Help! Picking A Cover Photo Is Not Easy.

There will be a new edition of my book, ALL ABOARD-The Complete North American Train Travel Guide, coming out around the middle of December. This will be the 4th edition and each time I’ve been confronted with the question of whether or not to undertake a new edition, I’ve gone ahead thinking it couldn’t be that big of a project.

I was wrong each time. Once you start going through the previous edition, you stop at every statement of fact and say to yourself, “It that still true?” If there’s any doubt at all, you have to check. So each new edition takes a long time, even if not a lot of the content is actually changed.

And there are other considerations. For instance, here’s a photo that is currently being considered for the cover of the new edition.

 What do you think? Does it work? The winter scene is dramatic, but will it make a long-distance train ride seem enticing? More to the point, will it help convince someone to buy the book? (My wife was born and raised in Hawaii and she loathes cold weather. She took one look at this photo and shuddered … hardly the reaction we’re looking for from the book-buying population.)

Would we be better off with a “beauty shot” like this one … an Amtrak train passing through some beautiful scenic part of the country? It’s the more predictable approach, but that could be because it’s the best way to go.

So what do you think? Should we use the winter scene for the cover of the new edition? Or should we look for another photo … something with perhaps the California Zephyr or the Coast Starlight rolling through a beautiful setting.

I’ll be most grateful to any and all who take the time to send your thoughts in a brief email to

Thanks very much! I’ll let you know what the consensus is … if there is one.