After deciding to write an autobiography, I already knew what the theme would be: God's grace in my and life and overcoming trials. Still, I didn't want to settle on a title until I finished the content. That way, the title would accurately reflect the book's purpose. Once I wrapped up my autobiography, I was eager to select a title so I could proceed to the cover, the visualization of my title.
The title took weeks to narrow down and even changed several times. To begin, I brainstormed over 25 titles I thought would be a good fit. I wanted something powerful and catchy that would help grab the attention of potential readers. With the focus of perseverance in mind, my potential titles reflected that theme, ranging from "Still Standing" to "Breaking Through." Ultimately, I decided on "Battle Tested" because this title was the best fit. It also had a ring to it and portrayed the power I was aiming for. Without revealing my choice, I polled a number of closed friends and relatives to choose their favorite title from the 25+ I'd generated. Low and behold, "Battle Tested" was the winner there as well, confirming my selection.
With my book title solidified, I could finally move on to the cover. I was so anxious because I had a plethora of ideas in mind for the cover's layout. The first person that came to mind to sketch my cover was my tattoo artist, Nash. His drawings of my tattoos prior to inking them have always been exemplary. Being the poor artist that I am, I simply sketched a basic outline along with a thorough description of what I was looking for to give Nash something to work with. And that's all he needed as he was able to create exactly what I sought after only a couple of rounds of revisions.
In terms of the design itself, the stormy half of the sky reflects the struggles I've endured throughout my life. The heavenly side captures the victory and gratification of walking with God. I chose big bold letters for my book's title to express its prominence. I chose the photo of me running in football uniform because I believe this is the area of my life that God has blessed me with the most natural ability and because football has taught me so much about life. The running position was chosen to illustrate my embodiment of Nipsey Hussle's motto, "The Marathon Continues," emphasizing that life is a marathon, not a sprint. The USAFA football stadium (Falcon Stadium) with a packed crowd is centered in the background to showcase how significant the special Division I college football experience was. The barriers on each side of my character are the walls of the Falcon Stadium tunnel where we entered the field, functioning as my reminder that I was living out my college football dream. The fighter jets flying overhead depict the aircraft flyovers that took place prior to USAFA home football games, energizing me for the game every time. Lastly, the cracks in the ground underneath my feet denote a concrete jungle, a metaphor for growing up in the rough city of Tacoma, WA.
After bringing all of these pieces together, I reached out to a graphic designer to digitize Nash's sketch into a book cover. He did an awesome job of capturing all of the colors and synthesizing everything together for a fairly complex design. With the book cover being the last step for my book, I was clear to start my book release campaign. It was highly encouraging to see that my cover was so well received. Now, I hope this book title and cover breakdown gives you adequate insight and understanding of why it was chosen, especially as you all read my autobiography and connect the story to the cover. Thank you and God bless.