And then, on 25th November, the day was finally here! A sunny Wednesday, and we were just having our 11th cup of tea (normal consumption around 11 in the morning would usually be around cup 6, but, well, we were excited, and it was too early for gin!). Then we were completely distracted with something else (unruly doglets had destroyed their cosy fluffy dog bed, again, and had taken great joy in extracting said bed's innards). And then we heard it. The sound of a HGV, passing our gate, the sighing of the brakes, and then, the slow reversing. And let's face it, there are not all that many HGVs passing our gate on this very rural road in West Cork. So, our ears pricked up, perhaps a second or two after the doggie's ears. Dogs were quickly deposited back on the naughty step, aka the utility room, and I threw on my pair of boots and ran out.
We had started this journey on 11th July, the day Jeremy Irons had penned those few lines in support of our collection. And here we were, less than 20 weeks later, with a palette of books, containing stories crafted by all those fabulous writers around the country, enhanced by beautiful, carefully selected photography, and the most gorgeous graphic design and editorial prowesses, and it was all in aid of something good.
And there the boxes lay, dozens upon dozens of them.
And then, I have to confess, I did feel a little nervous. Mainly excited, but yes, just a smidgeon worried, too. Because we had had so little time to publish this edition of 'Lights on the Horizon', and with postal delays due to COVID-19, we weren't able to obtain a preview copy beforehand. Publishing such a book would usually take the best part of a year, time which we didn't have, if we wanted to get it out there in time for Christmas. A few leaps of faith were taken, that's for sure - but we were lucky, as we had been very well advised by those who had worked with this particular print company before: Gutenberg Press.
It looked absolutely fantastic, and I was bowled over by the quality of the cover, the endpapers, and the interior pages. We had had a last minute change to the cover - from gloss to matt, on advice of the printing company, and I am so glad we went with their advice. It also meant that, though I had received a sample of the gloss cover, I had no idea what to expect with the matt cover. There is only so much one can imagine, if one isn't a supply chain head. Then it was time to unload the palette, which had to be done before the school run, so the race was on.
We've been brilliantly supported by the local and national press so far, and we're delighted with the coverage. Slowly but surely we're finding ourselves in more and more bookshops, and it was excellence to get an online presence with our on-off-on-off-on-off lockdown scenarios, so we are grateful for our partnership with bozpublications.com. Everyone has been so helpful, and, step by step, we're making progress. Take a look at the coverage we have received so far, with more to come, hopefully!
Do note that some publications who featured us featured the cover of the previous edition. It's still great to get the coverage, but if you're in a bookshop (when these do reopen, again), and you're looking for our book, this is the one you're looking for:
We have an ongoing competition at the moment. If you find us in the media, and you:
1. Like our page
2. Send us a pic of the publication
3. Tag us
You can win a copy of 'Lights on the Horizon'.
Us publishing folk do get excited about... fonts and things. Yes, hard to believe, but true. Take a look at these before and after images, to get an idea of how our design evolved in just a few short weeks. I'm sure you'll agree that Ailbhe Hooper, our Graphic Design Director, did an absolutely phenomenal job!
We kicked off the project in late July, and only a few short weeks later, on 21st August, we had our first designs. By the time the second design came around, only a week later, we were already very close to the final version, with some minor tweaking here and there. Take a look at the before and after pictures of how some of the pages evolved from the first to the second to the final design. Enjoy!
1. Opening Page
The very first page when you open the book needs to be eye-catching in the best possible way. The first set of designs was really just playing with different fonts and treatments.
And this was the second design, just over a week later. A coffee table book needs to have fabulous design, coupled with a strong image, to make the reader want to turn the page. We originally dropped in this image from Portyglenone Forest, taken by the very talented Robin Quigley. It was just a placeholder, as we already had a place for it later in the book, and didn't want to use it twice.
Oh and what about this forest pic? Well, if you spot this image in the printed book when you've bought it, contact me on social (Facebook or Insta), and tell me what page this picture is on . You are entered into a draw and will be in with a chance to win a signed copy of Lights on the Horizon!
And this is the final design of the opening pages (double A4 page), which you will find in the printed book.
We absolutely love this page as the image perfectly depicts the quiet streets we all experienced during lockdown. Fondly known as 'The Boy on the Bike', and taken by the very talented photographer David Lynch, this image shows a deserted Dublin city centre during Ireland's first lockdown in March.
This image would also become the image for our promotional materials! You've probably spotted it on our posters on social media. Here's a little reminder. Click on the poster to pre-order the book!
2. Jeremy Irons Quote Page
Design 1, 21st August 2020: Draft Jeremy Irons quote page: After the boost that Jeremy Irons' endorsement gave us, we knew we needed to give this its own page, so the idea for this Jeremy Irons Quote page was born. We liked the look of it but there was some tweaking required on the fonts and colours, and an image needed to be added.
And this is the final double page spread in the printed book! The image is from photographer Robin Quigley - the very first photographer we had on board!
3. Preface Page
We wanted the design to be a 'Wow' - unusual, yet sleek, gorgeous, and truly premium. Take a look at the Preface page, from its very first design, to 2nd, and then final design. You will see that the 2nd design pretty much 'nailed' the look and feel we went with in the end. Seeing this, and many of the other pages in just the second design was the 'Wow! That's it!' moment for us.
And here are the left and right hand pages, which you will see in the final printed version. The colour treatment, and the dropped in image really make a huge difference to the design.
*** Competition alert! ***The first person to contact me on social (Facebook or Insta) to tell me what location this picture is of will get a signed copy of Lights on the Horizon!
4. Story Pages
Now let's take a look at how some of the story pages evolved - again, you get a good sense of the Before and After. We veered away from the large numbering, though we loved it, because of the space the numbers took up on a page. Here we're comparing one of the opening stories in the book, 'Saoirse and the Healing World', by the very talented Michelle Young of Ink Wing Academy.
We had some last minute changes to the author pages, due to image sizing, but I hope you'll agree that the final result of this double page spread is gorgeous! The three ladies that made up the steering committee (Ailbhe Hooper, as well as Tess Tattersall, our Editorial Director, and Niamh Cooper, the Publisher) were all instantly in love with the cursive font for the quotes. Yes, it doesn't take much to set our publishing hearts all aflutter. I think the cursive quotes really finish off the page in the most lovely way! Ailbhe had to stop me from putting these everywhere...
We hope you enjoyed getting a little insight into how a book evolves during the design process. We're so proud of the book, and hope that you'll enjoy it too. You can pre-order it here, or in five bookshops nationwide:
All proceeds go to frontline workers, and this will make a lovely Christmas present for your brother who's so hard to buy for, your cousin who's a nurse - or just for that hero in your life!
Very proud to be featured in the Ardfield-Rathbarry ARC today - not once, but twice! Thank you, Hugh O'Reilly, you're a legend, sir! For more details, see www.thearc.ie.
The press releases went out over the last two weeks, and we've had incredible press coverage so far. A huge thank you to authors Amy O'Connor, now living in Cork, and Peg Prendeville, who lives on the Limerick - North Kerry border, for their help in sending out press releases.
An article in the Tipperary Nationalist praised Amy's talents and involvement in 'Lights on the Horizon'. Amy also has a poetry collection called 'A beautiful complexity', which was published in 2019 and is available for purchase here.
Limerick-based Peg Prendeville was featured in the Limerick Leader, as well as the Weekly Observer.
We were also very grateful to be featured in the Irish Tatler Gift Guide (scroll to #85).
This Friday was another busy day, and it turns out Friday 13th wasn't unlucky for us, after all. We had not one but two publications: Jackie Keogh interviewed Niamh in the Southern Star, and Gráinne McGuinness did a feature in The Echo.
The Southern Star was kind enough to feature author Louise O'Neill, who kindly supported Lights on the Horizon with a beautiful endorsement:
Lights on the Horizon’ is a moving, poignant snapshot of life in the middle of a pandemic. This collection of poems, stories, and photos will be something to treasure when we look back at this time in years to come, wondering how we survived.
Further press coverage over the coming weeks will include the Irish Times, interviews on radio, and a mention in the Daily Star Gift guide, which is out on 28th November - the same day 'Lights on the Horizon' will hit bookshops.
If you're a bookshop, or shop of any kind, and want to get involved in selling 'Lights on the Horizon', get in touch: email@example.com, or call Niamh (Publisher) on: 083 870 6768.
In today's Spotlight, our Editorial Director, Tess Tattersall. She answers our three 'In the Spotlight' questions:
Why did you get involved in Lights on the Horizon?
One unusual thing about you.
One wish for 2021.
Take it away, Tess! Just click on the link, or the photo above, to check out Tess' answers, in under 40 seconds. Thank you, Tess!
In the Spotlight, a new feature, to get to know the authors, photographers and other contributors to Lights on the Horizon a little better. We will feature each author in a short 40-second video, just click the link to watch it!
Explore. Believe. Write!
As well as running Ink Wing Academy, Michelle is also a Writer in Residence for Arts Care in the Western Health Trust. With a degree in psychology, Michelle is very passionate about the strong link between writing and wellbeing and its ability to untangle thoughts and feelings.
The eThentique team spent much of the last few days getting over 50 press releases out into the world. Some of you have asked for the press release, and it is available for download below. Just click on the download link underneath the images.
‘This collection of poems, stories, and photos will be something to treasure when we look back at this time in years to come, wondering how we survived.’
Louise O'Neill, September 2020
‘One of the positive realisations to come out of this plague, is how we all need each other. I hope these stories help us never to forget as we live our future lives.’
Jeremy Irons, July 2020
A feature in the Irish Tatler Gift Guide? Sorted!
Happy Sunday y'all! I'm delighted to announce that the fabulous Jo Zebedee, owner of The Secret Bookshelf in Carrickfergus, has joined the ranks of the sellers for 'Lights on the Horizon'. What a brilliant name for a bookshop, it makes me want to travel there and find secret treasures of long forgotten books. Of course many of us can't travel further than the end of our noses at the moment, but hopefully we can hit the road again soon, and experience that unique bookshop feel! However, residents north of the border are lucky as The Secret Bookshelf is still open, so swing by and take a look! Isn't the interior just gorgeous!
Niamh is a publisher and writer, based in West Cork. Bi-lingual in German and English, she's always finding new ways to play with words. Check this page for updates on exciting initiatives happening in eThentique!