Living My Best Life (Going behind the filters and revealing what it’s really like to have a book published!) by Claire Frost
Part 1 – Going Under Cover (seeing my name on an actual book)
I’m not embarrassed to say that I love my name. Growing up, there were four other Claires in my class at school, and so often my Christian name was followed by my surname in order to differentiate me from all the others. After years of gentle teasing, I started to love my second name, and soon I was simply known as Frosty, Frosticles, or even Frostylicious. Even now, I’m rarely called merely Claire at work – although being introduced to new staff members as “our Assistant Editor, Frosty” does illicit some strange and rather frightened looks!
So when it came to writing my first book, I didn’t have to think too hard about whether to use my real name or write under a pseudonym. Sure, I could have taken my partner’s surname and plumped for the pleasingly alliterative Claire Cummings. Or if I’d been penning a crime novel, I could have gone for C.E Frost, which sounds both strong and mysterious. However, there’s something ridiculously exciting about seeing your very own name on the cover of your very own book. As a reviewer, I still get a thrill from spotting my quotes being used on book jackets, but seeing my own book jacket for the first time was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
I was a little apprehensive about opening the email with the subject line COVER! when it hit my inbox at the beginning of this year. I had no idea what I wanted my book to look like, but I definitely knew what I didn’t want it to look like. I’ve seen many great jackets over the years, but I’ve also seen lots of covers that look just plain wrong – or even worse, just plain boring. What if I hated the images they’d chosen? What if the font was too curly? What if the cover didn’t reflect the book I’d actually written? But I needn’t have worried even one tiny jot. I clicked on the attachment and actually gasped as I fell in love at first sight with the pink Insta-like hearts that adorn the jacket and the gorgeous green shade of the title. I immediately knew this was the cover – like trying on the wedding dress or settling on the name for your firstborn, it just felt right.
Then a few months later, my editor Bec told me to watch out for a special delivery. I ran down to the post room in the office where I work and as I waited for the lift to take me back upstairs, I tore open the jiffy bag I’d been delivered. Inside were two proof copies of Living My Best Li(f)e. Actual books with my name on the front. And because they were special proof copies for special reviewers, they even had shiny GOLD FOIL on them. I walked into the office holding my book aloft – and promptly burst into tears. Even now, two months on, I still find myself staring at the utter gorgeousness of my cover, unable to believe that little old Claire Frost is credited as the author of such a flipping brilliant-looking book.
I am so lucky to have the amazing Team BATC surrounding me with their visual know-how, marketing genius and publicity guru-ness, and although I may have written the words of this novel – and it’s my name on the cover – without the entire team, Living My Best Li(f)e would just be a Word document languishing on my computer, rather than an actual book that will very soon be on my (and I hope your!) bookshelf.