Sunday, 24 February 2013

Go Ahead and Judge a Book...Part Deux

So here it is, the cover for the new book.  I have to say, I'm delighted with it.  The skyline you can see through the open window is, in fact, Dublin.  I love this fact.  It brings what's inside the book and what you see on the cover together in some way I can't explain but which works.

I'll say it again:  Emma Barnes, the cover designer over at Snowbooks is a pro.  We went through four or five drafts total, with New Island kindly letting me look over each one and kick in my two cents.  Some of what I suggested was taken on board, some of it wasn't and thank God for that!  I suggested adding blood, a la Peeler. Bad idea.  It's not that kind of book, though it is bloody in places...  I suggested this font or that font.  I was ignored.  Rightly, properly, and strategically ignored.  But isn't it my work?  Shouldn't I know what's best in a cover enshrouding my precious work? No, actually.  Not at all.

You see, writers write.  I know something about writing, something about what's inside books--novels, anyway.  When it comes to cover art, I know what I like, as the saying goes.  But what book designers/cover artists and publishers know is why I might like what I like. It's not an exact science, obviously, or every author would have sales like James Patterson or JK Rowling, but there is much expertise employed in the presenting of the product being sold in the form of the packaging.  I know, I know, I hate that way of speaking about books, novels in particular.  They're art, they expand the consciousness, tap the senses, mine the emotions and...they only do these things if people bleedin' buy them.  And people buy books based on the cover art.  Not always and not alone this, but often.  I do it and you do it too.  The packaging is important and, though I know what I like, I really know nothing about what sells books or why.  So I leave that to the experts at New Island and Emma Barnes over at Snowbooks.  Blood you say?  Ummm, yeah...we'll look into it...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Go On...Judge A Book By Its Cover...

So, it's February and you might be wondering where that promised follow-up to Peeler is.  What?  You weren't?  Not to worry.  It's coming, next month.  April at the latest.  Irregulars, it's called and I've been beavering away at corrections and editorial suggestions as of late.  We're expecting galleys back soon for a big, old final peruse and just yesterday I received a first draft version of the cover design which was very, very cool.  I won't post a pic of it up just yet as it is in early form.  (No more would I publish any of my own work in draft form.)  When we get a more finalised version, I'll post it up.  Needless to say, it's always a great moment when you're sent cover art for your book.  It makes it all seem real somehow, cheesy as that might sound.

I think I've mentioned cover art before, but I'll say it again here:  it's really important in selling a book, whether in print or ebook form.  New Island were kind (and savvy) enough to accede to my request to once again use cover designer Emma Snow of Snowbooks in the UK for the cover.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  She's exceptionally talented and if you're in the market for a cover, get in touch with her at the above linked sites.

Featuring a modified(?) Banksy...must've cost a bomb.
My friend Ed O'Loughlin's most recent novel, the brilliant Toploader, published by Quercus, has my favourite cover of recent years on any novel, featuring a booby-trapped version of Banksy's iconic donkey/soldier image from the West Bank Wall/Barrier to great effect.  Read the novel and see how apt the cover is.

Cover art for Declan Burke's
Absolute Zero Cool is...well, cool
Same designer for Slaughter's Hound... 
I've also recently been hugely impressed by the covers on Declan Burke's novels for Liberties Press.  They're hip, retro and indicative of the wiretight mayhem on the pages inside.  (Is that possible?  For mayhem to be wiretight?  Hmmmm...)  Anyway, they're great.  I was told the name of the woman who designed them but for the life of me I can't remember it.  When I figure it out, I'll post it here.
...and Eight Ball Boogie

Anyone know of any recent crime novel covers that have impressed?