You know what, creating covers is hard. I always quietly (or maybe not so quietly) seethe when I see comments on the internet claiming that publishers just 'throw' an image on the front of a book. Actually a lot of time is spent briefing, going over roughs and then discussing (read intense debate) what we think will work for everyone.

And sometimes it reaches a stage of discussion when I just think, why don't we ask the readers? So I am. Here you go.

In August next year we are publishing the AWESOME Ben Peek's debut novel, currently called Immolation (and yes, there are also even discussions about the title!). You can see the press release here. It's an epic fantasy told through three perspectives - one of whom is a young woman. Here's the general outline:

Immolation is set fifteen thousand years after the War of the Gods. The bodies of the gods now lie across the world, slowly dying as men and women awake with strange powers that are derived from their bodies. Ayae, a young cartographer’s apprentice, is attacked and discovers she cannot be harmed by fire. Her new power makes her a target for an army that is marching on her home.

With the help of the immortal Zaifyr, she is taught the awful history of ‘cursed’ men and women, coming to grips with her new powers and the enemies they make. Meanwhile, the saboteur Bueralan infiltrates the army that is approaching her home to learn its terrible secret.

Split between the three points of view, Immolation’s narrative reaches its conclusion during an epic siege, where Ayae, Zaifyr and Bueralan are forced not just into conflict with those invading, but with those inside the city who wish to do them harm.

So my brief was, there are three books and three characters. Let's try and get one of the characters on each of the books starting with Ayae because - well - because she's really cool!! And she sets her sword on fire. And she's a woman. And I like her. That was pretty much my thinking. And we've come up with a direction that everyone likes but we can't actually decide on which one works best! Now, before I show you, let me reiterate that these are what we call visual roughs. There's still a fair amount of work to be done on them. But I want your opinion on the crop, pose and figure - and hell, the title while you're at it! :-)

There's this one:


And then this one:


And for ease of making a decision, here are the two side by side:

Immolation 1     or     Immolation 2

The artist Alejandro Colucci is brilliant and captured Ayae really well. I like them both, the author likes them both. And we can't quite decide which we like best. What do you think?!