Sunday, April 21, 2013

Where it's at (I got two book covers and microphone)

Post-its from final proofs

The Text

On Monday I couriered the final proofs of The Mannequin Makers back to my publisher. There were still a number of things that needed cleaning up - formatting stuff mostly.

This morning I went through a dozen or so queries from the second proof reader (11/12 queries resulted in tiny tweaks).

Now all that remains is to check a PDF to make sure all the changes have been made and that's the text settled. Finally.

The Playlist (for this last stretch of editing)

The Cover

I neglected to mention back in March that Random House Australia had agreed to take their own edition of my novel rather than just import NZ copies. (This made me happy as it increases the chances of getting reviews/coverage over the ditch.)

At the time, RH Australia said they'd use "the same files as RHNZ" (same text) and would probably use the same cover but can't guarantee it "as covers go through a lengthy committee process here." I read this as a piece of expectation management: 'Even if you manage to get a cover you love with RHNZ,' they seemed to be saying, 'you might not get it with us.'

In the words of Kylie Minogue: I should be so lucky. (Hey, if I'm gonna be interviewed in Australia, I'll need to get used to refering to their cultural icons instead of ours... sorry Shona Laing.)

Later in March I wrote about how I wasn't a fan of the cover Random House NZ had their hearts set on (or any of the other covers the designer had presented them), but had come to accept being overruled.

It seemed this cover was set when it appeared on the RHNZ website, though the thumbnail did say 'Not final  jacket'.

Then, ten days ago I got an email from Australia after weeks of radio silence: "We continue to work away to come up with just the right cover for The Mannequin Makers and will send you through what we have when we get something we are happy with!"

Without being told Aussie hadn't liked NZ's cover, I'd just been told Aussie hadn't liked NZ's cover.

Well, I thought, maybe I'll get one cover I like. Or maybe Australia's will be even worse!?

Last week I got a look at Australia's preferred cover and oh the relief! I liked it. (Though a few hours later I had to wonder if I'd been conditioned to like it after disliking the first cover so much...).

I also got an email from RHNZ saying the Aussie cover had been passed on to them by their Managing Director (who looks after both NZ and Australia), "as she thinks [the Aussie cover] has wider appeal than where we had got to." However, the NZ team thinks the black panel "is a bit dated" and want to work on the design "a bit further".

Right now, we're in cover limbo. As of this morning, if you go to the novel's page on RHNZ's website you'll still see the old thumbnail pictured above, but if you click on the thumbnail, or click on one of my other books, the image for The Mannequin Makers changes to the Aussie cover.

I'm just a passenger in all of this. It's pretty funny, really. In all, I'm stoked Australia and New Zealand are working together to make sure the final product is a good one, and they're both trying their best to ensure it finds as many readers as possible on both sides of the Tasman.

The launch

As the second-most anticipated sophomore book by a Kiwi fiction writer to be released in August, I'm sure the world is waiting to hear my plans for the launch event. (I could be wrong. There may be someone else releasing their second book that month, in which case bump me down to third-most anticipated).

Well, I'm meeting with the publicity manager of a certain venue tomorrow morning to discuss the possibility of them hosting the launch of The Mannequin Makers in late July/early August. Can't say much more at the moment, but if things fall into place it'll be a bit different from your average Wellington book launch. And there may be something a bit extra in the days before and after the launch.

The next project

I'm going to write a short story, but I've got such a long list of story ideas I fancy writing and I change my mind daily about which one I should write first. So I'm going to crowdsource that decision in a blog post soon...

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