One of the fun bits of publishing that readers don’t usually see is the process of working up the cover design. We produce a design brief and the artist or designer will provide some rough ideas which we can discuss and also share with the author. Our forthcoming title The Ballad of Curly Oswald is set in a hippie commune in the 1970s, and the mix of domesticity and drug culture was one of the themes that showed up in the very first concepts.
Ignoring our designer’s wayward spelling for a moment, this is the stage where we start to think what we do want by seeing examples of what we don’t – from this batch, we said no to the fonts but yes to exploring the idea of an abandoned caravan, which picks up the theme of the narrator, Curly Oswald, recalling his lost childhood, and the idea of an abandoned caravan that had been his childhood home waiting to be rediscovered in the depths of an English forest.
But then the mysterious author – we still have no idea who Curly is or where he or she is based – offered us some idea of her or his own. (We should perhaps have guessed they might be good, as the Curly character grows up to be a designer himself.)
The left one perhaps falls into the ever-present trap of trying to tell too much of the story (what we call the Agatha Christie Cover syndrome – that’s for another post) but we simply couldn’t improve on the one on the right (save some tweaking of the title). And you’ll be able to judge for yourself when the book is out next month. (Pre-order yours now!)