Book covers can be a fraught thing from an author’s perspective. Well, probably from everyone’s perspective, really. After a meeting in which I was shown a first version of a cover for Romanitas, my agent said “I thought you were going to cry.” I cannot imagine this was much fun for anyone else there. The cover appeared to show a city of the future being flattened by an enormous green asteroid. Even when the green asteroid had been safely deflected, I once suspected I would go to my grave still weakly moaning, “No, not the London Eye, it’s an alternative world! It wouldn’t be there!” (I am very happy, I should note, with the final covers for Romanitas trilogy. But getting there was not the most relaxing process).
There is even a little rhyme about the problem:
“There’s a dragon on the cover of my book.
There is a dragon on the cover of my book.
He is big and green and scaly,
He is nowhere in the tale, he
Is the dragon on the cover of my book.”
–by Michael Flynn.
I’m glad that these days you usually first get to see the cover in the privacy of your own home so you can process any tears of anguish without frightening anyone else, but it is hard to open that email without your heart clenching within you while you whisper “Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease” to yourself.
Which should give you some idea of how strong the relief is when at last you get the file to open and are confronted with shiny, glorious orangeness, and your shoulders slowly relax, and you think:
I rather like it.
I definitely like it.
I think I love it.
Actually, I love it so much I could weep with joy.
The British cover for Mars Evacuees is so orange, and so shiny, and so very very pretty, and so much like a really cool band poster, and yet it still has that little bit of retro B-movie something-or-other that I wanted, I just want to rub it on my face and it is possible that I have.
I do a bit of art and design myself, so I particularly wanted to hear from the artist, Andy Potts, on how he did this wonderful thing. I’m very grateful that he’s agreed to talk us through it:
“It was really exciting news when I was asked to design the cover of Mars Evacuees as I’m a bit of a sci-fi nut and find the genre instantly inspiring. My first instinct was to make the illustration relatively simple, colourful and eye-catching as those are the covers I tend to respond to. After digesting the brief I had a strong mental image of what I wanted and set about designing my initial draft illustration in Photoshop. I worked up the red planet and background digitally using unusual textures I’d photographed and collected, including images of peeling paint from the sides of old boats! I then designed the main characters as stylised silhouettes, I prefer this approach as the reader can create the character’s faces in their own mind. I found the cyber-goldfish guardian character particularly fascinating and made it a major part of the design. The first rough was sent over, as well as a version with a hand drawn type treatment. The illustration minus the type was quickly approved, which is always a relief, and with a few tweaks the cover was finalised. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and owe a big thanks to Sophia and Egmont for getting me involved.”
You can and should check out more of Andy’s work at andy-potts.com and follow him on Twitter as @AndyPottsTweet
So, here it is … on You may have seen versions of the cover, perhaps, on blogs or even on Amazon, (it got out! The shininess could not be contained!) but this is the proper, final, version, with all the shiny – here, on Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books! Go and wallow in orange:
I am so very lucky on this book, I am getting two amazing covers. Goro Fujita is creating the American version. I have seen a preliminary sketch and it is gorgeous already, I cannot wait to show the finished article to you too.
Mars Evacuees is out on the 27th of March. Check back here soon for the first snippet.