Beryl Singleton Bissell


From the author

And the winners are ...!!!

May 15, 2007

If you do not know what I am talking about, read on. In April, I launched a competition offering entrants the chance to win one of 10 free signed copies of my book, The Scent of God. All you had to do to enter the contest was to connect with my website and tell me what you thought of the cover of my book. I posted the news on my website, my blog Journey to Publication, and through adds on AuthorBuzz and on

To encourage entries, I told contestants not to worry about being profound or articulate because I would be picking the names at random. Some entrants took me literally and did not even include a message, just a “win copy” in the subject line. But the other entries were fascinating – so wonderful indeed that I wished I had enough money to gift all of those writers with a free signed copy.

In the contest details, I revealed the story of the book jacket: How the publisher had rejected one cover after another and had finally sent me one for approval that she was certain I would love. I looked at it and was certain that I did not love it. I was equally certain that with a jacket like that the book would bomb. Luckily I had a great publisher and a fine agent and the new jacket delighted me. I posted copies of both covers on my website for contest entrants to view and waited for the comments to arrive. When they did, they ran the gamut from loving the new cover to hating it. Some were torn between both covers. Here is a sampling of those insights:

“The picture on the cover is beautiful but I might have passed it over by thinking it was a romance novel.”

“I actually do like the proposed cover much more than the one chosen, sorry to say.”

“The woman looks like she is thinking about something before a bath. Like she is sitting on the edge of the tub, listening to the water filling the rub, jumbling around like her own thoughts.”

“The facial expression of the young woman is as mysterious as the Mona Lisa; I see many secrets behind the serene countenance.”

“You can see the longing and the heartbreak on the [girl’s] face and the joy and hope just below the surface.”

“The picture on the cover speaks to me of innocence, openness and youth. However, as a memoir it should have been a picture of you.”

“Actually, I liked the original cover, minus the photos, which made it look too busy . . . however the new jacket is lovely as the young girl has a look of childlike innocence, with an unmistakable hint of passion.”

“We are drawn to the girl and because she is human we are instantly intrigued.”

“I love the cover. It’s delicious, tempting, innocent. The tilt of the girl’s head expresses her inquisitiveness, yet she seems unsure of what she is feeling.”

“I like the way the veil caresses her back. The movement of the neck, the smooth spiral of the upper part of her body and the slightly bowing head . . . the closed eyes make me think of confidence whatever the unknown future will be.”

“My first impression was of the seeming incongruity of the cover photo and the title of the book … which caused me to be curious enough to read the description of the story.”

“I think the cover is somewhat deceptive. It suggests that sex will be more central to the book than it is. The cover presents visual candy that doesn’t honor the spirituality of your personal journey.”

“The young woman represents a very human element of God’s creation. She looks soft enough to touch, open enough to hear (God?); she smells (I imagine) of sweet alyssum, She sees through her spirit with eyes shut. … I see her also as the ‘Potter’s clay” even – another sense.”

“I try not to buy books by their covers …. But I have been know to read books because of them. The Scent of God is one of those books that I would initially buy for that beautiful cover.”

On Mother’s Day I selected the winners from the 500 plus entries.

David Bailey from Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Kimberly Robinson from West Chester, Pennsylvania
Jennie Hakes from Monticello, Minnesota
Clare Stella from Rockland, Massachusetts
Joyce Soares from Panama City, Florida
Pat Hanna from Allentown Pennsylvania
Shirley Hilgeman from Issaquah, Washington
Susan Pettrone from Coralville, Iowa
Holly Halverson from Indianapolis, Indiana
Lisa Genscheimer from North East Pennsylvania

The Scent of God was recently selected by booksellers for a Midwest Booksellers Book Award and because of this book, the Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors."

My Work

The collision of human love and faith
An impetuous move to Lake Superior transforms a life
While writing The Scent of God
"Seven Years in Hell"

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