creating a book cover | feels like home

by | May 12, 2021 | design, Writing | 25 comments

If you missed it, I have a new book coming out in September that is all about customizing your house (or apartment, condo, townhouse) so that it feels like home.  I would definitely consider writing a book a labor of love, but this book wasn’t a slog or a tiring push to the finish line.  It wasn’t, as they say,  like “cutting myself open to let the words bleed out.”  It did demand a lot of me, but it came easily and I thoroughly enjoyed the work and the process. I overshot my word target by a mile and we had more pictures than we had room for!  In my creative joy, I was able to produce an overabundance of what we needed and I hope the result is a book that is enjoyed by many.

One of the places where I got a little stuck, though, was shooting the cover of the book.  I wasn’t stuck because it was particularly difficult or beyond my capabilities, but because we all (the whole team at Hachette Nashville) really wanted to get it right.  We wanted the cover to say a lot of things at a quick visual glance and it took some time to figure out what image would be best to say things like – this book has a DIY component, it’s filled with approachable decorating ideas, it’s not completely style-specific, it’s not just about inspiration, but information as well.  In addition to saying those things, which will hope will appeal to a broad audience, it was important that my brand and style are recognizable.

This is the final book cover we landed on, but it took many drafts, mock-ups, dialog, meetings, and photo shoots to get there…

Feels Like Home Book | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

Here’s a fun little GIF to show the progression of the flat lay options we worked through…

Feels Like Home Book | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

The cover started with photos shot for the interior of the book.  We selected some of the most impactful interior shots, like the picture of my dining room…

Feels Like Home Book | Cover Mock-ups | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

…and the interior shot of our living room.  The mock-up on the right is by the designer and the one on the left is my feeble attempt at showing a concept!

The drawback to using those images is they set a style tone at first glance when several different styles are represented in the interior and much of the information isn’t style specific.  So, we headed in a new direction and tried using flat lay images.  When you see all of the options, which are just a fraction of the options we explored, you can see how varied the choices were and how detail-oriented this task was…

Feels Like Home Book | Cover Mock-ups | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

All of these choices gave our team a lot to talk about, which was a good thing.  We didn’t have to start our conversations from scratch, but could talk about specific color palettes, textures, and styling props in each photo.  This one is too “kitcheny” or “crafty” or “the colors in this one aren’t right” or “the sketch of the chair should be colored, so it doesn’t look like a white square in the thumbnail.”  And, that was another thing to consider…  Beyond the color palette and what the collection of items “say”, how does the composition look when viewed in person, as an 8 x 10 cover, and how does it look when viewed as a thumbnail when looking through books online?  There were so many things to consider!

But, when we landed on the cover, we knew it.  It said all of the things we wanted to say.  It felt timeless and fresh and approachable.  And, it felt like me.

Feels Like Home Book | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

Feels Like Home is available for preorder now if you’d like to get a copy!  There will be some fun giveaways and bonus content coming, so just hang onto your purchase confirmation to enter to win prizes and claim your freebies.


  1. Kelly

    I’m pre-ordered and excited to see this one! YAY for new inspiration. And the cover is absolutely perfect!

  2. Judy J

    cute little brush! (**wink**)

    • Marian Parsons

      Why, yes it is! Your brush is now a cover girl! 🙂

  3. Donna

    I love it! All the other covers were too cluttered. This one is perfectly you!

  4. Netti Kroening

    Using the flat lay image was a great choice, and the one you decided on is perfectly you! Thanks for the fun ‘look behind the scenes.’

  5. Cathy Madden

    I would love to get a few copies to sell at my shop, how do I go about doing that?

  6. Janet in Kansas City

    Love the cover, have already pre-ordered. You always manage to get it just right.

  7. Marla Allston

    The cover you “landed on” is perfect!

    • Rita

      I really like the flat lay cover. It’s like a mood/design board that is all you. I think if you had went with a pic of your home then it might have communicated that it’s just about your home. I’m pre-ordering as I love everything you do. Congrats.

  8. Irene Kelly

    Speaking of books I just finished reading a very compelling one “Finding Freedom” by Erin French who is the founder/chef and creator of The Lost Kitchen in Maine. I first read about her when she was doing Farm to Table dinners with her Airstream trailer and was so intrigued by her style. Now after reading her memoir I want to tell everybody they should read it so they will really appreciate their life even more. She has gone thru so much to get to running a restaurant that has the most coveted reservation in the country so much so she had to start a lottery system for reservations. People from all over the country travel to rural Maine to enjoy a meal. And her Cookbook is fabulous “The Lost Kitchen Cookbook” Yes I have your book in my Amazon basket and cannot wait to read it. Wishing you lots of Luck !

  9. Maureen

    I preordered the book and I can’t wait. And the cover is perfect….it’s definitely you.

  10. Sandy

    Preordered and looking forward to receiving my copy! And, FWIW, as a graphic designer myself, I totally agree with the final choice. Just right. Congratulations! 🙂

  11. JC

    Great look and congratulations! Excited to see what is inside the cover!

  12. Julie | Home On The Hill

    That design process ‘feels like home to me’ Marian as in my day job I’m a web & graphic designer – it was fun to see the transition laid out on one page like that.

    I think the cover option you went with is lovely – not too regimented & loads of different textures which plays well with the whole interior design concept.

    Plus I love the colour palette – lots of blues but not too cold due to the addition of those warm natural wood tones.

    PS – your attempt at drafting a cover design concept was way better that what most of my clients send me – it’s usually a photo of a messy pencil sketch if I’m lucky! 😀

  13. Amy Bell

    I love the cover that you chose–fresh and also timeless– and how interesting to see some other behind the scenes “contenders”! I’m sure the book will be gorgeous!

  14. Claire

    This was fun to read! I understand and agree with all that you said. I agree that the cover you settled on it perfect. It doesn’t scream a style like so many of the others did. Can’t wait.

  15. Margo

    Anyone who reads your blog knows that the cover you chose is uniquely you. I would have known this is your book without any mention of your name, the inclusion of the small painting is sublime.

  16. anne

    So perfect … the little brush anchors it and speaks to your “everyday ness” and “everyone ness” approach to keeping the spaces around us.
    Love it and SO looking forward to adding to my Marian book collection! Blessings and rest friend!

  17. Jenn

    I really love the cover. I like that there’s an “edit/negative space” feel to it and I know you are a big proponent of editing a space. Not only does it look like you but it feels like something you often talk about and that’s not an easy feat to come by on a cover I can imagine.

    • Marian Parsons

      That’s a lovely comment, thank you!

  18. Kay Hess Grogg

    Well, you had me at Blue! This looks like a fun creative way to spend one’s time! Is there a link to preorder your book (I think I missed it)?

  19. Debbie

    Pre-ordered my book….the cover sucked me in!! Love the composition. Makes me wish I had some of each of those fabrics and ribbons in my stash! Looking forward to the book coming out.

  20. Betty Bashaw

    Can’t wait to read this! And your cover is perfect. 🙂

  21. Rebecca F Miller

    I think it would be really fun to create a cover page of one’s own. What would I include or eliminate? What bits and pieces would I pick to truly reflect my style? I’d love to read more on your thought process, and why some things made it in the shot and some didn’t. I will tell you that if I saw that cover without the title or author printed on it, I would immediately say, “That is MOST DEFINITELY by Miss Mustard Seed!” And that’s what you were going for, right? Congratulations! My book is on order and I’m looking forward to it.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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