This is my next book, My Name is O, looking like a book for the very first time:

It’s not the finished article: it’s what those in the book trade refer to as an Advance Reader Copy (ARC), or Proof. Publishers produce them (in very limited numbers) to send to reviewers, bloggers, authors and others for the purpose of drumming up buzz and interest for when the final book comes out.

At the time it went to press, the cover art (which I have since seen, by the way, and I can tell you it looks AMAZING) wasn’t finished. That actually isn’t particularly unusual with proofs, but it hasn’t happened to me and my books since the UK proof of The Black Tattoo back in 2006 (below).

My Name is O will be published by Barrington Stoke in January 2012. I’m very excited about this. One of the things I say a lot in interviews and author bios and whatnot is that I am passionately – possibly ‘certifiably’ – committed to the ideal of books that make young people want to read. Aimed at reluctant and struggling readers as it is, My Name is O is that ideal distilled to the purest form I could possibly give it. I think it might be the best thing I’ve written so far. But now I’ve got to wait and see if anyone else agrees.

*bites nails*

More soon.