Werewolf and its many covers

Week two has gone well. I managed to write about 7,000 words and have begun to structure the opening section of the book so that it has enough action and intrigue to snare reader’s interest without losing them in a wash of information.

However, as always, life has managed to impinge on my writing time, as my UK publisher now wants me to get the final draft of my other novel, Broken Arrow, ready before the third week in February, so I am having to think about that as well.

With this thought in mind, I thought I would stray a little off topic today and speak about how much exterior factors such as publishers and distributors can affect a book. My last novel, Werewolf is a perfect example of this.

When Salt Publishing agreed to publish this book, I said I had an idea for the cover. My original brief to the publisher’s artist was “a swastika picked out in surgical sutures on flesh”. This was toned down by the artist to something like a swastika brand, which resulted in this cover. You’ll notice also that the title was spelt Werwolf, which is the German spelling of the word.werewolf1

Anyway, this cover was greeted with horror by the publisher’s distributor who said they would not consider promoting a book with a swastika on the cover, which is perhaps a good example of why writers should stick to writing the words and let wiser heads decide on how to present the book to the public.

So, Werewolf cover version II was born. I was really happy with this one. The man in the pinstriped suit, his face in shade, superimposed on ruined buildings was far classier than my rather crude original. You’ll notice the title was changed to Werewolf – August 1945 as the publisher expressed concerns that people might think the book was about lycanthropes.Werewolf 2

This was where Waterstones stepped in and said they thought Cover II was unimaginably dull and would not consider stocking it. So, Cover III was created. Werewolf 3

This time, it was I who disliked the cover, as I thought the gentleman on the front looked far too much like a tough New York gumshoe type.

The cover was then changed to the one below, but again I felt actually showing a person’s face on the cover to be a mistake as it would not allow readers the ability to imagine the character as they chose.

Werewolf 4

The artist (who by now must have been tearing his hair out in clumps) gamely agreed to yet another change and Werewolf’s actual cover was born, which I was very pleased with as it is vaguely reminiscent of The Exorcist.

Anyway, I’ll post again after the weekend and let you know how week three of the rewrite is going to look.

Cheers

Matthew

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