Two More Eastern European Epics

Please accept my apologies if all these foreign covers are boring you, but I just find them endlessly fascinating! It’s also a little unusual to get two new international editions of a book in within days of each other, so let’s celebrate!

To the left we have the Czech cover for Epic by Conor Kostick, one of my favourite O’Brien Press books of all-time, and one which has had a wide array of different cover approaches already. In this case they seem to have taken at least one element from each of the existing covers and put them all in there — there’s even a spot-UV layer (shiny stuff on a matt background, for those who don’t know the jargon) with extra elements, which does not show up on a straight scan like this! It’s also a nice, meaty hardback: if only we had a market for hardback children’s fiction in Ireland …

To the right is the Serbian cover, again with quite a bit of finishing — the dragon on the bottom-right is all in red foil, and the white panel for the type is embossed.

So Epic has now had hb, pb, gloss, matt, spot UV, foil (various!), emboss (several) and holograms on the cover: though thankfully not ALL at the same time! now, read the book and see why so many people felt it was worth translating — well, you didn’t think we’d get away without a blatant commercial plug from time to time, did you?

Ivan

Children of the Famine new covers again

Well, PJ Lynch has finished the covers, Emma has worked her magic with the type and the new books are at the printers now, going on sale in a couple of weeks. It has been great to see these lovely new covers evolve and Marita is delighted with them: we all love a happy author!

Under The Hawthorn Tree cover

This is the finished Under the Hawthorn Tree cover front, back and spine, and it just jumps off the page!

Continue reading “Children of the Famine new covers again”

Dublin 1916 art in

The heat of battle!I just saw some new artwork in that blew me away completely! We have a really exciting project coming this autumn: Blood Upon the Rose: Dublin 1916, a graphic novelisation of the 1916 Easter Rising by Gerry Hunt, with award-winning cartoonist and illustrator BrenB doing the colouring. I had only seen the black-and-white images before, but BrenB has done a really brilliant job on the couple of pages we have here. Continue reading “Dublin 1916 art in”

Another country conquered!

Well, you can now get OBP books in another country, as copies of our first Albanian editions have arrived in the office! It’s amazing that so many countries, and small countries at that, can justify the effort of producing and selling literature in translation.

Obviously, doing a local edition of an international blockbuster is an easy decision, but there has to be an element of passion or courage involved in translating a children’s novel about the Irish potato famine (Marita Conlon-McKenna’s Under the Hawthorn Tree — the new PJ Lynch covers are just about finished, by the way, and are lovely) or Irish dancing (Kate by Siobhán Parkinson) into Albanian, even with the valuable support of the Ireland Literature Exchange.

It takes us to a grand total of 44 territories/languages (well, I have included Film and Audio there) that our stuff is available in, which I reckon is quite impressive …

Ivan

Alice goes to Portugal

Portuguese cover for Alice Again

One of the very best bits about this publishing game is when a foreign edition of one of our books hits the desk. It is the culmination of a process that starts with meeting an editor or scout at a bookfair (or, as often happens, the tenth meeting with the same person on successive years, waiting to get a hit!) and plugging everything from your list that you think might stick! After that there’s the sample copies to send, the agents to keep in the loop, the negotiation over price, terms, territories etc and then things go quiet: at our end.

For the foreign publisher, that’s the point where the rest of the company gets to hear about it — they have to translate, check difficult bits with the author, get our image files (if they are using them) and combine them with their text, build a publicity plan and (and this is the best bit) design a new cover.

The next we hear about it is when a copy of the translated edition arrived in the door, which is always great fun. The great bit about foreign covers is that the show clearly just how each nation has its own artistic sensibility, and there have been loads of times when a new edition has come in where our reaction has been “that’s a beautiful cover: but it wouldn’t work here”. What’s particularly striking for kid’s books is that the age-level implied in the graphics can vary so much: my favourite example is comparing the German, French and Italian covers for our book Sisters … No Way! And then the Slovenian edition came in and rewrote the rules.

Estonian cover

What brought this to mind today was a new Portuguese edition of Alice Again by Judi Curtin that hit the office today. Entitled As Melhores Amigas sao Inseparáveis (which translates roughly as Best Friends are Inseparable) , it is the second book in the series and shows that they have developed a lovely series look (see their cover for Alice Next Door) that is lovely, and utterly different to ours! I also adore the fact that they have a footnote explaining what hummus is (In the story, Megan’s mum is a health-food fanatic)!

I have to say that my favourite foreign cover of one of our books that really made me think “now why the hell didn’t we think of that?” is for The Wish List by the amazing Eoin Colfer in (wait for it) Estonian. Partly because meetings with Toomas Toorma, the publisher, are one of the highlights of any bookfair, but also because their elegant and beautiful cover is the perfect solution to the endless effort we put into finding a suitable cover for what is a great book.
Do take a wander through our cover gallery: there are lots of weird and wonderful things to discover …
Ivan

Cover Competition

It’s almost World Book Day, and already the darkness of winter is lifting a little — we can almost get cheery about aspects of 2009! We have just had a great collaboration with CBI — a nationwide competition for kids to design a new cover for The Great Pig Escape by Linda Moller. The response was super, and some of the entries were very quirky indeed!

There’s more info here, including all the runners-up entries.

German cover for The Poison Throne

heyne-catalogue-spread

We have just seen the cover approach being used by Heyne, the German publisher for The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan: they are calling it “SchattenPfade” which, the internet assures me, translates as “Shade Paths”. The second book in the Moorehawke trilogy is called “The Crowded Shadows” in English, so I wonder what they’ll go with for that!?

Interestingly, while we published this as teenage fiction, the Germans are going with a dual approach — the Heyne edition (to be published this autumn) is aimed at a general audience, and a children’s/teenage edition will follow.

P.J. Lynch doing new covers for classic children’s trilogy

Best-selling children’s author Marita Conlon-McKenna’s most famous books are getting a great makeover. PJ Lynch, Ireland’s most celebrated children’s illustrator, is creating new covers for all three books in the best-selling Children of the Famine trilogy. It’s the first time PJ has worked with us, and it’s really exciting.
The first one he’s done is Under The Hawthorn Tree, and we now have the full painting in the office!

The three new editions will be available from all good bookshops in April 2009. Perfect for PJ Lynch fans.

uht_cover_colour

Continue reading “P.J. Lynch doing new covers for classic children’s trilogy”