I hope that by now you’ve noticed that Burke in the Land of Silver was republished in the middle of last month. If you haven’t already read it, please do. You can buy it on Kindle for just £2.99 or read it free on Kindle Unlimited. And it’s also available in paperback.
It’s got a shiny new cover but, apart from one word that was a terrible mistype, and, I think, a comma somewhere, it’s exactly the same as the edition published by Endeavour (now Lume Books) only a couple of years ago. So why the change?
Part of the reason is in the words “now Lume Books”. Endeavour didn’t do a bad job with my books and I hope Lume Books can do a good job in future. That’s why my books about John Williamson are still with them. But the upheavals that seemed to convulse so many small presses at the moment can lead to them taking their eyes off the ball and the results of that are potentially bad news for authors. In this rapidly-changing publishing environment, many writers feel safer if their babies are under their own control.
This is particularly important for me right now. I’ve written two more books about James Burke since the original publication of Burke at Waterloo back in 2015 to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle and I’ve been waiting for the right time to publish them. I’ve decided that the right time is now. (This is partly because I’ve just resolved some rights issues that emphatically weren’t Endeavour’s fault but which have made me realise how vulnerable writers are once they’ve signed a publishing contract.) Both of these new books are now planned to come out later this year. But it’s a simple truth about publishing that if you have a series of books, they are best sold as a series with a consistent look and consistent marketing.
By taking control of my books again I have been able to produce covers that reflect the values I try to put into my writing and which are consistent across the whole series. I’ve probably spent rather more money on them than a publisher would have, because the books are naturally more important to me as the writer than they are to the publisher. I have to admit, too, that cost effectiveness wasn’t the first thing I looked for in cover design: it was covers that I could be personally very proud of. (And huge thanks to Dave Slaney for his wonderful interpretation of my somewhat garbled brief.)
The first three books are coming out with barely a month between them because the relaunch is mainly there to prepare the way for the two new ones. The second, Burke and the Bedouin will be published a week from today, just a month after the first. Like Burke in the Land of Silver, it has just one word changed and a few tweaks to punctuation. And, like Burke in the Land of Silver, it has a beautiful new cover by Dave Slaney. The cover reveal is this Friday. Call back then so that you can admire it.