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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

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13 January, 2009

Sancho’s Got Clothes

Choosing what to wear is not such an easy matter, though.

The contest to design the cover for my first novel, “My Friend, Sancho”, is now over. To all those who entered, from me and Hachette India, Thank You!

We’ve been overwhelmed by the designs—not just the number of entries that came in, but the quality. As my editor at Hachette remarked, “Never has any book had so many great covers to choose from.” We’re trying to make a shortlist right now, and expect to announce a winner on Monday, January 19.

That said, announcing a winner will be heartbreaking, because so many of the covers are so good in different ways. Many factors go into choosing a cover: the subjective tastes of the people involved; inputs from production on how something that looks good on the screen will look as a book; the scope for effects such as, in my publisher’s words, “embossing, holographic stuff, texture, foiling, UV, etc”; inputs from sales on what will actually work in the marketplace. There are trade-offs involved: one cover may look beautiful and have just the right feel, but may have nothing to do with the book conceptually; another may be bang on in terms of suiting the book, and may not be the kind of cover that stands out from a distance in a book shop. It’s all very complicated.

For this reason, Hachette has decided that while it can choose just one cover and award just one prize, every single entrant will get a token of appreciation. If you entered a design, expect to hear from Hachette soon.

Meanwhile, I’m off to my ‘cover designs’ folder to get bewildered and overwhelmed. Thanks again!

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | My Friend Sancho | Personal

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