As with most online polls, one has to expect a mixed bag of constructive criticism and, well, just criticism. We took all of the views into consideration ... too dull, none of the above, too brown, odd machine gun, Gollum lookalike ... and decided to start from scratch! Option 1 is obviously aesthetically pleasing as it is simple and symmetrical but the Gollum references -- and queries from a number of other people about the origins of the boy: was he African, South American, Indonesian? -- forced us to drop it from the running. Despite the machine gun confusion -- don't Malaysians know planters were issued with arms during the Emergency period? -- we strongly felt that Option 2 and 3 were more relevant to the story. After all, the image is of a real planter in 50s Malaya. Back in Dublin our designer tweaked fonts, increased the subtitle point size, extended the photograph, repositioned text, handcoloured the bag and cushion and added texture to the image. The result, we hope, is a cover with character that will entice browsers to pick the book up and read the backcover text. Of course we could now ask your readers for their help with the backcover text but, from experience, we would never come to an agreement!So who won the competition? We decided that we had to work on The Visitor's appauling ignorance. We felt desperately sorry for jy living in the land of chocs and clocks but deprived of books in English. And we enjoyed secret history's great story about her toothless grandfather.
We really valued the input from your readers and I'm sorry we couldn't choose Option 1 but we felt the comments required us to step back and rethink the design. We can never please everybody but I hope those who voted for Option 1 will take a look at the book if they see it in the bookshop!
A huge thank you to everybody who voted and commented, you really did help us with the cover design for this book.
Can each of the winners please send me their full postal addresses so Philip can post you a copy? (My e-mail is sbakar at streamyx dot com)