COVER STORY by VALERIE LAWS
Woohoo, here it is, the cover for my forthcoming crime novel THE OPERATOR, an Erica Bruce and Will Bennett thriller with a medical setting, sequel to THE ROTTING SPOT. I’ve been working with my publisher Red Squirrel Press’ cover designer Andrew (thirdfloorcreative.co.uk) and this is what we’ve come up with. I’m thrilled with it, and what’s more, I’ve just received a cover quote from the brilliant Ann Cleeves of 'Vera' and 'Shetland' fame: 'gripping from the very first scene'.
Andrew is adding that to the bottom of the front cover even as I type.
THE OPERATOR will be launching later this month as an indie ebook, and then will be published in paperback by Red Squirrel Crime next February, the other way round from THE ROTTING SPOT.
|First dead tree, then 'e'|
My new cover is dark, the blue reminiscent of x-rays and medical scrubs, the blurred background image is of a surgeon or someone dressed as one. A bloody scalpel slices through the middle of the cover. This reflects the titular killer, though surgeons are victims in this book - the shadowy surgeon could be a sinister assailant, or a victim fending of attack. I like this ambiguity. The white lettering shows up well against this background. I've gone for bigger fonts this time. Looking at successful crime novels online, I’ve noticed that the lettering is getting bigger and bigger, so that author and title take up almost the whole cover, over a blurry impressionistic background image. Very clear blocky fonts and lettering are the norm. This must be the influence of Amazon - even a paperback or hardback book is often first seen in thumbnail size online, so when designing a cover, it’s important to look at both large, for the ‘look inside’ cover pic on Amazon or the actual cover in the shop or library, and small, to make sure the title is clearly visible on the thumbnail. There seems to be a line in an author’s trajectory when their name becomes larger than the title, and given more prominence on the cover! As this is only my second crime novel, though my twelfth book, I’m still in the title bigger than name category!
Sometimes it’s wrong on many levels but possibly deliberate, with a view to raking in extra dosh. Here's ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, with the 11-year-old redhead (and her hair colour is vital to the whole plot!) misfit suddenly a blonde, sexy model ready for a roll in the hay. There's a new edition of Sylvia Plath's THE BELL JAR which looks like chick lit. Both these abominations have caused much discussion on facebook and the blogosphere. More bad covers and good fun here.
So I’ve been working hard on editing the book and will soon be formatting it for Kindle. But as we know, with ebooks the end result is not the end. Authors can make changes at any time, and buyers can be sent the updated versions automatically. This is a huge advantage for writers who wish they'd done something differently, or realise a lot of readers are not ‘getting’ something vital which can then be clarified. Different 'editions' were few and far-between previously. Ebooks are more like music tracks nowadays, with ever-spiralling numbers of different versions all done post-production. I'm hoping to get some advance readers and reviewers on the case, not only for marketing the book, but for responses. The book I upload to Kindle in the next few weeks could change between now and when the paperback is printed.
My Amazon author page UK
My Amazon author page US
THE ROTTING SPOT KINDLE UK
THE ROTTING SPOT KINDLE US
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