Friday, January 10, 2014

Judging a Book By Its Cover

10th January 2014

If you can't judge a book by its cover, then you won't be able to tell how good my story is from looking at the images below. But just for curiosity's sake, here's the final cover, back and front, for "Veil of Time."

My editor and I struggled over the back cover blurb till each of us was ready for a divorce (the only time we even came close!), but I think it came out pretty well. My part of the struggle was to keep the hyperbole on the ground, and hers understandably was to fit the book into a marketable niche.  I wouldn't have advertised the fact that my hero, Fergus, is a prince, though he technically is.  It's just that he is not a prince of the white charger stamp. I let it go. Why fight it - we are all in the same game at this point of trying to get as many books out into the world as possible, Scottish princes notwithstanding.
The photograph of yours trully is not the greatest, but that is my fault for not having a good enough one on hand (despite years of fantasizing about having my face on a published novel!)  I have promised myself that for the next book I will shell out proper money for a professional picture.
In retrospect I regret not having mentioned that I also spent four years at Edinburgh University - I was trying to be concise, and I knew Oxford carried more weight, but Edinburgh is my true alma mater (in more than one way, since I was born in that city) and the place I earned my MA (in philosophy.) So let it go on record: I didn't mean to shove it aside.
I do like the fact that the designer repeated the landscape on the back cover. I like to think that if you made an image of me with the right kind of contraption honing in on a specific type of energy wave, you would find Scotland etched on my skin. It's not far beneath the surface. This scene is not of Dunadd and could be of the farthest reaches of Argyll, but it is a bleaker landscape than is typical of my native soil. Dunadd is heavy with bracken and oak forest (at least it was in its original state, and that's the way they're letting it return.)

In other developments, I was sent the "Buy Buttons" to put up on my website (once again I was indebted to a techno-savvy teenager!) Now you can buy my book from a number of booksellers, some of which I hadn't even heard of.  Also, I have been invited to speak at Boston's Writer's Conference, The Muse and The Marketplace in May. It's a big bustling event with 100 faculty and 600 students. Now all I have to do is rip my heart out, squeeze it dry in front of my audience, then replace, still beating, back it in my chest. It might not be as traumatic as that, but this is what comes to mind when I think of the "performance." Being a shy Scottish lass, public speaking is close to harikari on my list of dreads. And yet, and yet. My father was a great public speaker, made his living from it, as a matter of fact. So maybe there is some hidden potential there in my make-up cowering in the dank cave of my insecurity, listening to the hours, days and weeks dripping from here to there like running stalactites. Maybe I will rise to the occasion. Who knows? Things are going to have to change from here on out. Maybe this public life is my new era. Maybe there was a lot more involved in this writing life than I counted on when I set out.

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