Who's For the Chop?
I hope you’ve noticed that my website has been spiffed up in preparation for the publication of The Early Birds next month. This involved posting images of the new cover plus the cover of its predecessor, Future Homemakers of America, on the home page slidey thing. Excuse my lapsing into techno terminology. The slidey thing can really only accommodate four units so the tough decision I faced last week was how to make room for the new cover? Which image was for the chop?
I have a tried and tested method for making painful choices. I carefully list the pros and cons for each option, I mull them over, reduce, if necessary, to a shortlist of two. Then I toss a coin. On this occasion the axe fell on The Liar’s Daughter. I’m okay with that. Sort of. I’ll get over it. It is the least favourite of my backlist covers, though I’m fond of the book itself, and the accountants have deemed it a regrettable commercial failure, so, all in all, I suppose it had it coming.
Someone, I cannot now remember who, recently remarked that there’s never been a better time to be a writer. I beg to differ. Agreed, we no longer have to bother with carbon paper or Tippex. Agreed, anyone can now self-publish their hamster’s life story and flog it online as a literary item worth 99p of anyone’s money. But there can still be stiff hurdles to clear, not least what to omit from the slidey thing.
Would-be writers, you have been warned.
Sounds rather like the method once recommended to me (ironically, I hope) for marking exam papers: you stand at the top of your stairs with a pile of papers and throw them down the stairs. A proportion that land on the top of the pile get the highest marks, and then the marks depreciate as you pick up the rest of the heap. I hasten to add that it is not advice I have ever followed.