a book by its cover

So this has arrived:

BVBFN0ICUAAT2sw.jpg large

It’s the cover design for my UK paperback due out in February. I’m rather pleased with it and I love that it riffs on the glorious hardback design. It’s a little lighter in tone – but hell, who wants my opinion on these things when I can share the accompanying email I received from HarperFiction’s creative director Mr Ben North (an excellent fellow):

“So. We have what I think qualifies as a Bloody Lovely Cover.

Obviously the image isn’t  a literal illustration of a scene from the text or anything, but thematically it seems to me that it’s bang on, while also being really appealing. It has a nice link to the HB cover through the type and the tree motif. While it doesn’t have the starkness of that cover, it does have a sort of late summer/autumnal melancholy which I really respond to, and I think potential readers will too.

Your name and the quote are in ‘straight’ type because the tree and type are fairly complex images, and we need to make sure that they are left nice and clear. Conceptually I see the brush-work type, the tree and the boy as part of a physically crafted object with the other type as copy on an image of that work, if that makes sense. 

So far as finishes are concerned we’re thinking of a lovely ‘soft-touch’ matt which will make that blue look really deep and vibrant, maybe some subtle gold foil here and there on the tree and possibly some embossing too. It will not only look great on-screen but will be an object of real physical loveliness too, with a rich, quality vibe.”

Amen to that, Ben.

It’s fascinating to witness the process (this wasn’t the first design). There is so much publishers need to consider in terms of marketing, placement and all that stuff we writers wish wasn’t so important – yet clearly is if we want to sell books. And ultimately it’s the publisher not the author who decides on the final package, so I count myself very fortunate to have been granted an audible voice, if not an actual vote.

Of course it isn’t only the UK cover I need to think about – but I have no say whatsoever in the others.


In fact, I only discovered this Serbian edition had been released when it popped up on my Goodreads profile. I’ll keep my counsel on the design. But from now on I only answer to Nejtan Fajler.


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