Proof copies have arried

Just look at this beauty:

Three women. An isolated town. A decades old mystery.

Isn’t that just so enticing? You just want to know more!

Proof copies are an incredibly exciting part of the writing process. This is when the hard work is done. You have a book in your hand. An actual book, with a cover and an acknowledgements section and a dedication…

Of course, this is not the final product. The reason why it’s called a proof copy is that it’s, well, for proofing. So I am going to have to read This Wild, Wild Country again (I’ve only read it about 367 times before) and highlight any remaining typos, mistakes or odd layout issues.

The proof copies play another important role. They will be sent to buyers and reviewers, who will then hopefully put in lots of preorders and line up reviews in time for the book launch on 4 August.

Is this the right moment to say it? This Wild, Wild Country is now available for preorder in your favourite book shop. Do it. You know you want to…

PS: This is not the final cover. Cover reveal coming soon… watch this space!

Cover design is happening

Terrific news from my publisher last week. The cover design for This Wild, Wild Country is in the works.

I’m not going to give too much away just yet. But I can talk a little bit about the cover design for The Long, Long Afternoon. I get asked a lot about the cover. Who created it? Did you get a say in it? How is a book cover decided?

Getting the cover right is crucial, both for the author and the publisher. The author wants a representation of their vision for the book. Once the cover is revealed, the book finally becomes real.

The publisher, of course, has another motive: sales. A cover needs to pop, it needs to stand out from the crowd of books on a book shelf. It needs to appeal – but not necessarily to everyone. A good book cover entices the kinds of readers who will love the book, not all readers everywhere.

Author and publisher will work together on a design that both are happy with. While the publisher has the final say (after all, they’ve got the publishing rights), they won’t want an author to be upset about the cover. It is normal for covers to go through several versions – even the text placement needs to be carefully thought out.

Above is the first concept proposal for The Long, Long Afternoon’s hardback cover that I got to see. Alot of the elements are already there. The broken plate, the curtains, the flowers. But I was still able to make changes and comments. I ran the cover past my family, and my sister suggested adding the stain on the cupboard that could be food… or blood!

The final cover really stands out from other crime novels. It is bright, sunny and charming… but the broken items, the burnt turkey and the knife prominently sticking from the chopping board give it an air of unease. The kitchen looks lived in, but abandoned. The food has been lovingly prepared, then left to rot. The geraniums are peering in, ready drop their blood-red petals all over the scrubbed sink.

I’ll tell you a secret. Can you see the shadow of a man in the light streaming onto the floor? He’s hard to spot, but he’s there…