A recent trend of wrapping books in unassuming brown paper and jotting down the merest of hints as to what lies underneath is sweeping the nation’s bookshops and book-clubs. I love this idea, because covers can often be misleading, distracting or ill-fitting. The old adage of judging books by their covers exists precisely because this is what we do. How much simpler it would be if all books could be wrapped in plain paper, but then we would miss out on the one opportunity to create a visual representation of what lies between the covers.
Being a self-publisher, one has the blessing/curse of choosing one’s own cover (not sure why I’ve slipped into the third person, but there we are). It can actually be a really exciting, creative process, but when budget is a concern, there are limitations. This usually means hiring a graphic designer who will give your cover the professional edge, but being on the poor man’s plan means doing a lot of the work yourself. Nothing new there then. So for my debut novel, I had eleventy-thousand ideas for the cover and bombarded my designer with images, patterns, frames, fonts… the list was endless. In a bid to give me what I wanted instead of what I needed, she tried to incorporate as many of my ideas as possible and did a great job of blending them. However, in hindsight, I realise that she should have said STOP! In capitals! Book covers are meant to be clear – telling the reader, at a glance, what to expect. While I do like my cover, after a few years in this industry, I can see that I made some newbie mistakes.
So it’s time for change and a re-branding of my first novel, The Cross Of Santiago. Similar to Outlander, this novel has two timelines with characters’ lives intertwining throughout. And like Diana Gabaldon, I also struggle to come up with a condensed description of what this book is about. As she herself said: “I’m still trying to figure out what the heck you call books that nobody can describe.” It covers so many genres from historical fiction, to romance, fantasy, mystery and general fiction. So instead I’m going to leave it up to one of my readers, The Bearded Bookworm, to describe it!
The Cross of Santiago is a historical fiction / romance novel set mainly in Galway, Ireland. It follows the stories of several characters from 2010 as well as slipping back further in time to the 16th century.In 2010 we follow the stories of Amanda, a young women who was orphaned as a child and longs to know more about her biological family and Xavier, a Spanish man who has by chance become involved in an around the world yacht race which will finish in Galway.After having no contact with her biological family following her parents deaths at a young age Amanda out of the blue receives contact from a law firm informing her that her aunt has died and left her a medal in her will. After experiencing flashbacks during a hypnotherapy session it becomes clear that this medal may be even more important than simply being the only remaining connection to her biological family.Why does she keep having dreams of drowning? What exactly is the medal and how did her aunt come to have it in her possession? Are her visions representative of her inner emotions or are they memories of a previous life? And more importantly, what does the mysterious Spaniard Xavier have to do with it all?
Again, with time and experience, I have come to realise that the title, ‘The Cross Of Santiago’ doesn’t really mean very much to people. I imagine most people have heard of the Camino de Santiago – a pilgrimage across northern Spain – and perhaps that association is a bit misleading. I had thought of changing it before, but I assumed that once you published a book, you couldn’t change it. Currently I am of the mind that you can do whatever the hell you want! And what I want is for my novel to reach the audience it was meant for, and it’s my job to make sure that happens. Besides, most novels have entirely different covers for different markets and various editions and I think that after three years, my novel deserves a new jacket too. So after much thought and consultation, I am giving my novel a new title, THE HEIRLOOM. It’s evocative, intriguing and after all, the entire plot revolves around the mysterious heirloom itself.
The changes haven’t been finalised yet, but having all the patience of a gnat, I just had to share it with you! It all began with this beautiful shot – as soon as I saw it I knew that it was my new cover.
Ta-dah! Do let me know what you think 🙂 As I said, the kerning has to be finished and a few other bits and bobs, but hopefully this new cover and title will be live very soon. I was chatting about this with fellow Indie Author Heather Wardell and she pointed out that the only concern would be readers buying the same book twice! However, the clever people at Amazon have already thought of this and there is an option to publish my new cover as a second edition, which I think sounds rather fancy. So it’s a win-win 🙂
You can now buy The Heirloom in paperback or eBook