??? :hug:

  19. boulderneigh says:

    I think adding the hay makes it too cluttered.

  20. WildTrails says:

    Ha, you can go crazy trying please everyone. But as long as you are photoshopping, I like Peggy in KY’s idea about removing the hay to your right and letting that daylight show through the wall slats as in the original. Your face will be seen ok assuming the cover is quite a bit larger than then the “hay” photo on my screen.
    Then put a close up of your lovely smile on the back cover inside or out like many authors do – this photo, or that one with the wine, cropped in close around your hair and hat would be beautiful. Though your passion and enthusiasm is shown much better in your “open door” smile.

  21. stableperson says:

    The hay stacked in is ok but it is not stems up and down (proper for drying. It is also not stacked in a barn for storage they are just in there in piles or thrown about. All the bales are well… photo shopped in by a non farmer.

    The hay looks like wheat straw. The bale by your leg could be where it is but the rest of the stack should be stem ends up on each side of an isle and stair stepped back and up if some is missing. Each layer of the stack should be alternating eastwest northsouth then repeat.
    You can be prissy about your hair and I can be prissy about hay πŸ™‚
    I would be glad to send you a couple of pictures to use for photo shopping hay. (Free is good) My barn is just like yours, you have better hair and I have better stacked hay.
    At this point I am still for no hay unless the hay is presented “better.” It is your COVER after all.

  22. riverhaven7 says:

    Don’t like the hay….looks fake, bad color, just yuk. You deserve better!

  23. Country Blossom says:

    Can we redo it all and get a pic of you walking on the ridge with your parade of critters? Trees gorgeous green in the background. Dapples sunlight. You. Dogs. Goat. Maybe add a cow or horse for giggles.

  24. alosyu says:

    I like the one without the hay better — it has more depth. You can see light coming in through the slats in the back, giving dimension to the inside of the barn. The hay blocks that light, looks almost 2 dimensional, and it looks like a prop. Maybe if you only have some hay on the right side (directly behind your body), you would then still see the light coming through the back wall. But really, I don’t think you need the hay at all.

  25. stableperson says:

    Ok I got that out of my system.

    Peggy’s idea is good too and WildTrails. Lierin is so right… the bales rows are always not even at the aisle and with the stem ends stacked up and down every other row bulges a bit because of the wires making the hay have a double waist. Which is why getting rid of those bales on the right would be a good compromise. I like the slat light that shows through too.

    If you go with their ideas then also properly stack the hay that is stacked on the left(stem ends up and down and layers alternating eastwest northsouth) and choose between the hay at your feet on the floor and the straw in the bales so that the storage and the spillage make sense.

  26. PaulaA says:

    I’m voting that the hay looks photoshopped. Everything that makes that shot the winner still does, IMHO. The pose is natural. The chicken is comfortable. The doorway and your pose are inviting the reader in. If you put all that hay in the doorway, how can I get in? I assume the ones with the horses and you leading the cow are out of the running, but I love how unrehearsed all 3 of these look. Somehow, putting the hay in takes away from that.

    Isn’t this FUN?!! So excited for the book.

  27. Faith says:

    NOT jealous of this job you have…naw, you don’t make me jealous, you inspire me, but still this must not be as fun as farming, writing, cooking, baking or blogging. I am the same age as you but I do feel like my grannie when I keep saying to you, a picture closer up of your face would be nice. I think you will figure it out, good luck.
    p.s. The new one is nice.

  28. Leaves of the fall says:

    πŸ™‚ everything’s better with hay.

  29. Jane L says:

    I like this as an idea, but the hay is too obviously photo shopped to be used imo. If you can make it look natural, then I think it would be good. My “I don’t like the pink” comment caused quite a firestorm;) I was definitely out-voted there!

  30. twiggityNDgoats says:

    The hay looks the wrong size, like itty bitty bales so it does look photoshopped. I like the natural one MUCH better. It is so mysterious and inviting. Makes you want to come in and explore.

  31. Artsychef says:

    I like the idea of leaving the hay on the right and removing the other and letting the light through. It is a barn, after all. If possible, bring yourself in closer. Stage another animal (Maia, etc.) or several to your right, and/or stage small farm equipment, like a wagon. This adds interest and fills the space. For the back cover, use the same shot except with your toasting with the glass of wine instead of opening the door. Do not use the loft shot. Oh how I wish I were there to set the scene up…not that your current photographer isn’t plenty capable and talented.

  32. Erin F says:

    I don’t think the photoshopped hay is particularly well photoshopped either… why why why is the horse shot not an option? I love the shot with the horses…

  33. AnnieB says:

    Okay, I’m sayin’ this without reading any previous comments. I like the original, with all the black. I REALLY like the pink against all that black, and it doesn’t clash with the red barn for me. I think the hay detracts from those great color contrasts. I vote for the original doorway pic!

  34. AnnieB says:

    And another thought – if you’re going to photoshop something into the doorway, why not one of your lovely animal friends? Someone with some color contrast, like Coco or Gwenie?

  35. kayrotz says:

    I like the photo without the hay better.

  36. WvSky says:

    First let me say this: The photo with the hay Photoshopped WAS JUST A QUICK TEST. IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO LOOK PERFECTLY REALISTIC. It was simply a quick idea. If however it’s decided that the hay looks better, then A REAL hay photo will be re-shot and I guarantee that you will never know it wasn’t there all along. So what you’re looking at is an IDEA… NOT the finished photo.


  37. catslady says:

    If you don’t like the shorts maybe you can photoshop some pants but keep the goat picture πŸ™‚

  38. brendyblue says:

    No hay. It looks fake.

  39. WvSky says:

    People often don’t read the previous posts….

  40. holstein woman says:

    I realize the photo shopped hay looks fake, but the colors are great and it looks like it would work.

  41. SuzieQ says:

    Jerry, the hay idea is good. I don’t think people realized it was just an “idea” shot. :snoopy:

  42. MousE says:

    I like the hay idea. But I’m also liking the original. So I’m torn. I think…. whatever you like best.

    But the hay idea is a good one! Might make the publisher happy, and that’s good, right?


  43. MousE says:

    ps Jerry – keep up the good work!


  44. Maribeth says:

    I like picture wth the hay added!

  45. Diane says:

    I do not like the hay. It’s a bad Photoshop addition. Please do not add it. Once its published you are really going to notice that it was added in. I like the first one. You can see the back of the barn and the light coming into the building. After all its a barn. The idea behind the hay is good but it would have to be a much better job adding it in to make it appear real. The image with the hay looks fake. I”m surprised your photographer even presented it to you. He takes beautiful photos I would think he would put as much time into his Photoshop work as well.

  46. Diane says:

    Also accept the fact that your are a beautiful woman. The shot with you holding the chicken in the barn loft is one I love the best. It show’s your face nicely, and you have a lovely smile too. I would have to agree with the publisher in that it would be nice to see more of you in the door way and less black in the back ground on the barn door shot.

    OK done putting my 2cents worth in. Cant wait to see the final product.

  47. WvSky says:

    Diane…. you didn’t read the previous posts about the Photoshop.


  48. buglady77 says:

    Jerry, very few people read previous comments! I figured that was just a quick mock-up to show concept. I actually like the idea. I vote to try this one again (you’re awesome for taking all these shots!) but please ask Suzanne to let her face show!

  49. Goldenval says:

    I do believe you’ve nearly found it. Just photoshop the straight edges out of the piles of hay to make them realistic. I like this picture because it’s almost like you’re saying….”Hi welcome…come-on in!” as your holding the door for us. Like welcoming us into your new book.

  50. mschrief says:

    The more I look at this photo, with the hay, I agree with another reader about the photo drawing you into your world, like “come let me show you my life”…

    Really like this one.

  51. prvrbs31gal says:

    I like the shot with the hay, but the photoshopping needs work.

  52. whaledancer says:

    I think it looks fine with or without the hay, but if the publisher wants less black then I think the hay is a good idea. But it needs a more professional job of Photoshopping to get rid of the straight edges; hay bales aren’t that tidy in real life. I think if they did that it would lose the phony look.

    Are you sure all these varied opinions are helpful? LOL. πŸ™‚

  53. WvSky says:

    Again… this was a quick test, and not the finished photo.


  54. saitisntso says:

    Why not just do the obvious take a walk on the road with chickens and the rest of the brood.
    I read all the posts and picture looks like goat is being squished in pic. My posts are about peeps whom don’t know about chickens in the road. I know that pic won’t be option, but boring pic of barn and hay or barn while holding one chicken is boring for someone unaware of Chickens ITR. You should have one more chicken or dress up in a chicken suit thus, representing the plural of chickens.

  55. Robin Wrenn says:

    I’m just going to say this and get it over with. Everytime you ask for suggestions or too many people try to help, or have questions or suggest and you don’t like it, you blast us. It’s gotten worse lately – I know you’re stressed but it makes it hard to comment on stuff. Apparently nobody understood that the photoshopped picture wasn’t going to be the one used. How could we know- we are not mindreaders. AND people rarely read the comments BEFORE responding so you ARE going to get a lot of repetition. Give us a break, and stop having such a fragile ego. We like you, we like your blog, we are not out to hurt you in any way. But we are all seperate entities – so if we all seem to say the same thing there might be some value in taking that into consederation and try to understand our side of things. I’m sorry to be the one to say this to you, but I think it needed saying or your blog might start losing a lot of readers. Yes it IS your blog and we don’t have to read it if we don’t want to . But we would like to want to, and comment, and not get blasted. Enough said. Please try to understand the readers side also.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Robin, in the previous post, even after Jerry commented explaining that it was a quick mock-up, comments continued to be made re the poor photoshopping. A lot of people just don’t read the comments, even if they’re going to leave one. I wrote about the mock-up being a sample only in defense of Jerry, not myself! Because people DO read the post and I didn’t want to leave Jerry hanging out there with people thinking that was a true example of his photoshopping skills. Many many comments were made pertaining to me personally and how I look, including that I’m too old to wear short shorts (LOL) and hiding behind my hair and all sorts of things which I haven’t commented on, so my ego must not be all that fragile.

  56. CassieOz says:

    My 5 cents for what it’s worth. The open door with you in it is the most welcoming shot and invites the reader in so beautifully. A little something behind you would be fine but not too much or you loose your ‘presence’. We are all so looking forward to the book and wish you all the best for smooth publication and publicity.

  57. VictorianGirl says:

    I love the photo with the barn door and the hay, it looks so countryish and inviting. I do agree that your hair should be somewhat pushed back a little so more of your lovely face can be seen. Can’t wait until the book is out so I can purchase one. Really looking forward to it!!! Best wishes and congratulations to you Suzanne.

  58. UlrikeDG says:

    I like the new mockup best (besides the one with the horses, which is not an option).

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