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New Cover, Final Choice

Book Cover Annemieke Leverenz

Here it is, the new cover for my next Blàs story, Blàs; Roots in the Soil. I love it. A suggestion of what lies inside without the need to capture every element. A slight autumnal feel to whet the reader’s appetite and a flash of tartan. It reflects the genre, so ticking lots of boxes. When it sits alongside Blàs; of the Highlands it is easy to see they are of the same ilk, giving a blas (Gaelic), a taste of the stories inside. Women’s fiction laced with humour, colourful characters and events.

I may have broken one of the cardinal rules though. Ok, I freely admit I have broken one. “You shouldn’t ask for something to be included because it means something to you as a writer.” Of course, that is not word perfect but like a cover, I am just conveying the feel of that rule.

On closer inspection, you could probably add some more that I have bent a little. Are we allowed no creative input into how our books are marketed? Well, I suppose if it means a drop in sales, then there is good reason to follow the advice.

Right there, is one of the crucks of the dilemma. Writers write, marketers and salespeople, sell books. However, there are a lot of writers that manage both very successfully, even enjoy that as part of the whole creative process. I suspect though, there are many more that find the marketing more of a challenge.

A middle road may not actually help, even if it feels better. The easy and clever route is to take all the relevant advice and follow it. Otherwise, accept you probably won’t make the sales you may expect or want.

So why have I bent the rules then? Partly because I couldn’t help myself and partly because the ‘thing’ I wanted, actually fits in with the genre.

If I look back on the original suggestions from the cover artist, it is hard to believe how much that initial design has been adapted and changed over the months. I remember feeling so laid back about the choice as I wasn’t the one who had all the work to do. Of course, that refers to the actual arty side. I had forgotten when I put up that blog that in fact, there was plenty yet for me to do.

How about the blurb? Of course, that had to be written. Writing a blurb is a skill in itself. How can a writer possibly summarise their story in a few lines that have taken over 70,000 words to tell in a book? So many things to consider. How long should it be? It needs to be interesting enough to catch a reader’s eyes but not too detailed that there is no point in actually buying the book.

The cover is not quite finished yet, the quotes still have to be gathered and positioned but the main pieces of the jigsaw are finished. A designated space has been left on the front to take the quote. The spine has to be adjusted and speaking of which it is a shame you can’t see it in this picture but it is the trunk of the tree. It does look amazing.

So what was the rule that I couldn’t help breaking if all else is looking good? Well, if you have been following any of my blogs you will have noticed a few themes I have followed over the year without me even being aware of it.

The first is trees. Given the story, I didn’t need to interfere with that in any way. Secondly writing, obviously, the book has pages of that so once more nothing to add. Thirdly, Gaelic, well that gets enough coverage I feel with Grumpa always butting in. So that leaves the final category that creeps into my writing even when I have no intention of it being there, in fact, if it gets away with it, it creeps into my nice warm bed too.

Of course, it is the dog. There was one on the cover of Blàs; of the Highlands although it was small. A collie by the name of Old Shep pads in and out of the pages in the first book, Blàs; Roots in the Soil does have dogs and in particular this one, a Dandie Dinmont Terrier. In a way, it does justify the inclusion on the cover. I will just have to wait and see whether this is self-indulgence and crashes my sales or if a little bow to one of the storylines actually helps.

Over to you my friends, do you think the Dandie will help?

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