If I remember correctly, my editor and I were on the phone talking about format ideas and trim sizes for Steal Like An Artist, and the problem was that my slides for the original talk were landscape format but books are usually portrait format. So I think Bruce suggested meeting in the middle and making it square.
So I went hunting for square books, and it turned out that James Kochalka’s The Cute Manifesto, one of my favorite little square books, is in the exact trim size we were talking about using, 6x6. So I drew up a cover, printed it out, and wrapped it around my copy to make a dummy book:
I took that up to Workman and left it with them, and the story goes that they mocked up a bunch of other covers and laid them all out, but the late Peter Workman pointed to my dummy book and said, “That one.” (I regret so much that we never got to meet.)
It’s very, very rare that an author gets to do the covers for his books, but much to the credit of the Workman design team, they’ve let me in on every part of the process. I think part of what made that cover work is that it’s too stupidly simple—I’m not sure any real book cover designer would dare suggest something so simple.
Anyways, when it came time for Show Your Work!, I really conceived of both books as a kind of “Robin Hood” box set — you steal, and then you share — so it made sense to make them the same trim size. (We’ll see about the box set…)