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Book Cover and Title Options

Friends, as you may well know, my book is finally going to be out in 6 weeks (the same week as the baby, actually). As I begin the 3 month long harassment encouragement to buy said book I figured I’d show you as much of the behind the scenes process as possible – starting with choosing the cover and title.

Now it’s tricky because you need the cover/title to do a few things – but mostly sell. You want it to be specific to who you are, but you need it to be universal. You want the subject matter to be obvious so people know what they are getting, but you don’t want it super pedestrian. You want it to grab attention, but not be annoying.

So, I looked to the classics – the books (and some movies) that are wildly popular and whose covers are iconic and unmissable, and we drew “inspiration” from those “greats”

First up, Dirty Decorating. While I love the edge it brings to this rather safe brand of book, this felt a bit too racy and could alienate a certain audience – like my mom for instance who has never seen it. Little does she know that this is a perfect movie (and my favorite film of all time). What she should also know is that when my oldest sister Michelle was “babysitting” me when she was 16 and I was 6 she locked me and my other sister in a room with crayons at 6pm so she and her friends could watch it. Your whole “our VCR won’t play Rated R movies” theory/lie became debunked that night. It could play them, and it did.

But this cover didn’t feel right.

Emily Henderson_Book Spoof Covers_1

These two, A Tale of Two Setees and Couch – 22, seemed a bit too specific to one piece of furniture. I love dressers, tables and the surrounding vignettes too much to focus just on seating options for the cover.

Emily Henderson_Book Spoof Covers_5

Now this one had the drama that we needed. The dark allure and mystery that many of you have come to know is just so me. But the cover didn’t say enough about what you’ll get once inside – the mystery left you guessing too much.

Emily Henderson_Book Spoof Covers_4

I thought this was a good option to show a whole other side of me – or at least many more body parts, but my editor and publisher thought it was a bit too “naked.”

Emily Henderson_Book Spoof Covers_2

Eat, Pray, Loveseat really took you on my journey the last few years – One woman’s search for a Sofa for Two. It kinda had it all – self-help and romance with a coming of age angle I think many people could relate to. But it wasn’t quite there yet. The Drapes of Wrath felt a bit too depressing to pursue, despite my appreciation for window treatments.

Now this one – this one was the one getting closest to perfection that we had tried.

The hardest part of ‘The Stylebook’ was choosing between all the photographs of Ryan and I embracing. Which ‘almost-kiss’ would it be? As we shot this everyone in the room could feel our connection – they all shared in our intense intimacy, and that kind of chemistry is what sells millions of copies. There was an applause when it was finished and my publisher weeped when she saw the final graphics. Unfortunately Brian Henderson wasn’t it’s #1 fan and kept asking the obtuse question: “Why are you kissing Ryan Gosling on the cover of your decorating book?” The answer was obvious but the fact that he had to ask showed me that we may lose the male demographic as they just didn’t “get it.”

So many options, choices and decisions needed to be made – and these were all pretty good options.


Ultimately we decided to go with something a little more fresh – a title that was fast, catchy and totally accurate. We called the book ‘Styled’.

Emily Holding Styled Book 1

Come back tomorrow for the real cover options (I think we gave my publisher 42 different ‘Styled’ options) and I’ll go over why they ended up choosing the one they did.  Emily Holding Styled Book Styled on Coffee Table

Meanwhile pre-order your copy HERE before it is released on October 13th. Over the next few months there will be a variety of coupon codes, but right now on Amazon it’s only $17.88 (it’s originally $32.50) which is pretty darn cheap considering you get two years of my soul inside. In case you are wondering how it works – unless it sells like a trillion copies (which decorating books don’t do), I don’t make any more money – I just want this book to be a success for my own professional and personal goals.

I think I’ll try to make Dirty Decorating my next book…because no one puts baby in the corner – unless styled into the most perfect corner vignette in which case when doing so make sure to add enough color, texture and contrast in said corner to really draw your eye there and create the depth you need (these and other tidbits in the book).

*Silly Photoshopping by Chandler Tuck for EHD. Photos by Jessica Issac. If you want to see the actual  process of choosing the book cover, check it out here.

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Jessica D
8 years ago

Amazing! Emily, I was LOL-ing for real over here. Thank you for this on a Tuesday morning that feels an awful lot like a Monday. I pre-ordered my book last week! I can’t wait to read it!

8 years ago

Congrats Emily. I ordered my book a long time ago…first time you mentioned it cud b preordered.

Wondering about the flea additions. I’m an eager beaver and keep checking for the new additions.

Denise Flansburg
8 years ago

Can I just say how much I love your personality!! Every post is so great, and I can imagine that the book is even better. I think if I ever met you in person I might be disappointed, because you are so great on paper (err webpage) that you might not live up to my hyped coolness expectation.

8 years ago

I was soooooo happy to see I can preorder your book on Amazon France !! Can’t wait to read it !!

While I love Dirty Decorating, the Drapes of Wrath reminds me of a certain dialogue…
“How about these curtains ? I love the pattern !”
“Meh. Too much pattern.”
“How about these solid ones then ?”
“Too boring.”
“These ? Discreet pattern and lovely color ?”
“500 euros for the pair ? You crazy ?”
“How about no window treatment ?”
“Nah, it’s the window on street level”
“What do we do ?”
“How about you search for an inexpensive option with a pattern, not too present, and matching the color palette for the room ?”
“How about you winning the Nobel prize so we can order custom ?”

In case anyone wonders, he didn’t win the Novel and I bought Ikea peacock velvet curtains for less than 50 euros. It was the only time I said something along the lines of “Shut up and help me put them up”. They are so perfect you’d think they are custom made for our room. Sigh.

Susie Q.
8 years ago

I thought you were quoting from an actual movie at first. LOL.

8 years ago

This was the best thing to find in my inbox during a quick early lunch break today; thank you; thank you; thank you! And you can bet that I’ve pre-ordered your book: I decided to get it on my iPad instead of hard-cover, because that way I can carry it around with me, whereas I leave other design books behind when I leave the house.

We’ll see how it works out, and how you like the digital version of your book! Thanks again for this hilarious post

8 years ago

One of the best, funniest posts ever! In your next life I think you could do stand-up. Seriously!

ashley b
8 years ago

you’re adorable. can’t wait for the big reveal!

8 years ago

Half way through the post I started hoping I would see a “Gone with the Trend” cover, but I guess it probably wouldn’t have been a great marketing move…

The cover looks really nice! I think I would have liked a picture of you on it though, but I’ll wait for your next post now as I’m curious about the explanation.

I have to say I own lots of art and design books but 0 decorating books. I think your might become the first one! It’s going on my Christmas list pronto (just had a birthday here, so I’ve gotta think ahead)!

8 years ago

Referencing a comment below: “If I were to meet you…”. Well I haven’t but my daughter spent an hour of so in our good friend’s company at one of her garage sales, (which I have some lovely blue glass and vintage fabric to prove) and Emily is every bit as delightful and generous as she shows up in her blog!
She doesn’t know this but I’ve adopted her and love all her bits.

8 years ago

This seriously made my morning….. eh day!
Love this all so much!
And I cant wait to get the book 🙂

8 years ago

Gah, you all are hilarious! I just imagine late nights sitting around thinking these up. I’m glad you shared them!

8 years ago

Love your clogs in the last few photos – would you reveal where you got them?

Jennifer W
8 years ago

done and done. Can’t wait to get it!

Susie Q.
8 years ago

Silly photoshopping is right. *Wipes sweat from brow in relief*

8 years ago

Emily this is the BEST! You are so funny. I ordered the book the other day when you mentioned and I can’t wait to see it.

You mentioned Friday that The Flea would be updated Monday, and I’m guessing you meant today. Do you have a time yet? I keep checking but I don’t see that horse shoe I’m after yet.

8 years ago

Dirty Dancing all the way! Can’t wait to get a copy! Also, love the shoes! Would love to know where they are from or something similar.

Analog House

8 years ago

Blogger do strange things when desperate for content.

8 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Oops, forgot the s. BloggerS

8 years ago
Reply to  Brady

your response to this comment alone drives the continuing fact that you’re awesome. Congrats on the book! Can’t wait to get it! xoxo, Keli

8 years ago

Ha! Thanks for the smiles on this meh workday back from a long weekend 🙂
And girl, I am so excited for your book…I pre-ordered it in, like, March, I think!

8 years ago

So when does the meaty design content that you referenced last week start?

8 years ago
Reply to  Liz

Calm down, Liz.

8 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Thank you Erin 🙂

8 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Sheesh, it’s not like I insulted her hats…

8 years ago

Watched “Dirty Dancing” for the billionth time this weekend. Never gets old! Will be putting your book on my “must buy” list!! Congrats.

8 years ago

Oh my gosh, those options were so hilarious!! Congrats on your book!

Kathy K
8 years ago

Just ordered my copy and caaaaan’t wait to get it! Congratulations!!

This is hilarious! I would 100% buy “The Stylebook”, although “A Tale of Two Settees” is my runner-up for sure! And we already know Ryan Gosling has fantastic interior design taste – that’s right, I’m referencing this beloved gem from your archives:
Honestly, with that kind of history between you two, “The Stylebook” makes perfect sense!

8 years ago

Did you know it’s showing as a #1 Best Seller in Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement on Amazon?

Niceeeee. xx

8 years ago

OMG, this post was too fun. I bet your team had a blast coming up with these. Eat, Pray, Loveseat, cmon!! genius. HAHAHAH

8 years ago

“The Drapes of Wrath” almost made me spit out my coffee! Thanks for the crack-up! And I pre-ordered. Woohoooooooo!

And the fact that you all believed your parents’ lie about the VCR – classic! Kids are so gullible.

Lisa Taylor Whitley
8 years ago

Thanks for the laughs! Great post! I can’t wait to read the book

Sonja B.
8 years ago

You are Hilarious! I already pre-ordered and like the final cover, but I tell you, The Girl With the Style Breakthrough has its own merits.

8 years ago

OHMYGOSH. I was expecting to see the “real” covers, and thinking this would be something like this (very fascinating) article about the process of designing a cover.

Looking forward to that part too.
But for now, I will be very content with laughing out loud at these.
’cause nobody puts Emily in the corner.

Thanks for the chuckles.

8 years ago

These are very fun and creative covers, I am sure “Styled” will be fantastic! Congratulations!

8 years ago

This was great. Thanks for the chuckle to get the week started off.

8 years ago

As a graphic designer this makes me laugh. Good cover art is a lost art

8 years ago

My favourite is Eat Pray Loveseat. As both a writer and graphic designer this is fantastic on several levels!

8 years ago


8 years ago

Congrats on the book! I will definitely be getting one!

Your post really made me laugh, thanks for that!

8 years ago

HA this was a seriously amazing post. Pre-ordered and CANNOT wait to receive it! Congratulations! ( Not on my ordering – ha! – but on the whole publishing a book thing 😉 )

8 years ago

My colleagues just came into my office to inquire what all the laughter was about!

8 years ago

Haha. Emily, this is so hilarious. You are so good at writing- impressed by your talent!

8 years ago

So excited. Also, I preordered in February. So yeah. No harassment needed for me to buy!!

8 years ago

I don’t think I’ve Ed-the-hyena-from-Lion-King laughed through an entire post like I did during this one.

This post was so refreshing after such a long Tuesday! Will be pre-ordering my copy ASAP


8 years ago

Two thoughts. 1) Hilarious and punny. 2) Daniel Craig…just—Daniel Craig.

8 years ago

This is amazing!!!!! Funniest post ever. Also, Dirty Dancing IS my favorite movie – and the SITC cover, hilarious :).

8 years ago

Yeey, i pre-ordered the book to ship it to the Netherlands! Can’t wait!

8 years ago

Hahaha, those covers are hilarious

8 years ago

I stared at your shoes for way too long. I apologize.

8 years ago

This post was hilarious. I needed this during my lunch break, thank you. Although I love all the options that you obviously considered very seriously, I understand your final choice 🙂 Also, I pre-ordered the book the moment it was possible and I can’t wait to have it fly from the US to Italy 🙂

8 years ago

Just ordered! Can’t wait!!

Kristen F
8 years ago

Chandler my boy… you’ve outdone yourself! Looking up your portfolio now. Wish I had a link.

8 years ago

You’re hilarious! I think this blog is the first in a long time I actually look forward to reading. I’m definitely picking up you’re book. I wish I could have you sign it, but a book tour is probably out of the question with the baby due date being so close. Oh well… Congrats, Emily! I’m sure it’s amazing 🙂

8 years ago

No bride or begging required….already per-ordered mine on Amazon quite some time ago and cannot wait for it to arrive!!