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Proof Covers

Authors rarely have any say in the covers that end up on their books, which may or may not have anything to do with their contents! Sometimes they're sent proof covers which do at least let them know what their books will look like before they hit shelves.

The Busker

The Busker was the first real book that Guy self-published, in 1998 under the Bulldog Books imprint. I was honoured to lay out the book for Guy, but I had nothing to do with the cover, which was created by Paul Compton from a photograph (or photographs) of Guy himself, taking the role of the title character, laid out in front of Lichfield Cathedral.

This is a proof cover for that trade paperback edition.

Doomflight

Doomflight was published by Hamlyn in 1981 with a cover that looks almost but not quite identical to this proof. The artwork by Les Edwards is the same, all the text matches perfectly and even the typography on the cover does too. Well, except for the fact that the actual paperback has the title and author's name in a bright metallic red, while the proof has it in a bright metallic gold.

This is a proof cover for that paperback edition.

The Festering

The Festering was published by Arrow in 1988 with a cover by Terry Oakes. Les Edwards also painted a cover but it wasn't used. Edwards wrote 'I suppose it might have been considered too extreme although my chum Terry Oakes used to get away much more "over the top" stuff. Interesting that the designer cropped the image in that way though. The eighties were a blood spattered time. Heh Heh!'

This is a proof front cover for that projected paperback edition.

Hallowe'en Horrors

Hallowe'en Horrors was a horror anthology, originally published in 1986, to which Guy contributed the story, Hollow Eyes.

This is a proof cover for the 1988 paperback edition from Sphere.

Killer Crabs

This is a proof cover for the New English Library first edition of Killer Crabs from 1978. It wasn't changed.

The image source is Steve Holland's quick runthrough of the Crabs series at Bear Alley, also entitled Killer Crabs!

The Knighton Vampires

In this instance, the proof was for a book that ended up being published by a different company, because Sphere was a Robert Maxwell imprint and his bankruptcy ended Guy's run for them.

The book was slated to be his sixth Sphere paperback, a direct sequel to one of them, The Black Fedora, but it ended up in print only in hardback, published by Piatkus in 1991, using the same artwork by Luis Rey.

This is a proof cover for the Sphere paperback edition.

Locusts

This is a proof cover for the Hamlyn first edition of Locusts from 1997. It's very similar to the cover that was used, but it was changed in a number of ways:

  • The image by Josh Kirby was faded out on the top of the front cover to better highlight the title. It was also zoomed in to make the primary two locusts bigger.
  • The tagline of 'a winged nightmare of swarming terror' was moved up and changed from black to white.
  • Guy's name was also changed from black to white, as was the lining of the title.
  • The title was changed from red to white on the spine.
  • The pricing information was added to the back cover.

Thanks to Chris Hall for sharing this image!

Night of the Crabs

This is a proof cover for the New English Library first edition of Night of the Crabs from 1976. It wasn't changed.

The image source is Steve Holland's quick runthrough of the Crabs series at Bear Alley, entitled Killer Crabs!

Snowdrop

In some instances, like Snowdrop, changes were made after the proof cover was sent. In this instance, the title was changed with an associated change to the front cover, but not to the spine, of the first edition.

This particular book had a history of name changes. It was pitched as The Scavenger's Daughter, written as Hell-House and bought as Snowdrop, but it eventually saw print as Satan's Snowdrop.

This is a proof cover for the Hamlyn first edition before that title was changed. From my own collection.

An Unholy Way to Die

Like The Busker, Guy self-published An Unholy Way to Die under his own Bulldog Books imprint. Again, I laid out the book but had nothing to do with the cover.

It was also created by Andrew Compton, I presume again from a photograph.

This is a proof cover for that trade paperback edition from my own collection.

Water Rites

This is a proof cover for the Zebra first edition of Water Rites from 1997. It wasn't changed from the proof.

Thanks to Chris Hall for sharing this image!

Werewolf by Moonlight

This is a proof cover for the New English Library first edition of Guy's first novel from 1974 with art by Lucinda Cowell. It wasn't changed.

The source for this image is Bear Alley's brief article on artist Lucinda Cowell.



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Last update: 22nd November, 2017