|Holy shit look at that. Cover by Raj Mohanlal|
Let me elaborate.
It's a size too big is my first knee jerk reaction. This isn't a book you carry around with you. I'm not saying it's massive, but it's more like a manual than a novel, so that needs to be changed. I immediately found the appropriate template but because it's an inch or so smaller the layout changes completely, so now it's double the original length, page-wise. Because of that all my planned back-matter, quotes, everything, are going to have to wait for a potential "deluxe" edition I could do, but I'd rather not charge people more money for stuff they don't need (or have read here already) when I can get the actual story in their hands.
The layout is wrong when you start reading it. Things just start and there's not a "professional" finish to it. That was something I had intended to resolve before sending in the proof but my deadline hit hard and I forgot to amend it. Bah. This is an easy enough fix, but trying to work out how to make the layout conform in such a way as to make you look at it and think "oh, this could be a book I buy in Waterstones/WH Smith/off Amazon/etc" is really important so I don't want to screw it up.
The proof cover was based on the below photograph by DeviantArt user Scheinbar, who kindly gave permission to use her work as the cover. I took the advice of my boss, who said that I should make my novel look like it belonged on the shelf of any random bookshop, so I thought photo cover would be the best. Sure, I could commission some art from a friend, but deadlines were deadlines and I needed something really really fast. The photo was atmospheric, eerie, and worked on all the right levels. Damn fucking spooky if you ask me, which is a definite plus. So a good find on all counts.
I sent the image to my long-time collaborator Raj Mohanlal, who was my partner in my old Zenith! Magazine days. I gave him a spec and he went wild, coming up with some rather striking takes on the photo. As you can see from the actual cover, he inked over the photo, taking the image in a very experimental-- and beautifully eerie-- direction. The atmosphere in the piece was turned up to eleven, completely, but there was something about that original photo that just sang to me, and I think that was lost in the final "cut" as it were. I've sought another cover, hopefully have something by the end of the weekend.
That's the biggest problem of this whole endeavour. The January deadline has put me in corners I didn't want to be in, but thankfully, due to the proof reading process I've got a bit more time, so I can look for a new cover. I don't like being put in a corner, I don't like being forced into a decision. But because this is so damn important to me, I'll break my own rules to be happy with the final product. That said, my new deadline to have all the changes applied is Sunday, so, uh... blimey.
Luckily, everything I've noticed is fixable. Everything needs doing is gonna get done.
The plan is to have this on sale mid-February. That's been the plan since Day One and it's going to be done.