Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cover versions: What makes for a good fantasy novel cover?

Cover versions: What makes for a good fantasy novel cover?

NEW YORK & LONDON--(SCIFI-PR-WIRE) --HarperCollins Voyager, the fantasy and science fiction imprint of HarperCollins, are currently in the process of re-jacketing many of the old classics on their list to bring the novels up-to-date.

Some of the first re-covers to hit the market will be for the Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ ‘Empire’ trilogy – while British fantasy author Stephen Hunt’s works are also being re-designed, with the paper-back of his 4th novel in the Jackelian series, ‘Secrets of the Fire Sea’, breaking away from the look of the current hardback’s jacket. These new designs will be on sale in September 2010.

When word of Stephen Hunt’s redesign filtered through the market, the original hardback for ‘Secrets of the Fire Sea’ sold out of its last print run on Amazon within days, with collectors purchasing what they anticipate now becoming a collectable.

The original designs for Stephen Hunt’s Jackelian fantasy series featured a line-work motif that echoed the Victorian level of society which features in Hunt’s imagined ‘Kingdom of Jackals’ – a post-ice age take on what England transforms into millions of years in the future, filled with page-turning jeopardy, intrigue, strange races and the debris of lost civilisations.

The new jacket designs feature a more contemporary take on Hunt’s deeply imaginative creations, suggestive of the mystery, romance and adventure which runs through the novels.

Literary agent John Jarrold, who represents Stephen Hunt, said the designs “are quite dashing”, while Hunt commented, “It’s an opportune moment with the print runs for the Jackelian books still selling out and new editions about to hit the bookshops, to seize the opportunity to do something distinctive and fresh for their covers.”

First published in 2007 after a fiercely fought auction for his debut fantasy novel, the success of ‘The Court of the Air’ (it’s still the only debut fantasy novel to be given mass-market distribution by Tesco) helped kick-start a now rapidly growing sub-culture known as steampunk, with a slew of novels in the genre following in Hunt’s foot-steps on both sides of the Atlantic.

Books in the series include ‘The Court of the Air, ‘The Kingdom Beyond the Waves’, ‘The Rise of the Iron Moon, ‘Secrets of the Fire Sea’, ‘Jack Cloudie’ (pub: 2011), and a 6th as yet untitled work in the series due for publication in 2012.

The Jackelian series is published in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand by HarperCollins; the USA by Tor; and as foreign language editions by various publishers in Japan, China, Russia, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

Stephen Hunt launched a new author’s blog last month at and his official author’s site can still be found at

Raymond E. Feist can be found online at

HarperCollins Voyager’s new blog can be found at

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