My first ever front cover!!

Well now, here’s a lovely early Christmas present – my first ever book cover!!

Front cover of a book, titled The Main Audience by Karel Polacek, featuring a watercolour painting of train station by John Haywood.
Front cover of The Main Audience by Karel Polacek

And for comparison, my original painting:

Watercolour painting of a train station from a bygone era by artist John Haywood
Bygone era train station

I have had several enquiries from publishers interested in featuring my work on book covers – enough to know that until the book has been published and your work is definitely on the cover, it’s probably best not to think about it too much, let alone mention it to anyone!

I’m thrilled then to share the news that this new publication and translation of The Main Audience by Karel Polacek is now available via the wonderful independent French publisher Ginkgo Editeurs (and can be found on their website in the Foreign Literature Collection), as well as via Instagram and Facebook.

I’m indebted to the publishers for considering my work and to Kenneth Field / Rail Archive Stephenson that own the copyright to the image that inspired my painting, who gave their permission and approval for this little venture.

To see my work on the cover of a book is a tremendous honour, and a really wonderful and unexpected Christmas present.

This leads me neatly on to wishing anyone that reads this blog, a wonderful festive season. I wish you all a merry Christmas and hope you’re able to enjoy and indulge yourself at this special time of year in a way that best suits you – whatever that might be! I won’t extend this as far as New Year, as I’ll save that honour for next week’s final post 2023!

The Main Audience, by Karel Polacek

For those anyone that might be interested, here’s a brief summary of the plot of The Main Audience.

One day, his father-in-law said to him: “Josef, this can’t continue like this. I don’t want you in my house anymore. You will have to find another roof.”

The first sentences of the novel determine the continuation of a story which amounts to a slow descent into hell for the (anti-)hero Josef Marsik, a railway worker by profession.

This ‘little man’ lets himself be caught up in a big dream, that of becoming rich. Kicked out of his father-in-law’s house and not really knowing where to go, he and his wife and family hatch a devilishly fiendish plan that should bring him a fortune.

Claiming to be single, he places an ad in a newspaper to find a wife.

He meets Alzbeta Valova, an elderly maid who is desperately looking for love. He manages to extort money from her, then, faced with the insistence of the woman who always sticks to his coattails, he ends up murdering her. The police catch him, and, following a trial where he confesses everything, he is sentenced to death. At the end of the story, instead of a catharsis, the reader is treated to a dialogue between the condemned man waiting for the gallows and a prison guard, both tragic and hilarious. The Main Audience delivers a relentless account full of black humour of the slow descent into hell of a man seemingly similar to millions of others.

Thoughts on My first ever front cover!!

12 thoughts on “My first ever front cover!!”

    1. Hi Jean and thanks so much for this. I’m not sure that I ever recall this ever being on a list of any sort as such, but it’s great to still be able to put a tick against it!

  1. Interesting book. And your painting is a great cover for it.

    Now that you have a toe in the water, I hope a few more publishers may put some of your work on their covers. Who knows, at some point they may start to commission covers and offer you more than a pittance for your work. Plenty of artists do book covers. Wyeth and Rockwell.

    1. Hi Mary and thanks so much for this! I think it really is quite random (and quite competitive too). I’ve had a couple of approaches in the past, and have been on a few ‘book cover shortlists’ but this is the first time I’ve ever made it ‘all the way’. I’d certainly be happy to follow in the footsteps of Wyeth and Rockwell!

  2. John, congratulations!! That is so wonderful. You definitely deserve the exposure and the credit for so much hard work and talent.

    Wishing you all the best for the Holidays! Merry Christmas my friend.

  3. Bravo John pour ce beau succès le père Noël t’a apporté un merveilleux cadeau qui sera vu également par de très nombreux lecteurs de France.
    Brova et joyeux Noël Serge

  4. Bravo John c’est effectivement un très beau cadeau de Noël, mais surtout une belle consécration pour ton travail, une reconnaissance également de ton talent d’aquarelliste. Grâce à cette couverture de livre, tes œuvres vont voyager, et entrer dans de nombreux foyers de France et d’ailleurs.
    Bravo et joyeux Noël à toi et à tous ceux qui te sont chers
    Serge

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