I now ask you to help me choose a cover for my new book, “I Live In Chile”. This is important because readers tend to “judge a book by its cover.” We live in a hyper-sensitive world where time, especially free-time, is a precious commodity. If a book cover does not appeal to a reader, there are few people who feel compelled to give the book a go anyway, despite not being attracted to its external cover. This is why I ask you for your help, because books are judged by their covers, and I value your opinion.
Culture: Big C & Little C
Culture can be the surface variety (holidays, traditions, customs), or it can be the daily variety, (created by a shared linguistic heritage). The first kind of culture, the surface variety, I call “Big C”. The second kind, the daily type, I call “Little C”.
In my new book, “I Live In Chile” you will find both of these expressions of culture. Above this, I will share my life in Chile, my personal experience, in terms of what it has been like for me to live in Chile as someone who assimilates into the Chilean culture, rather than maintain a separate cultural identity. Hence the title: I Live In Chile.
In Chile, Big C is determined often by the date of a holiday, a festival, or a celebration. It is an annual event, a recurring ritual, something to look forward to, to enjoy, to spend time in the company of those whom we cherish most.
In Chile, Little C, on the other hand, is present everywhere, every day, all the time, 24/7. It finds its fundamental referential source in a shared linguistic heritage. To give one example, the phrase: “más perdido que el Teniente Bello” is nonsensical to anyone who does not share a linguistic heritage as a Chilean. Translated, it means, “I am more lost than Lieutenant Beautiful”.
Of course, that’s utter nonsense. I know that, and so do you. What it really means,however, is, “I’m badly lost, and I have no idea, no clue at all, as to where I am.”
When one digs deeper (my source is Mr. Manuel Gallardo), one finds the original incident that give birth to the phrase. It seems that on March 9, 1914, a person named Lieutenant Alejandro Bellotook off from the airstrip at Lo Espejo.
It was a solo flight, and his objective was to complete the final requirements to obtain his pilot’s license. This was supposed to be a round trip flight (Lo Espejo-Cartagena-Lo Espejo). Lieutenant Bello was never heard from again, giving birth to the legend that is expressed in the phrase, “más perdido que Teniente Bello“.
Now you know. Now we know. I classify this shared bit of linguistic heritage as “Little C”. A tourist to Chile is almost guaranteed to return to their country of origin and never knowwho Lieutenant Bello is. I also seriously doubt that anyone will ever hear the English equivalent phrase:
“I’m more lost than Amelia Earhart“. No, because in the linguistic heritage of the USA, we have turned the early pilots, who often flew under conditions no sane pilot would attempt today, into national heroes. The early mail pilots, for example, flying without proper instruments, were often lost and never heard from again. These men and women were treated as heroes.
Heroes and heroines they became, and none more so, than Amelia Earhart. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, a feat that was obviously not accomplished by Lieutenant Bello. Nonetheless, to be fair, though we revere her memory, she is just as lost today as Lieutenant Bello is…
Anyway, last night, as my wife and I were returning home from attending a folklore festival hosted by, “Los Amigos de la Cueca” of whom I shall return to speak of in my book, I knew what she meant when she uttered the phrase, “estoy más perdido que Teniente Bello”. Fortunately, neither she nor I was driving, and we all arrived home safe and sound.
Choose One Book Cover (Or Combine Them?)
You can imagine my surprise when an overwhelming majority of readers yesterday did not choose a book cover that included Chile’s majestic mountain landscape, found in theTorres del Paine National Park, in southern Chile. Indeed, it is considered by some experts to be the 8th Wonder of the World. The experts say it has everything: scale, beauty, mystery, endurance, wow factor, uniqueness, remoteness, and unmissability.
Yet the sentiment of the readers who responded to my call for help in choosing a cover were inclined toward a different view of what it means to live in Chile, putting the emphasis elsewhere, namely, Chile and her people.
In essence, what make a country is its people. In that sense, the two possible book covers I present to you here were chosen for this very reason. I’d like to share with you what the people have previously indicated to me, here:
Ruth Watson-Morris Voxian Series(University of Worcester): The first! I love the way it looks, the colour and the picture itself looks more authentic. Hope this helps a little.
Una Tiers (Chicago): The first is best!
Theodora Papapanagiotou (Thessaloniki, Greece): The right one!
Steve Bohne (Jackson College, Jackson, Michigan, USA) I like the girls–title is more readable.
*** I prefer the first one Thomas! (45 people)
Mile Aranda Rodríguez (Chillán, Chile)
Gabriela León V. 15 mutual friends
Close FriendFriends Sherry Henton 100 mutual friends
** Mila Álvarez Contreras (Chile): I like the first one. The one with the BBQ. #ChileanWay
Deborah Davidson (USA): The first (left) one is great.
Eldon Hendrix (Florida, USA): I concur with the majority. The top right represents the culture of the people while still showing some red, white and blue. All of them are great.Be sure to send me the link to get one. I’ll share it with my students. (8th grade – 8º Básico)
Rick Carufel (California, USA): Friends with Darlene Quinn (USA) Neither cover works. Bottom line is the title and the author’s name must be readable in a thumbnail view. No one buys a book when they can’t read the cover.
Thomas Baker Thank you very much Rick! On the final version I hope to have a workable solution for that aspect. If I can get the title problem fixed (somehow) which cover photo would you prefer?
Rick Carufel Friends with Darlene Quinn I like the couple. It has a more local feel than the girls dancing, which is an entertainment event. I think the couple adds more credence to the title.
Thomas Baker Thank you kindly Rick for your help. I appreciate it very much. I hope to find a solution for the title problem (without having to change the design altogether to accommodate the photo) that you and others have mentioned to me. For any tips or tricks I might want to consider, feel free to share with me. Again, thank you, you have been very helpful.
Francisca Ignacia Quezada Leal (Chile): The first one.
Betsabe Herrera (Chile): second one
Rodrigo Andrés Meza Sánchez (Chile): first..although I would have prefered something related to our indigenous origins (aymara people pictures, mapuche people pictures, etc) but that would depend on the context that book is written and its content itself. Good luck with your work!
Carolina Guzmán Lastra (Chile): I prefer the second one.
M Fernanda Pozo (Chile): The second one is clearer..
Claudia Rodriguez Avalos (Chile): I strongly agree with Rodrigo Andrés Meza Sánchez!
Thomas Baker Thank you Claudia!
Claudia Rodriguez Avalos (Chile: Welcome!!! I wish you the best!!
Bárbara Batichika Rasse (Chile): I really think you should have a picture with the real Chile. We are not dressed like huasos all the time, actually, we remember our traditions in september and thats all. I read you are talking about our beautiful country, so the cover must be a landscape…
Camila Pantoja Pinilla (Chile): Second one! it’s clearer… Best wishes!!!
Betsabe Herrera (Chile): Changed my mind. Torres del Paine at the sunset is way better.
Rodrigo Andrés Meza Sánchez (Chile): Yeah…a cool landscape could be also great.
Sally Dillard (Connecticut, USA): I like the one with the girls also.
Judi Lein (Chile) N.2!!
Klaudia A Fuentes C (Chile) Second
Pablo Venegas Carrasco (Chile): There are million of better photos than these two. I have to choose….I would say number 2.
Thomas Baker Thank you very much Judi, Klaudia, & Pablo! Pablo, would you like to be a Reader of the final draft before the book is published? In that way, you can make suggestions and recommendations that I will try to incorporate into the final version before it is published.
Adele Symonds (Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK): I also agree.
Thomas Baker Adele, which one do you like? The one with the girls dancing?
Adele Symonds Yes, on the other one the title fades into the background rather than standing out clear and bold as it does on the dancing girls cover.
ClaudiaBoniche (Chile): via Twitter @profesortbaker I like the flag skirts one.