A book by its cover

The nice folk at Cargo Publishing sent me a preview of the cover of my book, The Wreck of the Argyll, a while back, and I’ve been itching to talk about it ever since.

It would have been rude of me to start posting pictures before anyone else, so I had to hold off, but now that the cover has appeared on Amazon and on the Wigtown Book Festival site, and several people already have the book in their hards, I think it’s probably all right!

So here it is:

The Wreck of the Argyll

I think it’s fantastic – the colours of the sky are so vibrant, the near-silhouette of the lighthouse suitably ominous, that dramatic coil of barbed-wire in the foreground signalling the Great War, and the line of birds at the top just sets it off beautifully. Michael Gallacher has done a brilliant job with the design, but this is a slightly unusual book cover, because Michael had a little help.

As part of the Great War Dundee Children’s Book Prize, secondary pupils from Dundee schools were reading and voting on the shortlisted books, but more than that – they were sent to nearby primary schools to talk about the books they’d read to younger pupils. The primary pupils then joined in the fun by designing book covers for the three shortlisted books.

Joe, Lindsay, and I were then asked to choose the best cover for each book from a selection sent to us; this wasn’t easy! There are an awful lot of talented artists in Dundee primary schools, it seems.

Eventually, I decided on the cover designed by Qynn Herd:

Qynn Herd cover

Look familiar? That striking, colourful sky, the silhouette of the lighthouse, the barbed wire in the foreground? Michael’s put his own, brilliant, spin on the cover artwork, but it’s unmistakably based on Qynn’s original design.

So I was extremely pleased when I saw that both Michael and Qynn are credited on the back cover:
Cover Design by Michael Gallacher, based on artwork by Qynn Herd

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but, really, I’ll be happy if people do judge my book by its cover, because it’s brilliant.

The best thing, though? As good as it looks on screen, it looks even better in real life.


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