Choosing the cover for a self-help book

One of the pleasures of ‘indie’ publishing is having freedom to choose the cover image. I recently spent an hour or so browsing in search of the best one for my new book Persons not diseases: a guide to mind-body-spirit medicine and holistic healing. With such a huge selection of titles now available online, it is often just a split-second glance at the cover which decides potential readers whether or not to ‘look inside’ a book, so it is important to choose a theme and colours which attract attention and convey the desired message.

But different people can interpret the same picture very differently depending on their emotional state, as I learned from a chastising experience some years ago when I worked in psycho-oncology at a hospital in England. I was giving a talk about coping with cancer and included a few art slides to represent different moods and attitudes of mind. My favourite was a colourful image of a trapeze artist high up in a circus tent. This was intended to symbolise positive qualities such as courage and joy, but one patient in the group thought it showed a woman hanging herself. When considering images for my new book I was careful to avoid anything which could lend itself to such a shocking interpretation, but on the other hand I did not want it to look too bland or sentimental.

I considered sunrises, seascapes, flowers and abstracts before deciding on a picture of a path winding up a green hillside, with blue sky above. I chose this picture mainly because I liked it, and I think it could also suggest taking ‘the illness journey’ through natural surroundings in a spirit of peace and hope. Talented designer Jeremy Taylor has now converted this photo into the cover image for Persons not diseases, which will be published as an e-book next month with a print version to follow later.

Bach flowers for mind-body healing

I’ve just published a short ebook called Bach Flowers for Mind-Body Healing and you can download a free copy from

The cover image shows the Gorse flower, used to promote hope and faith in cases of chronic illness.

Here’s the blurb:

‘The Bach flowers are safe natural remedies designed to balance the emotions. Although they do not treat medical conditions directly, they can help to control mental symptoms such as anxiety and physical ones such as pain, and to modify personality traits such as pessimism or impatience which may be contributing to ill-health. This is a short practical guide to using the remedies for mind-body healing on a self-help basis, alongside professional treatment and care’.

Focus on Healing: the ebook

Focus on Healing: Holistic Self-Help for Medical Illness is now available in ebook format on Smashwords. Please click here for details.

The printed version, published a couple of years ago, was well received in New Zealand, but due to high postage costs not many copies were sold overseas. I’m hoping it will now reach a wider audience. Yesterday I was pleased to receive this comment from a reader in the UK:

I think it is quite an outstanding book … really helpful. I particularly like the case histories. It is balanced; it does not tear down either orthodox or so called “complementary” therapies and it encourages the patient to take responsibility without being heavy handed about this.

Again, here is the link.