Testicle-Grabbing New Cover for The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson
18 June 2011
Regular visitors to the odd world of this website will notice the spanking new, shiny book cover for The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson on the wallpaper. There it is there, to the left. And the right. Above and below us.
I've been searching for the ideal cover for the Barney Thomson series for quite some time. Forever. Piatkus didn't manage it. I've used a couple of covers for the paperbacks, and four different covers for the ebook. None of them were right. Black comedy is quite a hard pitch, and coming from the offices of Long Midnight of Publishing it gets a lot harder. A big publisher can afford to stick a book in the window at Waterstones so that people are going to notice it whether they want to or not. I don't have that testicle grabbing capacity. I've just got the book cover and my hilarious, biting wit... Which means the cover really has to be pretty damned good in order for anyone's testicles to be grabbed. And then when you consider that more than 50% of the book-buying public don't even have testicles.
Fellow Scottish crime writer, Al Guthrie, has had quite a lot of Kindle success, and has used wonderful, brooding, dark book covers. So I got in touch with the chap responsible for the cover art and set to work on this new pan-series cover scheme. Previous covers have generally been a little bit quirky, a little bit dark. Mass slaughter with a smile, that kind of idea. Since Piatkus and I have been doing that for years, it's time to try something different. This is the Barney Thomson series as blood thirsty serial killer books look. Which they are, after all. The word macabre features regularly in the reviews, (and it's certainly true that several of the books have more murders than jokes.) "Gleefully macabre, hugely enjoyable black burlesque," Catherine Lockerbie wrote in the Scotsman. I like to think this new cover says gleefully macabre, hugely enjoyable black burlesque, and not just because I used the first two words of that Scotsman quote on the cover itself.
I like my new shiny cover. It's exciting. It leaps off the computer screen. It would also leap off a book shelf in WH Smith, if it ever got the chance. It would be great to align the paperbacks with the ebooks, and perhaps that will come one day. Meanwhile we can all look forward with feverish excitement to the covers of the remainder of the series.
Yes, feverish excitement.