#AcresOfInk Writing Challenge ~ Week 33: Question 30

Part of the 52 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

30. Describe (or show) your book’s ideal cover

My understanding of the publishing industry is that the author has little to no influence over the cover of their book, so this is something I prefer not to dwell on too much — not least because my graphic design skills leave a lot to be desired!

That being said, I did design my own placeholder cover — not only to fit in with the theme of my website, but also to put on the front cover when I print off copies for myself and my friends (I’d still like to own a physical copy of my book, regardless of what happens after queries).

The cover on the left is the one I currently have displayed on my project page (click here). There is also an alternative cover — on the right — that’s very similar:

Why sugar, you ask? Well, in The Mayor, there is a bit of a wonder substance called Taronese Sugar which is very important to the overall plot. I got the idea for Taronese Sugar whilst researching 18th century pirates’ most sought after treasures; sugar was one of these!

You can read more about sugar and why it was so valuable on one of my favourite piratey blogs here ~*~ CONTENT WARNING: slave trade ~*~

I actually like the “alternative” cover much better than  than the current one, because of the reflection; it fills the space better. In the end however, I decided the sugar cubes were less representative of my book than the pile, which makes me think of sand, poison, gunpowder… Details, details.

As for my ideal cover…

Like my friend Oran aka. The Singing Lights, I’m in love with the original UK covers for Joe Abercrombie’s First Law books and the latest iterations of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings. I’d say my book has a fair amount in common with the works of these two authors, so it would make sense for my cover to be similar:

Another kind of cover I’m fond of the idea of is a silhouetted figure (probably either Kale or Melora) walking down a lamplit darkened street, with the sails of ships and the sea in the background. This is a style of cover typically associated with the crime genre, but I have seen it in historical fantasy too!

For example, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch features a silhouetted figure against the Venice-like city of Camorr, and I’m also forever thinking about the foggy cover of Ragboy, Rats and the Surging Sea by Alan Temperley, which I read and loved as a child.


S.E. Berrow


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