Yes, it IS the cover that I’ll be inviting people to judge, with a chance of winning one of five copies of my new novel, Paper Lanterns. (More about this below)
I’ve been learning a huge amount about the nitty gritty of publishing since Novel Press was dreamed into existence by our talented writing group. We met each other on the M.A. Writing course at Nottingham Trent University in the late nineties and a small group of us still meet regularly to critique each other’s ‘Work In Progress’.
I was lucky enough to have my novel,The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society, published by Transita. Unfortunately, after bringing out thirty-two novels in under two years, they had to pull back from publishing fiction, and focus on their other business, HowTo Books.
We began to realise that the state of publishing was even more restrictive than when my book was launched four years ago, and after much discussion we decided to retain our own authorial autonomy and start a publishing house, Novel Press. I won’t go into all that just now, because there’s more than enough material for several future posts, and at the moment, I want to focus on my new novel Paper Lanterns – or more precisely, on selecting on the best front cover for it. Click here for a sneak preview, written by Bookcrosser, Lyzzybee.
In her ‘ordinary life’, Liz has started a second career with her new Editing Service. She’s done a brilliant job, copy-editing Paper Lanterns. (more of that in a future post)
‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is supposed to be the accepted wisdom, but I must admit that if I’m presented with a range of books, cover-side up, it’s the cover that will entice my hand to reach out for it. Certainly, this is only the start: next, I tend to read the information on the back, and then flick through the first few pages, but if I hadn’t picked it up in the first place…
There’s lots more to be said about covers: the way they help to indicate genre is just the start of it. Beyond that, I’d never really given much thought to book covers in general. When Transita sent me the proposed cover for The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society, I loved it (even though the window was the wrong sort), and if I’d been asked to suggest an alternative idea, I wouldn’t have known what to say. When it came out in a large print version in 2008, I wasn’t at all keen on that cover.
When I was in charge of every stage of the process myself (with a little help from my fellow writers at Novel Press) I began to look at the question of the cover in a different light. We’d chosen Mousemat Design, because they’d produced a majority of the Transita covers.
My task was to supply Ian Hughes with enough information about my novel for him to create the perfect cover. A tall order indeed. You can read a short description on My Novel page, but I felt that he would need to know more about what I was hoping for.
Within a very short time, he had emailed me three possible versions and I was delighted to see that he was heading in the right direction. Then followed three further versions, and finally, a seventh.
The Cover Design Challenge for readers is simple:
1) Keep an eye on this website to see when I’ve managed to upload all versions of a possible front cover (or follow me on Twitter or Face Book for updates.)
2) When The Cover Design Challenge is ready to go, all you need to do is to read the extra information that I sent to the designer and will post on my site together with the pictures, and then:
3) Look at all these pictures and answer this simple question:
WHICH OF THESE POSSIBLE COVERS DO YOU THINK THE AUTHOR LIKES BEST?
I’ll be very interested in your comments, and although I’ve got my favourite, I might need to think again if enough people choose a different version.
Each entry will be given a number as they arrive, and five of these will be drawn at random. The lucky winners will be contacted and will be sent a free copy of Paper Lanterns when it is published early in 2010