It’s exciting. I can’t deny it. I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the novel to come back from the copy-editor, I’m trying to find out as much as I can about formatting, uploading and marketing – oh, and not forgetting the day job of course – and then, in the middle of all that, a present dropped into my inbox.
Mind you, just like a gift at Christmas, I did know it was coming. It was on my list. But when you see it in the flesh, I can only say that it’s one of those moments. And plenty of you reading this, I know, will have had the same experience.
The cover. The first thing that people will see when, with any luck, they check out what it is I’m finally putting out there. My shop window, effectively, courtesy of a collaboration between myself and a good friend – designer Kevin Hilton.
So here it is …
The most important thing, so I’m told, is that the cover should be appropriate for the novel’s genre. Hopefully this is. It’s contemporary fiction, about a young man whose main obsession in life is judo, but who no longer fights following an act of revenge that still haunts him. But then two people enter his life – one tries to reconnect him with the sport, while the other, a classically trained dancer with a rebellious streak, becomes his new obsession and pulls him in a completely different direction …
I think the cover works perfectly, so I’m very happy. As I said, it’s one of the things that you have to get right. Anyone who has ever self-published with serious intent gives one hundred per cent to all aspects of their books, treats their creation and publication like an actual job, with serious consequences if they were to keep rolling in late or throwing sickies. And, by the same token, you will never hear any of these people say, ‘It’s okay to have a badly designed cover.’ It isn’t. Just like it’s not okay to have dozens of spelling mistakes, or to put your book up on Amazon and then do nothing afterwards to promote it. That is called ‘shooting yourself in the foot’.
Of course, this is all big talk from someone who hasn’t even published a single novel yet, but we’ll see. I’m just trying to cover all the angles. Some things I’ll get right, others I will no doubt mess up – and hopefully do properly with the next book. But it’s all part of the learning curve, and, most importantly, all part of the fun. I’ll have only myself to blame if it goes south, but at least there won’t be anyone there to shout at me and point the finger. Because no one wants a job where they have to keep pretending they’ve got flu, right?