Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Following the competition, a couple of people have asked on here and Twitter about the Australian cover of my book. This is it:

I think it’s sweet and funny - although, being a photo of me, obviously I’m also delighted that it’s for publication in a very distant country. I’d feel like an idiot if that was staring at me from Waterstones here.

  The publishers are currently thinking about what the paperback jacket for the UK is going to be. They’re thinking of less emphasis on the cards this time, and more on the narrative - you know, a tale of glamorous travel, jet-set sums of money, terrible heartbreak, that sort of thing. Something for the more general reader, maybe the female reader, that shows it isn’t just for poker fans but a gripping life story. And of course it has to be a beautiful cool seductive image across the bookshop (for anyone who chooses to pull it out from between Carpet Golf and A Compilation Of Dachsund Quizzes in the Indoor Games section.)

  Any ideas?

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Craig at 8:45 pm on December 17th, 2009

Don’t know about the cover for the UK paperback, but you surfing on a playing card has to be a must for the Aussie version…

danny maris at 1:49 am on December 18th, 2009

Well, reading between the lines you seem to have come round to my initial thoughts on the hardback cover…didn’t quite do the communication business.


1.  The Australian version is better, but still doesn’t hit the right note for me.  First you were disembodied, now you are infantilised….

2.  Personally I’d go for a byline - something like “The Feminine Face of Poker…how a young woman took the world of poker by storm and won a cool million (whilst also finding time to make a porn movie and teach the English how to use English)”.

3.  I think it’s got to be a photoshoot - or maybe it can all be done on computer these days. Your image here is lovely of course. But for the cover, something more theatrical I guess.  I’m thinking a kind of dark background, with a bright central light and you staring intently out (poker face) whilst holding what looks like cards but on close inspection is cards plus porno movie, plus Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable…Something like that!

Platypus at 2:42 am on December 18th, 2009

Is the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” supposed to apply literally to books, or just metaphorically to other situations, such as people’s poker faces, I wonder?

Jim at 11:01 am on December 18th, 2009

Ugh, personally a big fan of the hardback cover, but Danny is right, a photo will sell sexier (sexist-er?) the better, sultry look, laying your aces on the table… cheesy as hell, but marketing just isn’t that complicated, it would do the job.

Addster at 2:01 pm on December 18th, 2009

Would it be too corny to have the front cover show a bunch of interesting items on a typical hotel bedside table or perhaps spilling out of a designer handbag? I’m thinking high-denomination poker chips, a fat bankroll and serious shades - offset by lippy (or perfume), a pink iPod and the Penguin paperback of the “Alice” stories. Add ciggies, jewellery, airline ticket, Post-it Note (hinting at romantic rendezvous? Listing betting odds?), half-eaten slice of cake on plate (for table scenario not handbag), stenographer’s pad and pen, etc. to taste. The back cover, besides blurb and raves, would be an attractive photo of the author :-)

Jimmy Arrier at 1:52 am on December 19th, 2009

You weren’t in The Sound of Music were you? And is there a poker scene in Alice in Wonderland? Thought not,....but yes it is sweet and funny!

joeking at 4:57 pm on December 19th, 2009

A bit cheesy?

Andrew at 5:36 pm on December 19th, 2009

That cover is cute!  But I’m sure I’d want it on the other side of the world if it was me too!!

Your publishers are right - I suspect the poker audience is already buying it so the paperback cover needs to appeal to other aspects as well.

How about a shot of a beautiful beach with yourself playing poker on a laptop.  Insist on at least a two week trip being booked to make sure the picture is just right.

Of course a large picture of the author would be very nice as well - and it’d FORCE the fanbase to buy a copy even if they already had the Hardback!

Craig at 11:51 pm on December 19th, 2009

Not sure if it’s de rigeur to add a second comment, but am I allowed to suggest VC should join the Communist Party, purely so the next book can be titled ‘Red Hot Poker Player’?

Francis Chu at 11:56 am on December 20th, 2009

I actually think the cover is very good.
I will try and find it in my local bookstore within the next few days.

John at 12:17 pm on December 21st, 2009

It could be along the lines of an opening still from a ‘Bond’ film… or maybe, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Poker Player’ unless that’s already been done.

Phil at 1:37 pm on December 23rd, 2009

How about a close up of a laptop with your hands poised over the keys. 
On the screen there are open several browser windows; one shows you logged into a social networking site complete with prominent profile pic (this is a good excuse to show off your face, which as well as being rather easy on the eye, will probably also appeal to the publishers marketing people )
Another window shows an online poker table; another has flight details for a trip to vegas, or maybe a booking reservation to one of the big hotels there
Finally there is also an mp3 player open with a playlist featuring the book’s soundtrack.

Hope this is some help; Have a great Christmas

joeking at 1:33 am on December 27th, 2009

‘... They’re thinking of less emphasis on the cards this time, and more on the narrative - you know, a tale of glamorous travel, jet-set sums of money, terrible heartbreak, that sort of thing. Something for the more general reader, maybe the female reader, that shows it isn’t just for poker fans but a gripping life story’

Just got the hardback and am 1/4 way through. I really don’t understand the publisher here. Has he actually read the book? You have threaded your poker experience all through the book - to the general reader I would think that the poker stuff looks like algebra.  What the hell is ‘wire-ups’?
I don’t understand shifting sands either! The ozzie cover seems appropriate for the pb.

danny maris at 3:04 am on December 27th, 2009

Noticed in the bookshop this afternoon where the inspiration for that Alice cover came from - Peter Kay’s “The Sound of Laughter”  - has his head on the Maria figure from Sound of Music. 

Sure you can do better than that.

Victoria Coren

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