Monday, March 28, 2005

Die cast & set in concrete.

Last week my editor asked me to have a go at a back cover blurb for my novel. I confess I've had a LOT of practice at this - I self-published 3 novels, and because I only printed a tiny quantity each time I've gone through more blurbs than an ink jet goes through vastly overpriced cartridges. But this time I only have one shot at the most important sentences in the entire book (and the ones most people will read... before they stick the thing back on the shelf.)

I came up with this after much brain-scratching. It's not supposed to be finished art, just a concept which explains the idea I was toying with. Does it make the book sound interesting? Fun? Feel free to participate by posting a comment below. They'll likely use something else entirely, and I have their 'write a blurb please' request figured as (a) a cunning ruse to see if I'm really a busy-body or (b) something to keep me out of their hair for a while.

They also asked whether I could secure cover quotes. All my books have been reviewed, and I've collected a few decent comments over the years ("Hey, this doesn't suck!") But I thought it would be nice to have something new, so I contacted an author and a reviewer whose only crime was to make positive noises about the earlier editions of my book. Their punishment was to be put on the spot, to be asked for a cover quote for this new edition, something which would con your ordinary, average book buyer into thinking I'd written something worth reading. (Side note - you'll see me having a go at myself quite often. I like to get the boot in before everyone else does. Dang it, there I go again...)

While all this organising was going on I received two countersigned copies of the contract. I wanted my wife to witness my signature, since it's a big event for me and I was keen to share it with the special person in my life. Unfortunately we both had different events on over Easter, and found ourselves 400km apart for 5 days. She was playing in a concert band, I was attending a science fiction convention for the magazine I'm involved with. So, an hour or so after we both got home today (the kids were 50km away, staying with their grandparents) we did the signing thing and I mailed off the publisher's copy. Done deal.

Regarding artwork, the publisher is talking to Les Petersen, the artist who drew the original covers for all three of my novels. Because Fremantle Arts Centre Press are primarily a literary house, a lot of their books have arty covers. And my books ain't literary. I had a nagging worry (ok, I was sick with worry) that Hal Spacejock would appear with a cover which made it look all highbrow and literary and arty. But if they use Les's artwork there's stuff all chance of that, so my mind is eased. (You can see the older covers on - one picture is worth 1000 words of blog.)

I'm also keeping an eye on Amazon. Using the advanced search you can find books by a particular publisher, sorted by release date. I can already see Fremantle Arts books up to June 30, so I'm expecting November books to appear some time after July. Don't worry, I'll list the URL for the book the second it appears - I have quite a few people waiting to order it, and you can add your name here.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[chuckling] Still think that blurb is great, keping fingers crossed they use it!

Hope the back is better.

David Forbes said...

Yeah, I like the blurb. It has a vague "Hitchicker's Guide" feel to it (I hope that isn't insulting to say that, it's just my initial impression). With the film of "Hitchicker's" coming out soon (and looking like it will "not suck"), maybe you can ride some coattails...