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Bella Pagan

Starborn Artwork Reveal: The Evolution of a Cover

I’m delighted to at last reveal the cover for Lucy Hounsom’s epic debut fantasy—Starborn. And it’s epic indeed! It’s the first book in the Worldmaker trilogy, it’s out in the UK in hardback/ebook, on 23rd April and we’ll have a launch at first edition specialists Goldsboro Books on 30th April. I just can’t wait to see a stack of those bookish beauties once the precious tomes are printed.

And as it’s such a fine cover, I wanted to share a bit more about its evolution. Each stage takes time, a lot of different people and there is plenty of behind the scenes polishing, commenting and tweaking.

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UK Cover Reveal for Brian Staveley’s The Providence of Fire

I was absolutely blown away by the truly epic fantasy debut that is The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley. And so I’m delighted to share the UK cover design for his next book, The Providence of Fire, publishing January 15th from Tor UK. See below for the full cover in all its glory—this book might even be, gasp, better than book one! You might think us editors are lucky to read books before everyone else, but my wait until book three will still seem interminable!

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Designing the Cover for The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide

The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases is a uniquely entertaining collection, containing work by Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, Rachel Pollack, Liz Williams, and many others—and it’s been painstakingly put together by talented editors Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts. The editors have also contributed submitted their own weird and wonderful pieces.

TorUK reissued the ebook with a fabulous new cover on 5th June. Learn more about the collection and see the full cover below!

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The Cover Art Briefing Process: Designing the Look of Banished

It’s so exciting as an author when you are asked to contribute to the cover art briefing process for your book. So much rides on the cover and of course I wanted to give all the help I could for Banished, my debut novel. Also, I was really impressed at how early these discussions took place—we were talking about cover art almost before we spoke about edits and I felt flattered that Bella wanted to include me in the process.

Bella asked me to supply detailed descriptions of the characters, including what they wore and how they moved. She was also interested in any images I could provide which might give an idea of where the book took place, the weapons they’d use etc. She also asked me to think about the book as a whole and to let her know if there was any imagery I thought stood out particularly.

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An Interview with Jeff VanderMeer About His Early Work

This month, Tor UK is reissuing three of Jeff VanderMeer’s wonderful early novels, including his first novel, with stylish new covers. The books are as fantastic as ever and Jeff has told me all manner of interesting things about them below—ranging from alternate titles and unusual editorial input to a narrowly avoided fake squid exposé. He also has some wise words on social media which I’d love to follow—but am not sure I can! So on to the interview itself…

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New UK Cover Art for Brandon Sanderson’s The Rithmatist

Tor UK is about to reissue Brandon Sanderson’s The Rithmatist—and you can see the full stunning cover art for the ebook below.

In the book, Joel studies in a school attended by his country’s best magic users. But he doesn’t have the gift – and that’s got to hurt, hasn’t it?! The magic is based on geometry, its users drawing powerful workings in chalk, and Joel would do anything to have it. That’s even when some of the most promising students start disappearing in suspicious circumstances. Soon it’s clear their gift could cost them their lives—unless Joel and his professor can unravel this crime and stop yet more murders taking place.

See the full cover and get more plot details below!

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Getting That Book Deal: Pitching Banished to Tor UK

Nothing quite prepares you (in a good way) for an agent pitching your novel. For me, this was signalled by my agent emailing me to say she’d put together a submissions list for my novel. I had no idea what that meant, so I asked Juliet (my agent) to talk me through the process.

She’d drawn up a list of editors to whom she’d already spoken about The Blackhart Legacy. These were editors who had in turn expressed interest in reading the completed manuscript. This would be the first tranche of people to get the manuscript. And if no offers were on the table by her deadline for a response, we would go to the next tranche of publishers and editors she’d approached.

Okay, I thought to myself. People—editors—will be reading my book. Complete strangers who I don’t know from Adam, will be reading my words and considering my novel for their list!? As if I knew what I was talking about!? It was terrifying and exciting, but mostly just terrifying.

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Dangerously Good Fantasy and New Jacqueline Carey Ebook Art

I remember when I first read Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, years ago now. It was a rare treat, an immersive, compulsive treat of a book of the sort that comes along oh so rarely. It’s a lyrically written (and at times rather racy!) epic of intrigue and power-politics, set in a fantasy world with the feel of Renaissance Italy. I was therefore delighted to have the opportunity to brief fabulous new ebook covers for the trilogy, which you can see below.

Bearing in mind the beautifully written eroticism that permeates the book, I guess it’s pretty reductive to say that it conjurers up Game of Thrones with a hint of Fifty Shades of Grey! But whatever the comparisons, it’s a damn fine, beautifully imagined read.

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An Interview with Brian Staveley, Author of The Emperor’s Blades

This month Tor and Tor UK have published The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, and we’ve been delighted by the response so far. It’s been wonderfully reviewed, fans seem so excited on twitter, etc., and it’s made a flurry of “Best of…” and “Most anticipated…” lists. We could just say – “it’s brilliant, read it.” Only we work with words, so we feel we have license to be a lot more verbose than that! Indeed, we’ve put together a list of questions no less, which Brian has been kind enough to answer.

See below for the best bits of writing a book while in Asia, what’s surprised him about the publishing process, and other insights into what being a debut author is all about. You can also get hold of the first seven chapters of the book for free here in the US and via SFX Magazine here if you’re in the UK. Now over to Brian…

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Crafting a Steampunk Espionage Thriller: An Interview with Cherie Priest

This month, Tor Books publishes the wonderful Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest, the last of her Clockwork Century novels, which have attracted so much critical acclaim over the last few years. Fiddlehead is a spy-packed standalone story, with a brilliant protagonist in the form of Belle Boyd. This irresistible alternative history adventure features spies, Abraham Lincoln, political machinations and one woman who can save the world from a deadly menace! (Read an excerpt here.)

Basically, it’s glorious, and Cherie has been kind enough to answer a few questions about her historical research, where the idea for Fiddlehead originated and her favourite “steampunk experience.”

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Publishing Jargon Buster: Production Definitions Unlocked!

Many of the best bits of publishing jargon lie within the production process. So, being utter word-nerds all, we were delighted when Konrad and Rachael from the Pan Macmillan UK Production Department put together this handy glossary. If you were previously unacquainted with the delights of debossing, snot-glue, kiss-cutting or Sherpas, look no further. Jargon warning though—sometimes jargon does vary between the US and UK, and you do find some differences between different publishing houses. And if you like this, you may also enjoy our more general publishing jargon-buster here.

If you have any favourites from the list, feel free to let us know in the comments. Or if you have any other bits of publishing or work jargon you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it!

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Publishing Jargon-Buster: Ten Words Unpacked

In publishing, as in any other industry, we scatter our days with curious and unusual words which we take for granted. But even for us, new ones pop up to surprise us every now and then. Thinking of Blippar and Wibalin here—though I thought for a while that our books were bound with wibbling. Which made me laugh! Here to entertain and explain are ten bits of jargon, don’t use them all at once….

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Jeff Noon and his Cover Art: A Designer’s Perspective

Tor UK’s 20th anniversary edition of Jeff Noon’s Vurt was published last month. And, as Jeff won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Vurt in 1994, last week’s Arthur C. Clarke Award ceremony was a great time to look back. But as they say you judge a book by its cover, we wanted to take a look at the huge amount of work that went into this new cover look for Vurt, Pollen and Jeff Noon’s entire backlist. Curtis McFee is one of Jeff’s oldest fans and supporters, and has championed his work for years—immersing himself in Jeff’s books, designing his website and even creating a Vurt-based role-playing game.

Curtis McFee also put together a really fabulous new Vurt trailer for us. But here, we want to take a look at the new covers—look at the inspiration behind them, the creative process and various early drafts, plus what messages Curtis was trying to convey. We also wanted to find out how this creative duo met and forged the links that would lead us to this body of work today.

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Jeff Noon’s Vurt: Audio Clips and Competition

A few weeks ago, Jeff Noon came into the office to record some audio snippets of him reading from the imaginative thrill-ride that is Vurt. This was fun, as I’d only vaguely been aware that we had a recording studio! Cue wandering down some maze-like corridors to a part of the office I’d never even known was there, to a tiny cupboard-like room with (to my untutored eye) some rather retro-looking looking recording paraphernalia. But, this is where the magic happens! Jeff’s reading was rich, gritty and massively atmospheric. The surroundings fell away and I saw what his agent had meant, when she said his readings were really something special. I hope you enjoy the audio snippets embedded below (Audible has produced an audio version of the book itself). And there are pictures and links to other Jeff Noon content below that.

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