Telling a book by its cover

If your book is accepted by a publisher, the choice of cover may not be under your control. What a daunting prospect when it is though! Self-publishing loads all the responsibility onto the author. it is exciting… but anxiety inducing. What picture? What style? What would speak for your book, what would attract your readers, pull them into your story?

I had a vague idea for my novel ‘Farholm’ … here is the opening paragraph:

She was beneath water looking up and there was someone between her and the sun, holding her down, holding her down. She snapped open her eyes and gripped her wooden crutches, gulping the salty air. It was bad enough having nightmares at night – now she was having them during the day – and they weren’t even her nightmares. How could you dream someone else’s dream? 

I thought a picture which seemed to be taken underwater looking up to the sun shining down through the surface would be good; for those of you who have read the novel you will know why! But taking a photo underwater isn’t easy, so I looked at photos I already had of water:

This isn’t quite dramatic enough – and no light through the water…
This looks as if there is something nasty under the water… so not quite right either

I tried looking at water on glass to see if I could take pictures through the glass:

This obviously doesn’t work!

Then through pure serendipity, I took a photo myself, not under water, but under the ice; I was on holiday in Iceland and went into an ice cave while on a glacier walk…

Nearly right!

The next move was to choose the right font, and the right size font, and the right colour for the text. Trial and error led me to Papyrus (72) for ‘Farholm’ and Andy (36) for my name. I remember when I was very young at school, probably in the infants being taught about the Egyptians making papyrus so the name had a resonance for me. My sister is Andy and my best friend is Andy  so using a font called that was like a little tribute …

Papyrus 72

and that was it! I had my cover.

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