Friday, September 05, 2008

A book by any other cover

This is so interesting that I just had to post on it. One of my favorite current authors, Deanna Raybourn, just posted images of new covers for her two books and third upcoming book.

You may remember this post where I mentioned that her first book, Silent in the Grave, was one I picked up solely based on its cover. (I've bought both of her books since then and eagerly await the third, Silent on the Moor, which is due out next March.) So I was understandably intrigued by the comments section under her blog posting of her new book covers.

Most of the commenters were kind, but basically none of them were crazy about the new covers. Though the covers are tasteful, they look more like regular romance novels than historical fiction. I have to say with all honesty that I'm not crazy about them either, simply because she's such a good author that her publishers shouldn't have tried to box her in like that, making her appear like she fits neatly into the romance category. In reality, her books span romance, mystery, historical and straight fiction categories, and they're GOOD. I haven't found many (any?) romance novels that feature quality writing like hers.

Deanna pointed out in her post that authors don't have much input on what the covers of their works should look like, and most of the decision making is done by marketing. They're trying to make the book appeal to the widest audience possible, which is understandable.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to receive criticism about your work, especially from your diehard fans about something over which you have no control. But maybe Deanna can take comfort in the knowledge that she's only receiving comments this impassioned because people actually are impassioned about her writing and feel such a strong kinship with her characters. She's a realtively newly published author, but already she has gathered a devoted, vocal following who truly care about her books. It must be upsetting and exhilarating.

I think, in the end, that must be a million times better than being an author who writes novels that no one cares about. I care, and I know those commenters and her thousands of other fans do, too. You go, Deanna. We love you.


Chad Aaron Sayban said...

I read that post and unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to comment before she turned off the comments for that post. I guess she had enough of it. I really loved the covers of her first two books. I thought they were so different - so eligant. Even so, I don't think the new covers are bad either. Either way, I'm more interested in the writing in her third book than in the cover. If any of her fans can't get past the cover, then maybe reading just isn't their thing. I've reviewed a lot of books over the years. I don't recall ever commenting on the cover of one of them. It's what is inside that really matters. Just the same, if I were her, I would at least pass the comments on to the marketing department of her publishers. At the very least, they should have to read them and deal with it, not just her.

Laura Weldon said...

I was blog surfing tonight and found myself here. Nice blog! And War Eagle! I'm an Auburn alumna too. And I'll be at the game tomorrow!

Deanna said...

Thanks, Anna Claire! Your enthusiasm always leaves me with a smile, and it's funny that you made precisely the same point another author did about a vocal following being a GOOD thing.

I did get a bit weary, Chad--if I'd known how many folks wanted to post nice comments I'd have left it open just to balance it out! I did get lots of supportive e-mails afterwards. I should have just told people if they didn't like the covers they ought to download the books on Kindle!

Anonymous said...

I actually did get soaked at the game, right before I left! I was with my MIL, and she usually leaves during the 3rd quarter anyway, so when the bottom fell out, she was outta there.

BTW--nice typewriter you've got up there! :)