This is my final cover design for the family history of my mother’s people in Australia, which is about to be published by Gamone Press in the form of a 266-page hard-cover book in Royal Octavo format (15.6 cm wide and 23.4 cm high) with a laminated cover:
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Readers with an idea of all that is involved in book publishing will be aware that, behind such a simple layout, there are many technical and editorial issues. Then there’s the question, on the back cover, of how a 73-year-old author of a family-history book might refer to himself. As you can see, for the circumstances, I’ve become Waterview “Billy”.
Does such a personage still exist today… or is the present-day old-timer (and blogger) at Gamone named William Skyvington a totally different individual? That’s an interesting and indeed profound philosophical question. To my mind, “Billy” still exists… but in a ferociously new-born fashion, where almost all the Jacarandas and bendy bridges behind him have been burnt.
A single marvelous tree remains. In fact, a frail sapling. A mythical female phantom. I shall refer to her forever, simply (in any case, I never knew her name), as the girl in the fawn dress. Once upon a time, I caught a glimpse of her as I was waiting for the school bus in South Grafton. She was an angel. Unbelievably beautiful, but ethereal and untouchable, beyond the bounds of my contacts. She was a Catholic kid: a pupil of the school run by the nuns of South Grafton. In my mind, there has always been a photographic image of the house where she lived. It was the humble abode of Mary. It was unthinkable, of course, that I might ever dare to knock on that door. Meanwhile, I have spent my life searching for her. The girl in the fawn dress...
There’s no doubt about it: my novel All the Earth is Mine is now available through Amazon like any ordinary book… and probably right throughout the world (at least, wherever Amazon is accessible).
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This proves conclusively that my self-publishing adventure has become a concrete reality, and that Gamone Press is indeed an operational publishing house.
The next title to be published by Gamone Press will be A Little Bit of Irish — My Mother's People in Australia.
BREAKING NEWS: A Google search for the expression ALL THE EARTH IS MINE carried out on my home computer here at Gamone (which probably behaves differently to other machines and Internet contexts throughout the planet) brings up a dozen or so references to Exodus (which has always been a top-of-the-charts book, for as long as I remember) followed by links to the present blog post and other stuff related to my novel. I'm up there with the best authors. Watch out, Yahveh, here I come!
I’ll soon be needing a cover image for They Sought the Last of Lands, which describes the paternal dimension of my family history. Here’s a possible maquette:
For the moment, I’m not convinced that this maquette is good. My choice of the theme of wild horses in the Australian Outback (an image that belongs to Les Hiddins and ABC Books) evokes, above all, my grandfather’s childhood dream of leaving London and finding freedom in the Australian bush. Meanwhile, I've contacted ABC Books in the hope of obtaining a high-resolution file of this image.
We’ll see. All suggestions are welcomed. I plan to bring out this title at Gamone Press as soon as possible, shortly after the publication of A Little Bit of Irish.
POSTSCRIPT: I'm aware that a talented graphics artist (highly paid) would solve rapidly my cover-design challenge. But a professional operation of that kind would propulse me out of the self-publishing field, and disrupt the whole friendly common-sense idea of producing and distributing a family-history document without falling into the trap of paying a fortune to vanity-press printers. Please accept my amateurism!
Up until now, I’ve been using the following cover for the typescript of my book on maternal genealogy, soon to be published by Gamone Press.
I’ve always been aware that this dull cover (based upon a Xmas card sent to me, 33 years ago, by an Australian uncle) was a temporary thing, and that it would need to be replaced, sooner or later, by a more attractive design. This morning, I created a couple of possible models for the cover, making use of Australian images that I can purchase (for some 50 euros) in high-resolution format (300 dots per inch).
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In both cases, I’ve used the metaphor of a rural road, symbolizing, as it were, the paths of my pioneering ancestors in Braidwood and the Clarence River region. An observer can no doubt guess that "my mother's people" came from Ireland, but we cannot know, of course, what lies ahead, beyond the crest of the hill. A little bit of greenness by the roadside reinforces the title (without seeking to “explain” it, since there are several subtle reasons for my choice of this title).
You might say that the left-hand maquette is classical, whereas the right-hand maquette is more “modern”. I would appreciate any reactions to these models.
FIRST REACTION: Each new blog post that I publish gives rise automatically to a Twitter message from my @Skyvington account. And that's how I received my first reaction, from a friendly Canadian woman, Diane Rogers, whom I thank greatly.
SECOND REACTION: And here's another Twitter vote in favor of the right-hand model, from a Skeffington lady in Scotland. I thank her very much.
VARIATIONS: It's not all that easy to submit variations that might respect the suggestions of critics. Here, for example, is a version of the right-hand cover with a totally different typography:
The title—A Little Bit of Irish—is certainly highlighted here, and the readability of the cover text is surely maximal, but I have the impression that the heavy typography is being shoved down our throats. I prefer the lightweight style of the initial version with its intriguing font. To be honest, though, I simply don't know how artistically-gifted critics (that's not my case) end up evaluating questions of this kind. So, please, help!
I’ve just sent off an order for 5 copies of the very first book published by Gamone Press. It’s a hefty novel of 388 pages printed as a Demy Octavo paperback. Here’s the cover spread:
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I believe that copies can be ordered through the international distribution channels of Lightning Source. For the moment, though, I’m not yet aware of how exactly this operation is carried out in the various countries.
A new publishing house is about to emerge: Gamone Press. Our first title will be a paper book: A Little Bit of Irish — My Mothers' People in Australia.
Published by Gamone Press, this book will be marketed internationally by the giant UK-based IngramSpark organization.
Our second title will be a rather technical manual explaining, not surprisingly, how the first title came into existence.
After that, there’ll be another genealogical document: They Sought the Last of Lands — My Father's Forebears. And this will be followed by a paper edition of the novel All the Earth Is Mine associated with an official eBook version.
Other publications will follow at a modest rate. In particular, there'll be my long-awaited update on the Skeffingtons:
In this way, I shall be in a position to publish all that I have to say as a writer, while avoiding to get screwed by unscrupulous capitalists.
Furthermore, I'll no longer have to go through the boring process of attempting to convince dull employees of established publishing houses that I have something to say.