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Bookish. Publisher at Louise Walters Books. Reader, writer, and editor.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Cover images and copy edits

Last week my copy edit for A Life Between Us arrived. It was an exciting moment, but also a terrifying one. I felt nervous opening up the document and looking at those first changes. My finger has been hitting the Accept button like there's no tomorrow... and also the Reject button a few times. I'm up to page 153 and I've discovered a few tics in my writing. I mix up tenses. I get spellings wrong (not too often though). I construct some pretty clumsy sentences. My hard working copy editor has done a great job of going through the MS and pointing out all these infelicities. Before getting stuck into the copy edited MS, I anxiously read through the copy editor's notes page and was delighted that there weren't any major mistakes to fix. I was also hoping, to be perfectly honest, to find a line or two of praise, and I did! That has given me a real boost, which links in to the whole validation issue I wrote about last time. It felt great to read the copy editor's opinion of A Life Between Us and to hear that he enjoyed working on it... phew! It's a start.

I've also been busy choosing a cover image. No easy task when you're not a designer, and you don't work in publishing! The word "amateur" keeps popping into my mind... I want to get the cover, like everything else, right: so I read a few articles about covers and the task they need to perform. I tried to keep in mind that the cover is the first thing readers will see and therefore it needs to attract. It doesn't necessarily have to reflect the story, although most covers seem to, I find, in one way or another. The thing to remember I think is that the cover only really makes sense after the novel has been read. That felt important to me and I was then able to focus on seeking out a suitable image. I knew from the start that I wanted a photographic image and I wanted something striking! Exciting! Different... then I calmed down a bit and popped on my business woman hat for a minute or two. I slowed down, and spent time looking at book covers in my genre. I'm not 100% sure of my genre but I've gone with Literary/Commercial Crossover, or, Serious "women's" fiction, or, Lit Lite.

This is the export edition of my first novel Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase. Letters feature in the novel and this cover clearly reflects that. I think this cover is mysterious and feminine, and understated. Also, a little cliched... but that's OK because the cover is fulfilling its expectations and it reflects the nature of the novel. The story inside "does what it says on the tin (cover)" and I think it's beautifully designed. 

I realise that in order to attract readers I need to go with a cover they might expect... it sounds a bit same ol, same ol, but from a business POV it makes sense. I want to sell my novel and I need the cover to help me do that. I decided if things go well I could always re-issue the book at a later date with a truly off-the-wall cover. But for its first outing it needs to "fit". I was delighted to read an article in The Bookseller this week (about the Academy of British Cover Design) which discusses that very thing. It's a timely corroboration of my thoughts. Phew again...

I won't of course be designing my cover, I'm leaving that to the designers at Matador Books. I can't wait to see how they incorporate the image I've chosen. It's going to be a huge moment... and of course all will be revealed in due course...

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