Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Lantern: relit


Two new editions of The Lantern are out now: the first, with a creepily atmospheric new cover, is the British Large Print version from Windsor Paragon in association with AudioGO and Orion. As the author, I'm always fascinated to see what the visual presentation of my books will be, and I have to say that I've been thrilled by the care all the designers and editors have taken with this novel. This is probably the most straightforward representation - and I like its strength and fidelity to the story.

As an aside, I discovered a while ago that an excerpt from the opening of The Lantern was used as part of the Higher Level Art examination for schools and colleges in Ireland this summer! Candidates had to choose one of several texts to use as inspiration for their work. My curiosity is running high - I may have to contact the examination board and ask if they would let me see some of the entries. Satisfying too, because it illustrates so clearly how all forms of art influence others. 


The Italian edition, titled The House of Wind and Shadow, was published yesterday with yet another beautiful cover, highlighting a different aspect of the story. Obviously the choice of book covers is market-driven; publishers want to align each book with others that have been successful, and this positioning will be signalled to the potential book buyer by similarities in the visuals. 

But I like to think that it also has something to do with the way we can each read something and find something different in it - because that is the magic of reading.

14 comments:

Spangle said...

I would definitely love an exam on 'The Lantern'! It would be interesting to see what the examination board questions for this are.

Bother new covers are beautiful, but I prefer the first one.

Marcheline said...

I speak Spanish fluently, some Italian, and I understand a bit of French. I've always wondered why they change the titles of books when they're translated into other languages.

With some Asian languages, there are actual phrases and words that don't exist the way they exist in English, so things do have to be re-worked. That makes sense.

In the case of "The Lantern"... I mean, there's a word for "lantern" in Italian. I'm guessing the story still contains the bits about the lantern being left lit on the pathway... so why is the book titled "The House of Wind and Shadow" instead of "The Lantern"?

Scriptor Senex said...

Hooray for a large print version. Being 'visually challenged' or whatever it's called nowadays I'm using my Kindle more and more because I can have large print size on it but in doing so I miss the feel of the book itself and, even more so, the cover. I do feel that the cover picture can often make or break one's desire to pick up a book on a bookshop display.

Victoria Corby said...

It's wonderful looking at different covers, I have to say I loved the original paperback cover for The Lantern, it was mysterious and beautiful.

louciao said...

It's fascinating to see the various versions of covers for The Lantern. It really hadn't occurred to me that other markets would require different art work, and even variations on the title. Fascinating what the artist chooses to focus on from your story to entice the reader in.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I love the new cover....even more beautiful, if that were possible. I, too, don't understand changing the title. I don't think I would like that. Did you have a say? Congrats. on your work being used for the art interpretation study in Ireland. That is very very cool. You should be proud.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Hello all - and thank you for all your comments. They are much appreciated, as always, even if I don't always say so on my own comments section.

Like you, I am intrigued by the differences in covers and titles. I don't know why the Italians decided to change it (and no, I wasn't involved in any consultation - it's perfectly acceptable practice) but I assume they did so because they felt it would be more attractive to their home market and fit into a certain niche there.

I do have an author's "cover approval" clause in my contract with the US and UK publishers, and some of the others. In the past (with a previous novel and a different publisher) I did question a cover design. Although the designer agreed to make some tweaks - which were made to look so silly they were dropped - the cover went out essentially unchanged. When readers started to make comments in reviews that the cover was misleading and not a reflection of the book, I could only think "I told you so" but that didn't help the book.

Then there was the horror of my first novel, which went out with horrendous cover AND title that had me weeping with disappointment. At the time I was so pathetically grateful to be published at all, that I didn't feel I could put up any kind of fight. The joys of publishing, eh!

Libby said...

I am FINALLY reading The Lantern for the first time, and now I am wondering what took me so long! Wow! Beautiful. Although, I am wondering what the hell Dom did?!?!

MuMuGB said...

All the covers are beautiful and it is obvious that they put a lot of work in them...It must be really exciting for you to see all this. I would love to have the same problems. Sigh.

Marcheline said...

Deb - glad you got hold of the reins! The great thing is, this book is so good that you could cover it in a brown paper bag and call it lunch, and it would still ROCK. What a great story! I might even read it again. I've been missing it ever since I finished it.

Tuula said...

Congrats on the new versions Deborah! I really like the new cover for the Lantern and I'll be sure to recommend The House of Wind and Shadow to my Italian friends! bon weekend to you :)

Shelley said...

The new covers are fabulous Deborah. I have to admit the original is still my favourite. I think book covers are so important and part of the visual experience whilst reading the book. Everytime I walked past it I wanted to pick it up and keep on reading. It's eyecatching and mysterious and even though I have finished it, I feel that when I read it again I will find something else in the story that I overlooked before.

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

I'm on the same page as Shelley above, I too always walk past your book on my shelf and pick it up to read a passage to remind myself...

I was amazed to read that publishers can just change the title without consulting you, that seems all wrong to me. I admit cover art lures me in and I am actually put off a book if I hate the cover, scanning book covers in the store is a delight. All your covers are lovely but the UK edition is best I think! ;))

Jane

Deb said...

Congratulations on the new releases, Deborah. You know I love your book, title, and choice of covers (when you had input).I'm again living in a foreign language country and it kind of burns my bottom when translators take artistic leeway with their interpretation of someone else's work.

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