Maybe some authors are more 'hands on' than others with their covers. I'll never forget a documentary about the publication of 'The Whole Woman' by Germaine Greer. She was filmed bashing a raw and bloody steak to be the background of her cover, then photographing a gold female fertility symbol embedded in it. Doing it yourself - and getting away with it - is an option for someone of Greer's status I guess.
The sheer physical pleasure a beautifully packaged book gives you is the single reason I don't think ebooks will see the end of traditional publishing. We've talked a lot recently about how writers just love everything about books, but which volumes are your favourites? I was flicking through Persephone Books' copy of Judith Viorst's classic 'It's Hard to be Hip Over Thirty' at the weekend (you can probably see how my mind was working ...). Persephone books are gorgeous - exquisitely printed and the grey covers conceal dazzling endpapers. Books are at best the whole package - intelligent, beautiful and sexy, just like Michelle in today's clip. For anyone feeling less slinky this Monday morning, here's an excerpt from Judith:
The honeymoon is over
And he has left for work
Whistling something obvious from La Bohème
And carrying a brown calfskin attaché case
I never dreamed he was capable of owning,
Having started the day
With ten pushups and a cold shower
Followed by a hearty breakfast.
(What do we actually have in common?)
The honeymoon is over
And I am dry-mopping the floor
In a green Dacron dry-mopping outfit from Saks,
Wondering why I'm not dancing in the dark,
Or rejecting princes,
Or hearing people gasp at my one-man show,
My god, so beautiful and so gifted!
(The trouble is I never knew a prince.)
TODAY'S PROMPT: What's the secret of a great cover? Do you care about how your book will look, or is being published enough for you? Why do you think books are packaged differently in different countries - even published under alternate titles? A while ago I worked with a life coach setting up the business. It was a freebie for women entrepreneurs courtesy of Business Link, and a good way to focus your mind. One of his tips was not only to visualise what you want to happen, but to make it concrete. For example - don't just fantasise about that healthy bank account, mock one up with the figure you'd like to see after a year's trading. Similarly mocking up a cover for your book is a great, fun exercise. What do you think would make your book catch people's eye, send it to the top of the pile or the coveted 'face out' position in Waterstones?