Today saw the official release of the fourth book in my sci-fi series Ghost Targets. With that came the big reveal of our new cover design for the whole series. You can see it in the image to the right.
I like the new look. I can’t wait to see it in the context of the full series, but my designers put in some remarkable effort just to get this cover done in time for the release. I’ll give them a couple hours before I start asking for the others.
Running behind Schedule
Camouflage nearly slipped through the cracks. As you probably recall, I spent last December way behind schedule and frantically scrambling to get The Dragonswarm out the door before Christmas.
Then I decided to complicate things considerably by inviting Joshua to publish his NaNoWriMo as our January offering, meaning we had about forty days to take it from raw rough draft to publication quality. Thanks to my hard-working and incredibly-talented volunteer staff, we did that.
And then it was February already. I knew a Ghost Targets novel was due out, but when I turned in my resignation letter at work I had to put my nose to the grindstone to finish up a project that I’d been working on for three years. I didn’t leave myself any time at all to do Ghost Targets.
Dusting It Off
Luckily, the book was done. I wrote it two years ago, during NaNoWriMo. Trish had read it and proclaimed it good at the time, and ever since then it’d been gathering dust. I hadn’t even glanced at it.
But when I asked Becca to coordinate with Krysten on the new covers, she took her job more seriously than I was taking mine. She kept reminding me about it until I finally got her a reading copy of Camouflage, and then a couple weeks later she caught me at Consortium Time to tell me it was good. She said it was probably her second-favorite in the series so far.
That relieved a lot of stress I hadn’t even realized I’d been carrying. It also prompted me to get the project finished. It was already mid-February by then, but I shared copies to Jessie and Courtney and asked them to do their editing, then I dove in for a read-through of my own.
Finishing It Up
It needed work, of course. They always need work. I had some recurring awkward sentence structures that Jessie chastised me over, and two major characters with unfortunately similar names, and then a resolution that ground to an agonizing halt ten pages before the end of the story.
I literally had a scene in which three armed agents, alone in the woods with a couple dangerous prisoners, stopped what they were doing to repackage some electronics. I spent a whole page moving pieces from little boxes into bigger boxes to make room in the back of the Jeep. It was awful.
But it’s fixed now! And apart from that, it’s a thrilling, fast-paced story that gives a glimpse at some of the real darkness still in store for our heroes in Ghost Targets. It was fun re-reading it after a two-year break, because I got to enjoy the story with fresh eyes. It goes exciting places.
Launching New Covers
And, as I said at the start, I’m extra excited for the new cover direction. It may lack some of the drama and artistic creativity we got to express in the older scenic covers, but it’s a lot easier to put together this kind of cover than to coordinate the photoshoot and then design good trade dress over the top of it.
More than that, the simpler cover design will probably be a lot more effective at the thumbnail sizes Amazon actually uses to sell books. As much as I loved the way our other covers made real some of the exciting scenes in those books, so much of the detail got lost when the image shrank to 72×100 pixels.
And while all this was going on, I had another cover project going on, too. I commissioned another comics artist to work on the World of Auric stories, and he started out by reworking the Notes from a Thief cover. I’m thrilled with his work, and can’t wait to see how he treats the rest of the stories I have in that franchise.
I’ll keep you posted on both those projects. But for now, go grab a copy of Camouflage and see what happens with city-girl Katie gets lost in the woods.