The cover of ‘Hater’ has always been a strong selling point. When I designed the original ‘Infected Books’ edition back in 2006, I knew that I wanted something that was visually striking, relevant to the novel and, perhaps most importantly, something that didn’t look like the cover of any other book already on the shelves.
The idea for deep red on a clear white background came quickly. I’m by no means an artist so taking this approach seemed to kill two birds with one stone – if it worked it would be fairly easy to produce and the simplicity would inevitably make it an eye-catching design. After briefly toying with a few concepts (such as the bloody handprint on the back cover of the original edition and the imprint of a blood-drenched face looking as if some poor soul had been smashed up against a window!), I settled on simply writing the word ‘Hater’ in blood.
To produce the original artwork, I went back to basics. It was early summer and my youngest daughter was painting. Struck by sudden inspiration, I selfishly grabbed some of her paints off her (she didn’t have any red, so I mixed brown and orange and yellow and whatever else I could find), made up a batch of ‘blood’, then stood out on the patio surrounded by sheets of paper making bloodspots and the like. She watched me with an uneasy mixture of fear and bemusement. I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters, building a mountain out of mashed potato at the dinner table.
I dipped my finger in the paint and scrawled ‘HATER’ on a clean sheet. I liked it so I did it again. Then again. Then again. Half a ream of bloody Haters later and I decided that the very first one was the best. I dried it, scanned it, Photoshopped the colours to a more typically bloody red-brown, then created a composite using various other drips, dribbles and splashes of blood from my experiments on the patio.
The original paperback cover suffered from a poor choice of font for my name and too much white space. When the book was sold to Thomas Dunne Books, their art department worked for some time to come up with an alternative illustration, before settling on a touched-up version of my original design. They increased the proportions of the image to better fill the cover, and added my name and the words ‘a novel’ in a suitably bloody scrawl.
The book has since been sold to numerous other countries and it’s been interesting to see how each country has approached the design of the cover. Some, like Poland and the UK, have gone for variations on a theme.
The Spanish, German and French publishers have taken a completely different, but no less eye-catching, tack. The French edition in particular, with its use of an ‘interesting’ picture of yours truly, has become something of a talking point! With other countries including Brazil, Russia, Japan and Korea yet to unveil their editions of the book, I’m looking forward to seeing what their designers come up with!
The fact that the cover of ‘Hater’ has generated such a positive response is something I’m very proud of. Since the release of the book in February I’ve had many emails which have started along the lines of ‘I was in the bookstore today just browsing, when I saw the cover of your book on the shelf and had to pick it up…’. I’m also thrilled by the very positive comments posted in today’s article by the professional designers over at www.fwis.com. Perhaps my favourite feedback though, was from a post I found on a forum a while back. Someone admitted to having brought the book so they could carry it with them on the tube each day. They weren’t interested in reading it themselves, they just wanted to see the looks on other passengers’ faces when they saw the cover!
Working from home is something I wanted to do for a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time it’s great – no commute, a comfortable office, food and drink on tap. I can work in the bedroom, in front of the TV, in the garden, in the bath…
Not wishing to sound ungrateful, but the downside of home working is having to share the office with the rest of the family. We’re on day 5 of the 40+ day summer school holiday and if I had any hair I’d be tearing it out right now. I love my kids dearly, but the more I’ve got to do, the more they seem to act up. Apologies in advance if you get an email from me that makes no sense over the next few weeks. I’ve probably had to leave the computer midway through typing to referee an argument, repair something, clean something up, fix someone some food or somesuch…
I’m kidding, of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just that today has been one of those days where I’ve sat in front of the screen for hours and achieved next to nothing. I’ve been interrupted 4 times since I started typing this post!
I thought I’d try and do something constructive and finish the week with a few snippets of news:
Writer’s Forum Magazine
You might remember that I was interviewed by Writers’ Forum Magazine a while back. This month’s issue features another article I’ve contributed to “Make the web work for you”. I’ve shared some of my experiences of writing and publishing online which hopefully will be useful.
It’s been a great few weeks for German readers! I know that the lack of availability of the Autumn books is frustrating a lot of people and I hope to have some news about release dates very soon. In the meantime, the German language edition of Autumn: Disintegration, Herbst: Zerfall, is now available for pre-order. This is the first time the book has been published in any language (see this page for an explanation). Zerfall will be released in September.
The French edition of HATER, RAGE, will be published by Milady on 5th June. They’ve put a great piece up about the book on their blog here.
And check out the cover! It’s more frightening than the book! At least I’ll have no problems proving I wrote it if ever I’m in France! Thanks to the team at SFX Magazine for giving their permission for the image to be used. You can order RAGE from Amazon.fr now.
An interview I did with www.scyla.com in Spain is now online (in English and Spanish!) here. (An update to this update… another Spanish interview with www.fantasymundo.com is now online here in English and Spanish.)
And finally, Herbst: Läuterung (the German language version of Autumn: Purification) is attracting some great reviews like this one from www.roterdorn.de.
Have a great weekend (an extra long one if you’re in the UK!). Maybe I’ll bump into some of you at Sci-Fi-London on Sunday.
I’ll be appearing at Sci-Fi London this Sunday May 3rd, taking part in a panel discussion: ‘Where’s My Jetpack?’
“Science fiction has promised us interstellar travel, flying cars, hoverboards, teleportation, universal translators, colonies in space and so much more. So where is it? In a world where London’s transport infrastructure can be brought to a standstill by 6 inches of snow and end-of-the-world scenarios play out in fiction, films and TV, is the mobile phone and the Internet really the best we can do?”
I’ve got two tickets to the panel to give away, courtesy of the event organisers. They’ll go to the first two people to email me at email@example.com with the subject line ‘Sci-Fi London’. These are tickets to the above mentioned panel only, not the whole festival, and you’ll need to get yourself to and from the venue and cover your own expenses etc. etc. etc.
Please take a moment to visit www.sci-fi-london.com and look at the full programme for the weekend. Until Friday 1st May you can get 2-for-1 on tickets for any of the literary panels if you book by phone (020 7451 9944) and say the words AUTHOR BLOG!
If anyone is going to the festival on Sunday, please let me know in advance and, if it fits in with everyone’s plans, we’ll try and meet up and say hello!
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