March has been a very busy month for Manifold Press, in the run up to announcing our new May titles on 1 April. And, just in case you might wonder if it’s an April Fools’ joke, we want to take this opportunity to give you a preview of a change that will be implemented on that day.
This is the last of our significant changes for now, but it’s a doozy.
We are going to change our book cover design.
I know that many of you love our current designs, and have made a point of telling us so. Similarly, some people haven’t been so impressed, and have likewise told us! Our covers have certainly been a distinctive part of the Press’s identity. In professional wrestling terms, they have brought us a lot of ‘heat’! (Which is a good thing.)
However, after almost six years in business, it felt like time to make a change and try something a bit different.
We are hoping that those of you who love the current designs will stay with us through this change, as we wanted to broadly keep to our current approach. We’re still focussing on an image that reflects the setting or theme, as we believe this helps us emphasise that before anything else, story (and character) is what the Press is most interested in. For better or worse, we are still avoiding the more obvious romance tropes on our covers – and we still want to leave the appearance of our characters to our readers’ imagination.
We were delighted to work with a friend of the Press, Michelle Peart, in creating these new designs. She is also a writer, so she certainly empathised with what we’re trying to achieve. If you want to connect with Michelle, you can browse to her writerly blog The Copper River or follow her on Twitter @shellpeart.
Michelle created a number of draft designs, and we ended up choosing one of them, and then establishing variations that would help identify an individual title’s genre. The covers will vary depending on whether the setting is contemporary or historical, and on whether the story is paranormal.
I feel that the important distinction we’ll make via the covers, however, is whether the story is romance or fiction. We’ll be following this up with new tags on our website, but we’re colour-coding it into the covers as well, with romance indicated by a red strip and fiction by a blue. We know it’s important that the reader knows what they’re getting!
We had some real fun with the draft covers … The ideas we used were all for imaginary books – as written by Ewan Byge, one of the characters in my novel THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION. It seemed easiest to start with a fresh slate, and not worry about existing content or the comparisons inherent in using actual Press titles.
So … if you’re anything like me, you’re curious to have a glimpse at the draft designs. I’ve included four samples below the cut. I hope you like them! I have to say that I love them. And if it’s any reassurance, I think the covers for our real titles (that you’ll see on 1 April) are even stronger still.