Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 9 November 2013

It just makes you think by Jenny Harper

I've just sent another book to my agent, Vivien Green. She loves it! Whoopee! Won't it be great if an editor feels the same way?

However, with my story coming out in the Truly, Madly, Deeply anthology in February, I've decided I really must have something up for my adoring fans to find when they go to Amazon to see what else I've written. So I'm editing a couple of novels – maybe even four – so that I can publish them myself. This is hugely energising and exciting, especially as I've also spent some time designing the covers.

I love graphic design. I did a lot of it in my job, so I'm not afraid of it. But what I found interesting by undertaking this process was that suddenly I 'saw' my books in a different way. Instead of being slightly dead things lurking in my computer, they have begun to spring to life. And I've seen them differently in other ways too – for example, as I searched for appropriate images for the covers, I realised that two out of four novels needed to be renamed, and the focus of one was completely wrong.

(This last is a bummer, because I'm having to rewrite large parts of it!)

I'm sorry I can't reveal the covers yet - they are still in visual form and I will need to purchase the images before I can use them. However, here's a couple of examples of how things have changed, and why.

The Suspicious Wife is about a wind farm engineer whose marriage is under threat. Meantime, she is coping with a difficult situation at work, and she meets a gardener who hates wind farms as much as she loves them. When it came to writing a strapline for the cover, I realised that the title didn't describe the main conflict. Now it will read:

Face the Wind and Fly She builds wind farms, he detests them. Can they ever find love?

The next book is about three friends who live in Edinburgh. The original title  – The Glass Ornament – came from a quote: 'Friendship is like a glass ornament - once it has been broken, it can never be put together in quite the same way.' I loved it, and my then agent Dot Lumley loved it too. But when I started looking for an image, it seemed to be too cold and inanimate. I came across a terrific image of a pair of man's shoes next to a woman's legs – quite sexy but leaving a lot to the imagination. Who is the man? Whose legs are they? And a new title came to me: Between Friends. 

Between Friends They thought he belonged safely in the past, but his return threatens the marriages, careers and lives of three friends.

I have finally seen the value of the 'elevator pitch'. It focuses the mind as well as sells the book! Maybe in future I'll design my own cover before I even start writing – it might save a lot of time in the long run ...

And now I can't wait to share my covers – and my books – with you all. Watch this space.

13 comments:

  1. I can't wait either! Really looking forward to seeing - and reading - them Jenny. Well done you for pushing ahead.

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    1. Thanks Gill. It's quite invigorating!

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  2. What an exciting post, Jenny! Looking forward to reading your novels when they appear and I'm keeping my fingers crossed an editor loves your latest novel as much as your agent does.

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    1. Who knows? The publishing world is in such flux. I'm excited that there IS a way to get your work out there nowadays, and that it's no longer looked down on.

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  3. What an interesting post, Jenny. I'm impressed by your ability to abandon the title you know so well and substitute, but I do agree the title is very important. Good luck with all of this. Anne Stenhouse

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    1. Maybe turning things inside out is the only way forward... Hopefully I'm doing the right thing! Thanks Anne.

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  4. Wow, what a busy girlie you have been! So pleased for you. I think, when we dig out old stuff, we can see ways to improve it almost immediately because our esperience has grown. New titles are great!

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  5. Thanks, Linda. You're so right - I look back at what I was writing a few years back and I'm shocked! Who ever said writing was easy?

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  6. Brilliant titles. And a fascinating insight into what makes a 'product' come to life.

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  7. Thanks! And I can't wait to read yours...

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  8. Good for you, Jenny! So pleased you're bringing your books to light and life!

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  9. Thanks Rosemary. I'm quite excited!

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  10. This is very exciting! I feel the same way about covers and how they can keep you focussed on theme and premise. I can't wait to hear and see more Jenny!!

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