Thursday, September 23, 2010

back cover blurb etc

I decided to change the title, partly in response to the feedback I got from respected friends and colleagues, and partly because I sensed that some people might think it was a poli sci textbook! So I decided to go with an earlier title that refers back to one of Charles Fourier's more bizarre predictions: "And the seas shall turn to lemonade". Since the figure of Fourier figures prominently in the book, the title seemed apt, and also tips off the humour. It also tipped me in the direction of a different cover idea, and since I seemed to be on a roll, I then decided to write up the back cover blurb....always tricky, especially when you have to write it yourself, and not the marketing wing of the publishing house! Here is what I propose; all comments welcome:

A darkly humorous romp through the tortuous relationship between two academic misfits: Tabitha Black, obsessive list-maker and modern day utopian, and Nathaniel Speck, the oafish yet elegant medieval scholar whose dubious achievements include the publication of a hilarious guide to household management in the modern universe. Their relationship is played out against the incestuous under-life of a small university town, where residents and professors eye each other with equal unease. As Tabitha searches for just the right inhabitants for her utopian stronghold, a host of characters join in: Fiona, Nathaniel's foul-mouthed and maternal crush; Lee-Ann, a specialist in frog hibernation who disocvers a profitable business in an unexpected place; and even Tabitha's dead mother, who dispenses unwanted advice from the clouds.

Witty, humane and ultimately tender, And the seas shall turn to lemonade explores the many sides of love itself, and how it can exist all around you without ever being seen.

So, all comments welcome. Sorry to have to call myself witty, but if I don't....ha ha.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to present Tabitha

It has been too long since I posted something, but I have been struggling with the cover image. There are a number of frogs in the novel, and they figure somewhat prominently in the story. Since frogs are somewhat naturally humorous, I figured a frog image on the cover might work. But trying to find the right frog -- well, that is another matter altogether. Too cute, too serious, too -- what does this have to do with anything? So I guess I have to ask myself -- how do I want to present Tabitha, my main character? She is smart, sassy, twisted, vulnerable, and devious -- ultimately human. She is a compulsive listmaker, an impassioned lecturer at the university, a non-conformist. While frogs enter into her life in an unusual way, linked to another character who is an expert in cryogenics, should they really be on the cover? How much should the cover image relate to the book itself, and how much should it be understood as a marketing tool. I will ponder these questions over the weekend, and see what I can come up with. I have had a number of good suggestions from friends and graphic designers, but of course what is obvious is that everyone has a different sense of the book, and ultimately, I am the one who must make the decision. Ribbet.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

book covers: what works?

I have become a stalker of book covers, lurking about in Chapters, studying, assessing, taking mental notes. After all the work I have done on the novel itself, soemtimes it feels as if it has all come down to this -- a ten second encounter with a potential reader who, like me, is scanning covers trying to decide what to pick up. Lulu offers cover design formats, but I am thinking of putting a little money into a designer. Two covers I liked -- Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow, and Ladykiller, Charlotte Gill. Strong colours, single arresting images, minimal approach. I guess I am developing an aesthetic preference. This too is helpful, sharpening how I want the book to be understood, the tone I am trying to project. With each day I turn the prism of the book in a different direction, sensing all the ways I can connect with my readers above and beyond plot and characters.