Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cream Teas and Covers

I've got a ton of photos of Prague to post but I'll spare you my holiday snaps to tell you some writing-related news instead!

On Monday afternoon my publishers (my paperback editor, a marketing person and a PR person) took me and my agent to Liberty's for afternoon tea. And very tasty it was too - two fruit scones with jam and clotted cream and a big ol' pot of Lady Grey.

The food was great but it wasn't the most exciting bit. THAT was seeing a print out of the first draft/design of my book cover!

I swear my heart stopped for a second as my editor reached into her bag. What if I hated it? Could I lie convincingly if it was the worst cover in the world? Or would I cry?

I needn't have worried. I absolutely loved the cover. I don't know if my editor is a bit psychic or what but it was JUST as I'd imagined it. Even when I started writing Haunting... I had an image of a house and a sky and stars and that was just what they'd come up with. AND it looked a lot like the cover of Lisa Jewell's "Ralph's Party", the book I mentioned as one of my favourite ever chicklit reads when I was interviewed by Helen for Trashionista!

I would have happily agreed to have the cover I was shown immediately published but my editor said there were a few more tweaks they wanted the illustrator to do to it first - including shrinking the house down a bit, adding in more sky and a London cityscape, moving the title up into the sky and adding glitter! I was so pleased I can't even begin to describe the feeling, and seeing my name there, on the cover, was just surreal. Even now I can't stop staring at the cardboard 'book' printout they gave me. One day I'm going to see a cover a bit like that in the bookshops....I just can't get my head around it.

The other thing they showed me was the print out of the proof. That was slightly different from the cover although it did have some sky and a cityscape on it but the majority of the front cover was taken up with blurb and the title. On the back was the synopsis (same one as Amazon) and a pink box with stuff about how the book makes you laugh one minute and cry and next and some stuff about me as a writer. In less than a months time that will converted into a proper, hold-it-in-your-hands proof that will be sent to reviewers! Aaaaggh! That's exciting and scary at the same time. I don't even want to think about people reading my book critically. Ever since I got my agent I've heard nothing but positive things about my book (which was hugely surprising but wonderful) and now I have to brace myself for some more varied opinions!

The other news I received was that the title is going to be changed - again! - but I really, really love the new title. It was one that was on my list of suggested titles and I'm really pleased that the sales team think it's a better title than Haunting... I won't say what it is yet - I think I'll save it for when I've got a final, final copy of the cover to post on this blog but I will say that it does share a name with a 1970s film but there's no book with the same name. Yet.

What else? The marketing girl had a chat with me about some ideas for online quizzes and competitions for when the book comes out (watch this space for more details nearer publication time in October!) and the PR girl asked me to start thinking about anything interesting or unusual about my life that could feature in an article in a women's magazine. My mind went instantly blank... in fact I'm still trying to think of something! I rang my mum earlier this evening and berated her for not bringing me up in a circus or letting me be raised by wolves or something!
Anyway, I chatted for my publishers for a good hour and a half and then my agent and I had a good old chinwag over some more tea. It's the London Book Fair in April and she's hoping to get me some more foreign sales. I am hugely grateful for the one's she's already got me (and really excited about seeing the foreign covers when they are published), any more would just be a bonus!

I haven't made huge progess with novel 2 in the last week (because I was away for most of it) but seeing novel 1 come to life has really inspired me to make novel 2 as good as I can make it. Of course it seems pretty damned shoddy in comparison to novel 1 at the moment but the most important thing right now is just to get that first draft written.

A while ago Beth posted this quote on her blog and I've stuck it in the front of my notebook to inspire me whenever I start worrying that book 2 is a bit crap:

"You have no confidence? No one who is any good has confidence. So tell me what makes your particular lack of confidence so special." - Anne Enright.

Puts me right in my place!
Novel 2 wordcount: 47,157 / 90,000 (52.4%)


JJ Beattie said...

OMG. OMG. Cally that's all so exciting. (And I think I need to eat scones with jam and cream NOW just to celebrate.)

Do you know what the publication date is yet? (I will be over during Oct, but don't know if it's the right time...)

I cannot wait to see the cover and hear the new name.

Your head must be spinning!

Manic Impressive said...

Wow. That sounds like a most exciting meeting. Congratulations!

Tam said...

I'm very very very excited for you. Imagine, seeing your name on the cover....and knowing there'll be a real life copy in a month's time....and having cream tea (sorry, I'm a bit food obsessed at the moment).

Glad you had a good time in Prague, it's such a gorgeous city, really up there with Paris and Venice for beauty. Now get on with some writing!

HelenMHunt said...

That's all so brilliant. I can't begin to imagine how exciting that must be.

SueG said...

These are such exciting times for you! Congratulations! We're all riding these waves with you (whether you know us or not :-) )

KAREN said...

I'm so excited for you, and I can understand how dreamlike it must seem!

I've got an image of my bookcover in my head and just hope it comes true one day too :o))

jh said...

Wow! How exciting Cally. You must be walking on air. Posh tea and book covers. It's the stuff of dreams. xx

Captain Black said...

You got us all intrigued now, Cally. New cover, new title. Can't wait...

Cream tea looks very tasty. Tell me, is the Mock Turtle café still open down in Brighton? They do/did a nice cream tea.

ChrisH said...

Oooooh! I'm so pleased for you, it all sounds so wonderful and exciting... but is it all right to be just a tad (looking for whisper button in vain) green? Good luck to you!

Calistro said...

JJ - Scones have never tasted so good! In fact I was so excited by the cover I didn't finish them all (and that's a first for me!). I'm afraid I don't know the exact publication date yet. "In time for Halloween" is all the confirmation I've had so far but will definitely announce the date when I know! Head is definitely spinning - but in a very good way (well...other than the fact I'm not happy with novel 2...)

Manic - Thank you. It was! It's lovely to have the 'bum on seat' reality of scribbling away at home punctuated with exciting events like that :)

Tam - You've got all this to come yourself :) And I can't wait to read about it! Prague was indeed beautiful. Every corner you turn there's another breathtaking building or beautiful scene. Venice is on my list of 'cities still to see'!

Helen - Thank you. It WAS really exciting. I had to stop myself from going "Have you got the cover? Can I see it?" immediately after I'd said my hellos!

SueG - Thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying reading about it. I remember reading Lola Jaye's blog when she was going through this process and living vicariously through her (whilst turning green with envy!)

Karen - Hang onto that image! I'm starting to believe in the power of positive thinking. Now if a tall, dark, millionaire would just whisk me away to a mansion by the sea so I could give up the day job I'd really be onto something ;)

JH - I really am. God help me when I've actually got the real, live book in my hands!

Captain Black - I'm dying to see the final cover too. Apparently I'll receive an email by the end of today but that probably means "sometime next week" in publishing terms! That cafe rings a bell but that's about it. Where was it?

ChrisH - I totally understand the green thing! When Lola Jaye was blogging about becoming a published author I was simultaneously excited for her and horribly jealous! It made me even more determined that I'd get to be published too.

Captain Black said...

I found it. It's here.

Debs said...

So thrilled you love the cover of your book, and dying to see it in October and to find out the new name.

I love that saying, so apt for me right now.

Paige said...

Sounds fantastic! I'm so on the hunt for films in the 70's to see if I can guess your book's new title! lol!

Reading your journey from starting the novel to this stage has been brilliant but it shows how far I've yet to go. I honestly can't see me ever getting there.

Lane said...

Ooh - I'm so looking forward to hearing the new title. And reading the book!