Today, Friday 20th November, is the day my new book is launched! The Dalmatian that Lost its Spots is a book that is very close to my heart as it has my own dogs taking the lead roles as main characters. During its production, I invited people to help me make decisions when it came to the cover, blurb and title. There's a lot to consider when creating a book's all important cover and it was good to hear what other people thought.
Firstly, the cover art. I asked Steve, the illustrator, to re-create a scene from the book, where Lucy is all alone in the dark, looking up at the stars and wondering where Petra is. At this point in the book, Lucy has lost her spots, so she needed to be drawn without them. I worried about how people would respond to a Dalmatian book with a non-spotty dog on the cover, but the response was good. Those I asked said that it matched the title well and that the dog appeared to be glowing. Some said that she looked ghostly. The purple night sky was said to look magical. All good! One thing that was mentioned a few times was that the dog looked somewhat heavier than a Dalmatian usually looks. All I can say is that Lucy was pretty large and stocky for a Dally and Steve used photographs of her when drawing her, so that's why! As the book is about Lucy, I wanted the illustrations to look like her, as much as possible.
Then, the title: there was a choice between The Dalmatian that Lost its Spots and The Dalmatian who Lost her Spots. Although some preferred the second option, suggesting that it had a warmer feel to it, I chose the first title as those in favour felt that it was more mysterious and more neutral than the second.
Next, was the font for the title and whether or not to leave all the words white, have spots in the words DALMATIAN and SPOTS, or just have spots in the word DALMATIAN. The last option got by far the most votes as people generally thought that this one matched the title best.
And finally, the blurb: blurb 2 was preferred so that's the one now printed on the back of the book. I also asked Steve to put the four main characters in each of the corners and to include a spotty border. You can't have a book about a Dalmatian without some spots somewhere!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, vote and comment. I love having reader involvement in the production of my books, so I hope you love it as much as I do!