HarperCollins is in the process of designing the cover for my first novel, Precious Things. I’m so excited to see it – it should be ready in the next few weeks, and hopefully in time to grace the cover of the reading copies, which they’re working on at the moment.
My publisher Catherine and I have been going back and forth for some time on ideas about how it will look. Firstly, I was asked to send through some book covers I liked with suggestions as to what I thought worked or didn’t work about them for Precious Things. I sent through about fifteen covers, some with heavily stylised photographs and others with illustrations. Then I was asked to put together a mood board about my main character, so that Catherine could brief the designer on what the book’s about.
This is what I came up with. The images aren’t meant to be taken literally. My protagonist – a warm, sensitive woman called Maggie – isn’t a model, after all, but she is gorgeous in her way and these are meant to give a sense of how I see her. I compiled the mood board with tear sheets taken from fashion magazines laid out on my kitchen bench and overlaid with some of the beaded, richly embroidered and quirky vintage pieces Maggie collects. There’s also a postcard painting in there of a circus setting, which reflects her fascination with costumes and unusual or special pieces.
I loved doing this – it’s quite fun to be asked to contribute to the design of your book and I realised I had all the images I needed, already collected in a folder which accompanied me throughout the writing process. Whenever I saw an appropriate image, I put it in there just for my own reference, along with articles that seemed to evoke the mood or setting I was looking for.
The funny part about the cover process is that you can provide all sorts of background ideas and images to designers, but it often happens that inspiration strikes them, and they come up with something so unexpected, extraordinary and right – but completely different to what was envisaged. That’s the magic of what they do.
Stay tuned for news on the reading copies. I’m hoping to be given some extra to hand out to those of you in book groups, so you can spread the word in advance x