I’ve done the initial edit for the ebook edition of Something Stupid – a lot of exclamation marks and qualifiers have hit the dust and I expect more will go on a second read through. Now I’m handing it over to the copy editors (daughter and husband) to check for basic mistakes and inconsistencies. I’m never sure whether to put the names of books and publications in italics or not, I think it’s largely a matter of personal taste now, but one thing I do know is that you’ve got to be consistent. I’m pretty sure that the Daily Mail, which gets mentioned a surprising amount of times I realised, wavers from normal type to italics and back again on successive pages like bulrushes in a light breeze.
Now I’ve got to tackle the cover design. The original cover designs, even if I had a right to use them which I doubt I do, are over ten years old and tastes have changed. Something Stupid did stand out from others of its type when it was first published;
most similar books had covers in bright colours and with photographs of a face, or hands or legs. I always thought the cover made it look like it was aimed at teenagers, it was an unabashed light read but actually appealed to a wide age range.
Then they came up with the cover for Seven Week Itch;which stood out for different reasons. A friend told me she was embarrassed to be seen reading it on the tube. Not surprisingly I asked for something different for Up To No Good;this was very of its time but it bugs me because my heroine had blonde hair, not dark.
It’s good fun having a free hand to create a theme for the covers of three books. It’s also extremely alarming, because to start with I’m no expert in what makes a cover work; for instance I loved Katie fforde’s original covers such as a painting of a woman with a cup of tea done by a really good artist, they made you enjoy looking at the book as well as reading it. Her recent covers are pastels with line drawings of women lying in the grass or racing across the page, I don’t like them anything as much, but apparently they’ve increased her sales a lot.
I’m pushing the knotty question of whether I can trust my own taste to one side for the moment and concentrating on how I’m going to get the cover designed. Do we try and do it ourselves? Technically it’s not that difficult if you have the right programme and are reasonably computer literate – which counts me out. There are stock sites on the net to search for illustrations which are either free or shouldn’t cost too much. After four days my eyes are spinning in their sockets and I’ve only found one drawing which is even a possible.
Do we pay a professional? Even though a recent article I read about ebook publishing said it was worth the money, I’d rather not. It gets expensive and in my opinion the examples of really good design that were used to illustrate the article were c**p. But then that might be because I can’t recognise a good cover when it hits me in the face.
And in any case all this deliberation about who does the cover is pretty redundant when I can’t even decide what sort of cover I want; photograph, drawing, graphics, figures, landscapes, animals, cartoons, brights, pastels… I trawl endlessly through book sites on the net looking for ideas, my eyes are spinning again, and nothing seems quite right.
It’ll get sorted eventually. In the meantime it gives me something to bore the family with over dinner, and at least it makes a change from the rugby.