I’d heard stories about authors not being consulted about covers, and bookshops insisting covers were turned luminous pink or they wouldn’t sell the book, and various other things, and so I was a little apprehensive about getting the cover for Infinite Sky.
Due to my personality – something of a cheerful pessismist – I was quite prepared to end up with a cover that I didn’t much like, maybe even hated. This was just something that happened in publishing, I figured. Still, to try and make this not happen, I sent some examples of covers I liked to my editor. They were old fashioned, repeat pattern monoprints, and she agreed they were lovely and classic-looking - which was what we were going for - whilst also pointing out that we wanted to make sure the book had commercial appeal as well.We wanted people to pick this book up.
She mentioned that they were considering printing direct onto the hardcover and I swooned. No dust jacket. I hate dust jackets! (Although I am beginning to understand their practical qualities, they are just too cumbersome, like umbrellas: they don't quite earn out their own existence.) Anyway, I digress. Image printed directly onto cover. Good.
Next I was sent Frances Castle’s portfolio to look at. I loved it. Lots of gorgeous pastoral illustrations with a hint of darkness to them. Blue skies and rusting tractors and moody skies and lone magpies. Perfect. My only concern at this point was that the cover might end up too cute. I really wanted the hint of menace that runs through the book to come through in its packaging.
My editor told me that the team were thinking of using just blue and black on a white paper background, and I thought that sounded perfect. I was sent four mock up sketches of possible covers. All featured cornfields and swallows and – two included a caravan – as some of the team felt the cover needed more of a human element. I wasn’t convinced about this, but kept an open mind.
Two of the sketches were framed at the top by oak leaves as well as including corn and a caravan. One of the sketches was much barer than the others. Without the caravan or the oak leaves framing the top half, most of the cover would be blue sky. I really liked it. I told my editor it was my favourite and she said that the team agreed. I started to feel like perhaps I wouldn’t end up with a cover I hated after all.
The next email I got had some sketches of the title font, which Frances had created out of barbed wire. Everyone loved it. And in the next email, I had my cover. The team were unanimous. They loved it. And so did I. I asked for the spider's web to be changed from black to white and that was it. It was perfect. Infinite Sky in its full form was born.
|Infinite Sky illustration by Frances Castle, design by Nick Stearn|
I grew to love my cover more and more, and these days, looking at the book, I feel like it is exactly right for the story inside. I love the blueness and the peace and the feeling of summer it evokes, the menace suggested by the barbed wire title. I'm really grateful to everyone who worked on it.
How about you? Do you like this cover? Would you pick up this book? If it looks like the kind of book you like to read, then head over to Good Reads and enter the Infinite Sky giveaway.
C. J. Flood is a novelist who dreams of being a table tennis player. INFINITE SKY comes out with Simon and Schuster on Valentines Day. Say hello at her blog, add the book on Good Reads or talk to her on Twitter.