There’s a progression of a book moving on from beginnings to become more and more real. First it’s just a concept, then it becomes a real plan, with a name and release date.
Cover art makes it seem more real, and if it’s an anthology, seeing a roster of the writers involved, and especially the titles of their stories, brings it that much closer to tangibility.
Short of actually holding the book in your hand, the two things that make it seem like it’s actually, truly going to be a real book are, 1) reading an electronic proof of the complete, edited text, and 2) seeing photos of the actual book in proof form.
I’ve had the ebook version of The Children of Old Leech for a few days now, and I’m about halfway through the book. So far, every story I’ve read is somewhere between very good and fantastic. I love the wide variety of styles and approaches taken by the different writers.
And as for seeing a copy of the actual book, we’re not quite to the final stage in the “it’s a real book” progression, but yesterday co-editor Ross E. Lockhart posted this:
I love the cover design by Matthew Revert. The concept was clear from looking at digital art, but the intended sense of a real, old tome of worn leather really comes across when you see it like this.