…and things are more familiar. The activity which accompanies publishing a crime fiction book was new to me with Plague, but this time, with Oracle, it’s less so. There are fewer decisions than last time because much has already been determined, Oracle will be consistent with Plague, in size, in print, in design. It even has approximately the same number of pages.
I’m having fun choosing, and helping create, some of the promotional images and these days such images come in various forms – Facebook banners, Instagram posts and Twitter headers – and some come with animation. The one on the right is an Instagram post, which uses a photograph of the Treasury of the Athenians at the Temple of Apollo, Delphi, as well as a copy of the cover and its tagline – ‘Blood calls for blood’ on a background of a full moon rising above a hillside. There is an animated version of this too.
As I did for the launch of Plague, I’ve uploaded a new Facebook and a new Twitter Header, using the new banner shown below, which also now lies beneath my email signature. This includes the same images as the Instagram post, with the addition of a rather wonderful artwork by Gustave Dore. The engraving is one of the French master illustrator’s pieces for The Divine Comedy, Canto IX ( 1867) and it shows Dante and Virgil encountering the Erinyes, or Furies. It is entitled ‘Megaera, Tisipone and Alecto’, so I would imagine this might get used quite a lot ( it’s also out of copyright ). I’ve always been a Dore admirer and I’m not alone. As the Tate’s exhibition on Van Gogh showed, the Dutch painter loved Dore’s work and collected it, basing some of his own compositions on Dore engravings. This image appears in the banner, with the others, set against a background of black, with a wisp of blue/grey smoke curling across it and the tagline, which is in red this time. Very dramatic. I think it’s eye-catching. I just hope that the book isn’t mIstaken for a vampire novel (because of that tag-line). A number of early readers of Plague thought, from the blurb, that it was about a pandemic. No fear of misunderstanding the title this time, the blurb makes reference to the ancient oracle, but who knows what else people with think of.
There are some differences too, in part because I’ve learned from experience. So, for example, there’s an Oracle postcard to send out with review copies (last time I exhausted my personal stock of notelets). Claret is having the ARCs printed at the moment and I’ll be looking to take receipt of boxes of books in the next week or so. The other, more exciting thing is that readers are telling me that they’re waiting for the book to come out ( the virtue of having a series ). Also, it seems, there are a lot more media events – interviews, talks, blogs, podcasts – than last time. In part, I suspect because I have more media contacts now (and I’m good value i.e. or the most part, free), but also because I’m no longer an unknown. That Oracle is ‘the further adventures of…’ helps.
If any of the readers of this post has a book group which enjoys crime/mystery books and wants an author to come along and chat, let me know, I’m already doing some of these around the country (via the magic of the internet). You can find out about them on the Events page of this web-site.