Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Covering an Omnibus - where do you put all the words?

No, I don't mean covering the side of a double decker bus with an advert for my book... although the book in question might well turn out to be the size of a small bus if it were printed and bound in the traditional way. I mean my Seven Fabulous Wonders omnibus collection of all seven titles in the series, which is available as an ebook only (being kinder to trees and buses).

In America, such collections are called boxed sets and come with the kind of e-cover that looks like a shelf full of books. But my Seven Fabulous Wonders series was never published in America, so I decided to call mine "Seven Fabulous Wonders: the omnibus collection" and go down the single cover route.

My first attempt looked like this:

This cover followed the design of the seven individual ebook covers, so I kept the series title small across the central black band and used "the Omnibus Collection" as the larger main title. I didn't even consider if this might be confusing for someone who came across the omnibus before seeing any of the single titles, although I did feel it necessary to add "all seven books" as a subtitle, which should have rung a few alarm bells at the time.

Then, recently, I was looking at this cover and realised "Seven Fabulous Wonders" would work quite well as a title on its own. It wouldn't need the clumsy subtitle "all seven books", and there suddenly seemed no good reason why "the Omnibus Collection" should feature so large on the cover. So I swapped the text around:

I didn't have to change the title of my omnibus, only the text sizes on the cover. But I couldn't resist a font change as I did so. (The more observant among you will notice that the main title font now doesn't match the title font on the individual covers, but I am considering a redesign of those books so will change the fonts to match when I do that.)

So did you spot the difference? Which version do you like best? Do they look like the same book at first glance? What do you think of the new font? (Friendly warning from the unicorn: anyone who says "change it all back again" will be transformed into an evil monster and slain in a suitably gruesome manner by the hero of Katherine's next book.)



You can buy the Seven Fabulous Wonders omnibus from the following stores:
amazon uk / amazon us
Page Foundry (Inktera)

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Three books for International Women's Day (with no shades of grey).

The radio tells me this is International Women's Day so, in defiance of the current blockbuster "Fifty Shades of Grey", here are three books every woman should read before she's fifty.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
I still think this is one of Margaret Atwood's best books. Possibly belonging under the label "dystopia" if it were published today, the story tells of a near-future religious society in America where the birth rate is falling and those women still able to bear children are a national resource. The chilling way that these women are controlled, and in particular the simple and scarily believable way their power was taken away and handed over to the men in their lives, forms the real message of this book. Read it today, and tell me you're not afraid.

The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
Anything by Sheri S. Tepper is well worth reading, and this is one of her best known books. It's science fiction, but not your male-dominated spaceships firing on all cylinders type. Sometimes called "soft" science fiction, it deals with far-future society where men are separated from women at an early age and raised in different communities. The men train for battles they will never be allowed to fight, whereas the women concentrate on arts and science. So what happens when a woman and a man fall in forbidden love? There's nothing soft about this story.

The Change by Germaine Greer
Not really fiction, I first came across this book a few years ago and read it with fascination and some alarm. Now, several years on and deep into the "change" myself, I think I can see what Germaine Greer means. The Change is important because it frees a woman from child-rearing and the need to attract men, and brings her face to face with the person she really might be. Dare you become her?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Half Term Competition: What's your Song of Power?

Music can change your mood. Experiments have shown that it can help people recover faster from an operation or injury, and even improve IQ, as well as cheer you up when you're feeling low. Of course, it has to be the right sort of music for you... which might not be the same music that works for someone else.

My first novel Song Quest sprang to life after I'd been reading a book on music therapy. I started thinking 'what if'? What if there was a magical song that could heal everyone? What if young singers could be trained to sing this powerful Song? And, if there was a Song that could heal, why not also a Song that could kill?

So I invented the Echorium, where children could be taught to sing these Songs, and ended up with five Songs of Power: Challa for healing, Kashe for laughter, Shi for sadness, Aushan for fear, and Yehn for death. The names of these Songs were plucked out of my head as I was writing the Echorium Anthem - they just seemed right the way I imagined them pronounced, and I added the colours because that seemed right, too. (Muse: don't blame me!)

The Echorium Anthem
For healing sleep of lavender dreams,
For laughter, golden and gay,
For tears shed in turquoise streams,
For fear, pain and scarlet screams,
For death of deepest midnight shade.
For these the Songs, five in one:
Challa, Kashe, Shi, Aushan, Yehn.

Song Quest won the Branford Boase Award, and eventually grew into a trilogy with the addition of Crystal Mask and Dark Quetzal.

This spring, to celebrate 15 years since Song Quest's first publication, you have a chance to win your very own gold-foiled, signed paperback edition of this award-winning book. Just tell the unicorn which song (from the real world) is special for you, and why.

See the competition page of my website for more details. Closing date 31st March 2015.


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