Rich Barrett who illustrated the cover of Tamela Rich's new book "Hit the Road"

Four Octobers ago, in the mountains of West Virginia, my friend Jill took this photo of me. It remains one of my favorite shots—as a photo, and as a memento of a gorgeous day with a dear friend.

When I wrote my new book, Hit The Road: A Woman’s Guide to Solo Motorcycle Touring, I knew I wanted to use that photo on the cover if possible. For a number of reasons it just didn’t work, and there was no good workaround that would make it look right by professional standards.

Inspiration for "Hit The Road" book cover
Inspiration for “Hit The Road” book cover

Collaborating with illustrator Rich Barrett

Andy Ciordia, my friend and designer said, “Tam, if only you had an illustrator who could take this picture as inspiration and make it work…”

I instantly replied, “I do! Rich Barrett.”

It started with a clear creative brief from me and a conversation with Rich about the “spirit” I wanted the cover to convey. I told him I wanted a lighthearted feel because solo motorcycle touring fills me with such joy.

Also, my research told me that many women are hesitant or downright afraid to hit the road solo, and I wanted a cheerful cover to reflect the encouraging messages and tips in the book.

The biggest problem with the photo is that it was framed horizontal, while a book cover is vertical. Besides that I told Rich, I wanted to changes:

First,  the helmet dominates. I’d like the reflection in the mirror and the hand to be more dominant than the helmet.

Second, I’d like to see a curvy road heading in the direction of my gaze.

I told him something simple like the book cover for Lois Pryce’s book, Revolutionary Road would be ideal.

“Hit The Road: A Woman’s Guide to Solo Motorcycle Touring”

Hit The Road: A Woman's Guide to Solo Motorcycle Touring by Tamela Rich

Available January 2, 2018, in print and digital editions, Hit The Road: A Woman’s Guide to Solo Motorcycle Touring includes stories from my motorcycle travels, plus checklists, tips, and resources for anyone who wants to get the best out of a two-wheeled adventure.

The book helps readers:

  1. Identify their Traveler Type
  2. Learn to plan the perfect itinerary for their Traveler Type
  3. Understand their fears and how to overcome them
  4. Choose personal safety devices and strategies best suited to them
  5. Learn money-saving tips that will let them spend more time on the road
  6. Prepare for travel by downloading checklists for packing, mechanical inspections, tools, and emergencies
  7. Understand what to do if something unwelcomed happens on a trip
  8. Experience the joy of traveling solo without feeling lonely

And much more…