I recently received the proofs of my next picture book, to be published in August. In the world of fiction, a proof copy is a bound preliminary version of the real thing, but that's not the way with picture books. The illustrations being so important, picture book proofs usually come as flat, unbound and un-cropped sheets. But the purpose is the same – it's a chance for the author/s to have some final input before the book goes off to be printed.
After years of being Illustrator to other peoples Author, it's still strange to see those roles reversed. So it was probably inevitable that when the proofs came for Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake, I looked at the illustrations a lot more closely than another author might. And I wasn't exactly shy about letting Boxer Books know that I was worried about the cover.
Don't get me wrong, Jill Barton's fine illustrations have a real charm of their own, and are especially suitable for Little Mouse's ideal readership: the very young. But that cover, being so pale, just left me worried that my book would be all too easily missed on today's digi-coloured bookshelf. Just compare it with Jack's Tractor, and you'll see what I mean. Anyway, the reality of the situation is that at proof stage, there's not much that can be done about the colour work as scanned. However, that's not to say the design can't be altered. It turned out that others at Boxer had similar concerns, and here's what they came up with:
The addition of blue, and the enlargement of the text is a huge improvement. The design is much stronger now, and I'm happy that this is how the book will appear when it's released. What do you think?
Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake will be published (on both sides of the Atlantic) on the 3rd of August (when I'll be living in a carboard box, somewhere in the English Channel) by the very lovely Boxer Books. If you like furry animals, fun and cake, then what are you waiting for? Pre-order your copies now! You know it makes sense.