I Am More Lost Than Lieutenant Beautiful: Help Me Choose A Book Cover (Or Should WE Combine Them)

2 Covers

Dear friends and readers,

I now ask you to help me choose a cover for my new book, “I Live In Chile”. This is important because readers tend to “judge a book by its cover.” We live in a hyper-sensitive world where time, especially free-time, is a precious commodity. If a book cover does not appeal to a reader, there are few people who feel compelled to give the book a go anyway, despite not being attracted to its external cover. This is why I ask you for your help, because books are judged by their covers, and I value your opinion.


Culture: Big C & Little C

Culture can be the surface variety (holidays, traditions, customs), or it can be the daily variety, (created by a shared linguistic heritage). The first kind of culture, the surface variety, I call “Big C”. The second kind, the daily type, I call “Little C”.

In my new book, “I Live In Chile” you will find both of these expressions of culture. Above this, I will share my life in Chile, my personal experience, in terms of what it has been like for me to live in Chile as someone who assimilates into the Chilean culture, rather than maintain a separate cultural identity. Hence the title: I Live In Chile.

In Chile, Big C is determined often by the date of a holiday, a festival, or a celebration. It is an annual event, a recurring ritual, something to look forward to, to enjoy, to spend time in the company of those whom we cherish most.

In Chile, Little C, on the other hand, is present everywhere, every day, all the time, 24/7. It finds its fundamental referential source in a shared linguistic heritage. To give one example, the phrase: “más perdido que el Teniente Bello” is nonsensical to anyone who does not share a linguistic heritage as a Chilean. Translated, it means, “I am more lost than Lieutenant Beautiful”.

Of course, that’s utter nonsense. I know that, and so do you. What it really means,however, is, “I’m badly lost, and I have no idea, no clue at all, as to where I am.”

When one digs deeper (my source is Mr. Manuel Gallardo), one finds the original incident that gave birth to the phrase. It seems that on March 9, 1914, a person named Lieutenant Alejandro Bello took off from the airstrip at Lo Espejo.

It was a solo flight, and his objective was to complete the final requirements to obtain his pilot’s license. This was supposed to be a round trip flight (Lo Espejo-Cartagena-Lo Espejo). Lieutenant Bello was never heard from again, giving birth to the legend that is expressed in the phrase, “más perdido que Teniente Bello“.

Now you know. Now we know. I classify this shared bit of linguistic heritage as “Little C”. A tourist to Chile is almost guaranteed to return to their country of origin and never know who Lieutenant Bello is. I also seriously doubt that anyone will ever hear the English equivalent phrase:

I’m more lost than Amelia Earhart“. No, because in the linguistic heritage of the USA, we have turned the early pilots, who often flew under conditions no sane pilot would attempt today, into national heroes. The early mail pilots, for example, flying without proper instruments, were often lost and never heard from again. These men and women were treated as heroes.

Heroes and heroines they became, and none more so, than Amelia Earhart. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, a feat that was obviously not accomplished by Lieutenant Bello. Nonetheless, to be fair, though we revere her memory, she is just as lost today as Lieutenant Bello is…

Anyway, last night, as my wife and I were returning home from attending a folklore festival hosted by, “Los Amigos de la Cueca” of whom I shall return to speak of in my book, I knew what she meant when she uttered the phrase, “estoy más perdido que Teniente Bello”. Fortunately, neither she nor I was driving, and we all arrived home safe and sound.

Choose One Book Cover
(Or Combine Them?)

2 Covers

You can imagine my surprise when an overwhelming majority of readers yesterday did not choose a book cover that included Chile’s majestic mountain landscape, found in the Torres del Paine National Park, in southern Chile. Indeed, it is considered by some experts to be the 8th Wonder of the World. The experts say it has everything: scale, beauty, mystery, endurance, wow factor, uniqueness, remoteness, and unmissability.

Yet the sentiment of the readers who responded to my call for help in choosing a cover were inclined toward a different view of what it means to live in Chile, putting the emphasis elsewhere, namely, Chile and her people.

In essence, what makes a country is its people. In that sense, the two possible book covers I present to you here were chosen for this very reason. I’d like to share with you what the people have previously indicated to me, here:

Ruth Watson-Morris Voxian Series(University of Worcester): The first! I love the way it looks, the colour and the picture itself looks more authentic. Hope this helps a little.

Una Tiers (Chicago): The first is best!

Theodora Papapanagiotou (Thessaloniki, Greece): The right one!

Steve Bohne (Jackson College, Jackson, Michigan, USA) I like the girls–title is more readable.

*** I prefer the first one Thomas! (45 people)

Mile Aranda Rodríguez (Chillán, Chile)

Gabriela León V.
15 mutual friends

Close FriendFriends
Sherry Henton
100 mutual friends

Karine Berenguer Kakakis
2 mutual friends

Lorena Gonzalez Monroy
56 mutual friends

Daniela Vergara Muñoz
4 mutual friends

Francisco Ordóñez Arias
24 mutual friends

Sandra Rojas Peralta
70 mutual friends

Linda Hooks Barfield
163 mutual friends

Linda Lattimer
143 mutual friends

Stellar Andrea
44 mutual friends

Cherye Alarcón
11 mutual friends

Eldon Hendrix
9 mutual friends

Ana Luisa Burgos Benitez
16 mutual friends

Rebeca Ester Caamaño Mieres
7 mutual friends

Theodora Papapanagiotou
46 mutual friends

Karlita Danger
17 mutual friends

Marian Zurita
48 mutual friends

Claudia Boniche Castillo
7 mutual friends

Carolina Villarroel
7 mutual friends

Emily Poblete Sanchez
53 mutual friends

Rossana Falsetti
358 mutual friends

Roseli Serra
345 mutual friends

Sergio Verdejo Oliva
12 mutual friends

Carolina Arredondo
1 mutual friend

Ronnie T. Wright
47 mutual friends

JB Clark
18 mutual friends

Alejandro Carrasco Vargas
2 mutual friends

Jazmin Fuentes Valladares
3 mutual friends

Susan Hillyard
392 mutual friends

Claudia Salgado
179 mutual friends

Lorena González Aguila
23 mutual friends

David Muñoz
36 mutual friends

Evelyn Andrea Labarca López
22 mutual friends

Camila Andrea Montesinos Vargas
56 mutual friends

Barbara Olmos
16 mutual friends

Mila Álvarez Contreras
28 mutual friends

Leila Melquíades
6 mutual friends

Alan Robert Lindsay
40 mutual friends

Jeanet Roberts
28 mutual friends

Marcia Inostroza Urzúa
1 mutual friend

Maly Casas-Cordero Guerra
11 mutual friends

Lorena Stevens
22 mutual friends

Paula Andrea Rivera Pailamilla
1 mutual friend

Maritza Matz Ipinza
7 mutual friends

Francisco Redin
2 mutual friends

Gonzalo Alfredo Cordovez Badilla
1 mutual friend

Michele L. Underwood
1 mutual friend

Mila Álvarez Contreras (Chile): I like the first one. The one with the BBQ. #ChileanWay

Deborah Davidson (USA): The first (left) one is great.

Eldon Hendrix (Florida, USA): I concur with the majority. The top right represents the culture of the people while still showing some red, white and blue. All of them are great. Be sure to send me the link to get one. I’ll share it with my students. (8th grade – 8º Básico)

Rick Carufel (California, USA):
Friends with Darlene Quinn (USA)
Neither cover works. Bottom line is the title and the author’s name must be readable in a thumbnail view. No one buys a book when they can’t read the cover.

Thomas Baker Thank you very much Rick! On the final version I hope to have a workable solution for that aspect. If I can get the title problem fixed (somehow) which cover photo would you prefer?

Rick Carufel
Friends with Darlene Quinn
I like the couple. It has a more local feel than the girls dancing, which is an entertainment event. I think the couple adds more credence to the title.

Thomas Baker Thank you kindly Rick for your help. I appreciate it very much. I hope to find a solution for the title problem (without having to change the design altogether to accommodate the photo) that you and others have mentioned to me. For any tips or tricks I might want to consider, feel free to share with me. Again, thank you, you have been very helpful.

Francisca Ignacia Quezada Leal (Chile):
The first one.

Betsabe Herrera (Chile): second one

Rodrigo Andrés Meza Sánchez (Chile): first..although I would have prefered something related to our indigenous origins (aymara people pictures, mapuche people pictures, etc) but that would depend on the context that book is written and its content itself. Good luck with your work!

Carolina Guzmán Lastra (Chile):
I prefer the second one.

M Fernanda Pozo (Chile):
The second one is clearer..

Claudia Rodriguez Avalos (Chile):
I strongly agree with Rodrigo Andrés Meza Sánchez!

Thomas Baker Thank you Claudia!

Claudia Rodriguez Avalos (Chile: Welcome!!! I wish you the best!!

Bárbara Batichika Rasse (Chile): I really think you should have a picture with the real Chile. We are not dressed like huasos all the time, actually, we remember our traditions in september and thats all. I read you are talking about our beautiful country, so the cover must be a landscape…

Thomas Baker Hi Bárbara, Thank you so much for your kind and generous words. Yesterday I had 4 covers to choose from. http://profesorbaker.com/2013/08/04/help-which-cover-do-you-like-for-my-new-book-i-live-in-chile/ One was Torres del Paine at midnight, the other was also Torres del Paine from the island with turquoise water surrounding it and the bridge leading to it that is facing the twin peaks…

Giselle Báez (Chile): The first one!

Camila Pantoja Pinilla (Chile): Second one! it’s clearer… Best wishes!!!

Betsabe Herrera (Chile): Changed my mind. Torres del Paine at the sunset is way better.

Rodrigo Andrés Meza Sánchez (Chile): Yeah…a cool landscape could be also great.

Sally Dillard (Connecticut, USA): I like the one with the girls also.

Judi Lein (Chile) N.2!!

Klaudia A Fuentes C (Chile) Second

Pablo Venegas Carrasco (Chile): There are million of better photos than these two. I have to choose….I would say number 2.

Thomas Baker Thank you very much Judi, Klaudia, & Pablo! Pablo, would you like to be a Reader of the final draft before the book is published? In that way, you can make suggestions and recommendations that I will try to incorporate into the final version before it is published.

Adele Symonds (Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK):
I also agree.

Thomas Baker Adele, which one do you like? The one with the girls dancing?

Adele Symonds Yes, on the other one the title fades into the background rather than standing out clear and bold as it does on the dancing girls cover.

ClaudiaBoniche (Chile): via Twitter
I like the flag skirts one.

Amel Mimi (London, UK): For me personally I prefer the left picture.

José Alegría (Chile): I like the first one best.

Emircan Demir (Istanbul, Turkey): Firstly congrulations for a new book. And my choice is first one. More natural.

Thomas Baker Thank you Emircan! I appreciate your help very much. Best regards, Thomas

Veau Richie (Turkey): Second one 🙂

Thomas Baker Thank you Veau! I appreciate your help so much. Right now, it is almost 50-50, so it’s not going to be easy to choose one or the other. Best regards, Thomas

Karen Pesenti (Chile) The first one.

Michael Henson (Oklahoma, USA): The girl cover is the best one.

Thomas Baker Thank you Michael. It has been almost 50-50 all day long, and neither seems able to pull away from the other by more than one or two votes at a time… What am I going to do if it stays that way?

Michael Henson You had mentioned combining them. They both are good so you probably could not do wrong with either.

Thomas Baker Girls on the cover and guys on the inside cover, Page 2, or see if I can fit everyone on the cover?

Cristian Gálvez Godoy (Chile): The second one. It’s more beautiful and cleaner. I hope you sell millions of copies!


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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