Me and Him Indoors (or rather, Him Indoors and I) spent the evening last night looking at book covers and thinking about what we want mine to look like.
A few days ago I had one of those "Doh!" moments when I was reminded of the fact that Him Indoors runs a small community magazine for a living, and spends a goodly chnk of his life tinkering with design software, pdfs etc. And he has a whole team of designers who are itching for exciting projects to get their teeth into. Which means that not only can Him Indoors do the typesetting and formatting of the text for the book, and create one of they mystical pdf doodahs the printers keep asking for, he can also help with the design of the cover. I have an extremely talented ilustrator lined up, but although he has some experience of design he's not a designer, and also doesn't have the correct software available. But Him Indoors does. Hurrah.
So anyway. We looked at book covers, we looked at books illustrated by our illustrator, we mucked around a bit on Him Indoors' computer, and we came up with a tentative idea for how the book might look. And crucially we came up with what the illustrator has asked for, which is a brief for what we want him to draw.
I've just spoken to the man himself on the phone, and what a lovely man he is. He's an old friend. Well, I've known him for about six years, but it feels like I've known him forever. I met him on the internet. I just happened across his website, and liked a picture of a tiger I saw there so much that I emailed him and told him I wanted to be his friend. Several emails later and he was just that. Then he came to my first book launch, and now he is my first choice of person to stay with or otherwise catch up with whenever I'm in London.
(that's one of his)
(he's called Francis Blake)
Anyway, we had a lovely chat and I described what I think we want and he's going to do some rough sketches and then we're going to see what we think. The best thing about all this is that he has a naturally collaborative approach, but also he is a librarian and a bibliophile and is as excited as I am about making this book a really wonderful thing. Although he won't be doing the actual design, he will be acting as consultant in the design process, and hopefully between us we can come up with something great. We're aiming for a vibrant, slightly anarchic, humorous, irreverent feel, with bright colours and strong design.
If all goes according to plan, we'll have an image in four weeks' time which will then form the basis for the design of the cover. That may be ambitious, but we'll see. In four weeks I will also do a revised edit on the text, and create a rough review copy in Lulu which I can send out to a small number of people to get reviews and quotes. Then a month after that (early July) I will hopefully have reviews, quotes and a finished cover design. Then I can go about getting advance orders, and if I manage to get at least 50 of them I can send everything off to the printers and get a book printed! EASY!
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