Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Dog with a Mona Lisa Look

The cover for "The Dog That Couldn't Come Home" is an oil painting done by Ginger Kinnaird Hanes of Arizona. She knew my dog Balsam, and captured her essence in this portrait. It was the perfect cover for the short story.  While I am partial to the painting, I wondered what emotion other people saw in the dog's face that induced them to read the story.

I used Facebook for some market research. I posted the cover, and asked the question, "What words describe the expression on her face?"

I had more responses than I have ever had to a Facebook posting. People had fun with it and there was definitely no consensus, which is why I am calling it a Mona Lisa face.

Here are the responses:

dejected and hopeless
longing, yearning,
woebegone
getting to know you?
please help me
sad, anxious
intelligent, wary, hopeful
sad and anxious
classic fear look with whites of eyes showing
watchful, tentative, weary
pleading
puzzled
cautious
pleading, frightened
heavyhearted, unsure


More interpretations than a Rorschach inkblot exercise! Which leads me to conclude the best cover of a book may be one that allows the potential reader to put their own interpretation on it.