Got Me Covered

My very welcome New Year’s gift was an email from a long-time fan offering her design and graphics expertise to create a cover for Dr Dan Book 2. This has turned into the gift that keeps on giving because she has designed a ‘look’ that can be adapted for the whole series I have planned. Over the next couple of weeks we should be at a point where we can try out the design. If it flies I think we’ll then swap out the old Casebook cover and give Dr Dan a new and recognisably branded look. All will soon be revealed. How exciting, and such a turnaround from much of my prior book cover history.

The rule in grown-up publishing is that the author and designer have no contact. The designer, who doesn’t have time to read every book he works on, is given a design brief by the editorial team. The best designer in the world can’t be blamed for a feeble brief and there have been times when I’ve wondered whether the briefing editor has read the book either.

I happened to be in my (then) publisher’s office when the cover for The Unfortunates was unveiled. Those of you who’ve read the book will know that its protagonist, Poppy Minkel, is an opinionated and scratchy oddity with few friends in the world. Which made a cover image of three jolly girls horsing around together a baffling and inappropriate choice. When I saw it I was so overcome with rage, disappointment and frustration that I almost fainted. I remember, a double espresso with sugar was sent for. They still kept the stupid cover design though.

Well now I have the pleasure of a designer who not only knows what she’s doing but also completely ‘gets’ my writing. Yet another bonus of self-publishing!



  1. Hilary Davies on January 15, 2020 at 4:56 am

    I did wonder about the radical change of cover when I received the Doctor Dan book. How short sighted of your previous publishers not to take account of your preferences. Can’t blame you for changing.
    Have been reading and loving your books for years and immediately pre order when I see a new one is being published.
    Doctor Dan is wonderful and I look forward to the next

  2. terri goddard on May 24, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    Yes. Absolutely. I have a copy of ‘The Unfortunates’, and I remember thinking WTH??? Which one is even supposed to BE Poppy? And who on earth, are the other two supposed to be?
    The Future Homemakers’ cover was a bit better, except that, in the book, there were five characters….. Now, I could (sort of), (at a stretch), identify four of them; but poor old Cath seems to have been left out altogether. (Also, I don’t remember them, at anytime, lying on a beach eating ice-cream. (Especially a sunny-looking beach.))

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