At the Waterline is back! It has been a while, dear readers. Winds have shifted; snow has fallen; winter is here. And we have some important announcements. As you’ll notice, we have a new cover!

This masterpiece comes to us courtesy of Andrea McDonald, a second-year Oolie and an up-and-coming designer to watch. We are in love with the textures at play on this cover. The cloudy murk billowing up from below captures our story’s atmosphere and its theme of things hidden below the surface. And that background texture? Zoom in to make the image big, then commit to getting yourself a physical copy to appreciate it fully—it is gorgeous in person. The images look like they’ve been painted over a rough-hewn plank of wood—a perfect visual representation of the way At the Waterline explores the real, tactile experience of the river.

Sometimes, when we’re designing book covers, we focus so much on the front that the back cover can be an afterthought, but Andrea paid attention to every detail. From the color change that reminds us the river can be blue and sparkly in addition to murky and foreboding, to the little items floating below the surface that act as foreshadowing and Easter eggs for readers (admit it, you’re curious about the skull), this cover tells a story that supports and complements the work within.

We recently received our advance reader copies (pictured below), and I have to say, even though there are still tweaks to be made, it’s pretty exciting to finally hold a physical copy of something you’ve been working on since it was a simple Microsoft Word document. I absolutely can’t wait to get the final product into Brian K. Friesen’s patient hands. In the meantime, the team is hard at work deciding where to send these beauties. Advance reader copies are an essential piece of the publicity puzzle. We’ll be sending these (plus a digital version of the book) to newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets all over the country so they can write honest glowing reviews.

While Chad, At the Waterline’s hero, and his journey to overcome loss and find his place in the world will resonate with any reader who loves a good story, and Brian’s beautiful prose will appeal to lovers of literary fiction, the book’s river-centric setting presents some fun opportunities to connect with audiences outside traditional book markets. Sailing clubs and conservation groups will be hearing a lot from us over the next couple months. Also, and I have to be careful here not to give away any secrets, we’ve got some exciting efforts lined up and aimed square at Portland tourists. In case you hadn’t noticed, Portland is becoming quite the travel destination. But as someone who has lived here for a while and loves it, I sometimes wonder, what are all the tourists up to? Portland has a lot to offer, but we don’t have any Empire State Buildings or Hollywood Boulevards. Why not, then, encourage visitors to walk in the shoes of some long-time residents and see the hipster haven they’ve been hearing about from a new angle?

Stay tuned as we roll out our plan for world domination marketing strategy. There’s a lot to look forward to.

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