by Bill Kirton
|The new clothes|
A while ago, it came under new management and the new edition has now been published. So what? You ask. Well, to begin with, having a new publisher may counteract the fact that my marketing and PR skills show no signs of improving and most bookshops still seem reluctant to stock
But the main reason I’m writing this is because the change has brought home very forcibly the impact of a new cover. I liked the old cover and, when I got the first proof copies of it, it gave me the usual ‘this is my baby’ pride. It’s been with me for a few years and helped the book to win a couple of awards. And maybe the familiarity of it helps to explain my reaction to the new one because, frankly, it feels like a different book. I’ve made just one or two tiny changes to the text so it’s more or less identical to the previous edition and yet it doesn’t seem so.
I always claim that I never judge a book by its cover (except when the cover’s so awful that you know the book can’t be any good because it’s been treated
shamefully), and I’m not ‘judging’ the Sparrow either. It’s not a question of
whether it makes the book look ‘better’, that one is ‘bad’ and the other
‘good’; it actually seems to be a question of identity. I know the book well.
It was my first ever novel and I not only wrote it, I rewrote it many times
over, gave it at least 4 different titles en route. So it’s a long-standing,
familiar friend. And now, all of a sudden, I see it wearing a new outfit and I
don’t recognise it.
|The old clothes|
It reminded me of an exchange I had with a young girl who was in a workshop I did for children in Huntly library last year. After the class she asked me:
‘Is that your book, The Darkness, on the shelf upstairs?’
‘The cover’s rubbish, isn’t it?’
As it happens, I don’t agree with her but this latest experience has made me very aware that I maybe need to think more carefully about the power of a book’s appearance.
It also makes me want to get on with the sequel, just so that I can see what the cover’s like.