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.