I’m hoping that the initial artwork will be arriving over the weekend, and to be honest I’ve been incredibly vague about what I want . . . because I don’t know what I want.
I know what I don’t want.
I don’t want a shadowy detective standing in a snow-filled forest.
I don’t want photographs of Susan and Christopher Edwards . . . that would be too ‘true crime’.
“Something a bit abstract,” was all I could really come up with.
I’m working with the fabulous Liam Relph to produce my book covers, and he was an absolute find.
Apart from his artwork – check him out on Reedsy – which is diverse, he has a sense for the abstract. What sold him to me was his promise to read the book. Sounds an odd thing to say, but most of them don’t. And then he came to me with real enthusiasm and a hundred questions . . . because he was genuinely interested and enthusiastic. I’ve talked about Liam in my last post, so I won’t go on, other than to reiterate the learning curve of going it alone.
Through this process, when I finally took the decision to be in charge of my own destiny as a writer; when I decided to move away from that notion of conventional publishing, I effectively had to become a small business.
I had to become my own PR and marketing department, my own accountant, my own project manager. And one of the keys to successful small business, I have learned, is that you need to hire in expertise.
Back in my pre-independent days, I truly never gave this any thought. It would just happen, right? Well yeah, it would . . . to a greater or lesser extent. You may get consulted on covers, but you wouldn’t have the final say, or perhaps not any say at all, because now it was the publisher’s book, not yours.
Would they even ask you about typesetting? Don’t know, but I doubt it.
And then to the editing. When I had lunch with my then agent one thing he said really struck me.
He said: “Of course, this is just the start,” After I’d worked through the night to make all the final amendments he wanted to get it out ahead of some of the bigger book festivals. “Once one of them bites, they’re going to want to appoint their own editor, to pull it around until it’s the book they want.”
With hindsight, I should have said, “Fuck that,” then and there. Because all they want is Inspector Morse and Harry Hole, or any one of a handful of other templates. What works? Just keep churning it out. More of the same, more of the same. Get it in the bookshops at the airport for that extra push.
Books bought at Heathrow and abandoned in hotel rooms all over the world, or left, finished, soaking up pool water in the fading sunlight until the artwork fades.
And that’s not the route I want.
I will share the initial designs when I have them.