On Saturday I finally got my hands on a physical ARC of The Alchemist of Souls, which was pretty thrilling, let me tell you!
Of course I’ve seen the cover art before, in gorgeous high-resolution, and read the text a gazillion times – but it was still an extraordinary feeling to flip through the physical book and see my words there. Much as I love ebooks for their portability and resizable text, I do feel sorry for authors who don’t get to hold a paper copy of their book in their hands.
Speaking of which – he’s a big bugger! I knew that 140,000 words was considered on the long side for a debut novel, but it’s not until you hold your brick of a book in your hands that you realise just what that means. 500 pages. 35mm of shelf space. No-one’s going to overlook that on the shelves of Waterstones.
Here’s an interesting comparison with two similar debut novels from a few years back (The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch). Well, waddya know, they’re exactly the same size!
OK, so the print in mine is slightly larger, which means the book is shorter, but at my age I approve of readable-sized print
Just seeing my book next to those two awesome – and, let’s face it, wildly successful – novels gives me the shivers!
The spine and back are lovely too, bearing a beautiful damask-like pattern (which on closer viewing appears to be elaborately carved stonework) and of course more of the same exquisite lettering as the front cover. I’ve manipulated the picture below slightly to exaggerate the contrast on the pattern, otherwise it’s hardly visible in a photo, especially with light reflecting off the high-gloss finish.
Finally, the back cover, with the plot description (written by yours truly) and Angry Robot’s now-traditional “File Under” box.
In case it’s not clear in the photo, the box reads:
File Under – Fantasy
Midsummer Magic * Skrayling
Double Trouble * Comedy of Terrors
My thanks again to Marc Gascoigne at Angry Robot for wrapping my unworthy prose in such a delicious package
Anyway, the ARC now has pride of place in my SFF bookcase, where it will await the arrival of its swankier (but somehow less cool) brethren, the final print versions, in April!
Addendum: A little robot tells me that the final version will be fractionally slimmer as it will be on regular book paper rather than the hefty stuff required for short-run printing, with a more matt finish on the cover. I’m drooling already…