I’ve got time for one more pass through my new book, Midwinterblood, to be published this autumn, and that means it’s time for the design team at Orion to kick into overdrive with the cover. I like this bit for lots of reasons, not least because my work is nearly done and I can ‘advise’ on someone else trying to get the best out of the thing.
Midwinterblood was always going to be a challengin cover design, because the book has so many different elements. Which to go for? What to focus on? In the end, as I’ve probably said on numerous occasions, it comes down to one thing. It took me years to realise what a cover should do, and actually it’s pretty simple. A good cover should obviously be a smart and striking piece of design, if it tells you something about the plot, characters, setting etc then so much the better, but THE ONE THING a cover should do is tell you how you will feel when you read the book. We read, after all, to experience an emotion, or emotions, and a cover should give you a sample of that before you even open the pages.
That being understood, as we tweak what will be the finished thing for Midwinterblood, I realise again that that is what it has come down to. A big fat slice of what I hope people will feel as they read the book. And also, after a few alternative designs, we went back to something based on the painting that inspired the book in the first place, Carl Larsson’s Midvinterblot. That seems fitting.