Classy Bird | Penguin Books South Africa

Classy Bird Blog

Cover Reveal: Dutch Courage
TAH DAH!  There are a few things about publishing a new novel that really scare me. One is opening that email where your publisher sends you early mock-ups of their suggested cover. This email can affect my mood and general state of wellbeing for weeks, months, even years. 
 
I’m a visual person with a background in advertising, so having a cover I love is unreasonably important to me. Which is why, when this email arrives in my inbox, I avoid it for as long as possible. Too scared by ‘what ifs’ and likely disappointment to even click on it. Sometimes Avoidance and Denial are beautiful places to live. 
 
So I was prepared to avoid the email containing the cover for my new novel, Dutch Courage, for days, maybe even longer, if I could get away with not answering my publisher’s calls. Bear with me: I have history here. For some reason, I’ve had traumatic cover-related experiences on all my novels. It’s always been excessively hard to get them right, or wrong as the case may be. We’ve never come to them first time round. They all involved blood (mine), a lot of sweat (mine, the publisher’s and the designer’s) and too many tears (mostly mine, although I’m told publishers and designers have sobbed too.)
 
And this cover was possibly the trickiest of the lot to get right. I’ve been working on Dutch Courage for over four years, so this is a big one for me. It’s a novel set in a strip club in Amsterdam, where all the strippers are celebrity impersonators. So you can see how it might be tricky for a designer to strike the right note between the dark, dirty, neon-lit red light district where the book is set, and the comedy of a bunch of women from all over the world, dressed like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Cher and Rihanna, hanging out together and taking their kit off while they lip-sync to "Like A Virgin” or “Umbrella”. 
 
So I waited nervously. But this time there was no cover email. It even slipped my mind for a while. Then one afternoon I met with my publisher, Fourie, to discuss the book. At the end of the meeting, he wordlessly pulled out an envelope and placed a cover layout on the table. Just like that. No email. No warning. No possible avoidance. And that’s when something remarkable happened, I liked it. Instantly. 
 
So, tah dah, here it is. I hope you like it too. 
 
Cover design by Russell Stark from publicide.