Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Misconceptions and Wrong Conclusions

Recently I put my book Heart of the Wild up at Amazon, and offered it as a free read since I have another book, Sweeter Than Wine in the series and even another on the way to publication. Nothing strange about that. However, Heart of the Wild is a contemporary romance which I have labeled as such, and marketed as such for years.

Originally, Heart of the Wild was e-published by Writers Exchange Publishing.  It was marketed, blurbed, and excerpted as a contemporary romance. However, when designing the cover, I chose to put a bear on the cover. Now my reasoning since I'm the author was to make people aware of a character in the book, a rogue bear. The bear is important to the story as it bonds the hero and heroine together in their mutual love and respect for animals. So, Ole Blue, was a important character in the book and I truly expected people to follow this line of thinking when I wrote it some years ago.

But to my shock, recently a reader put a review up that astonished me. The first words of the review was, "This is NOT a shape-shifter book." Well, hello, I never advertised that it was, this was a foregone conclusion on the readers part that because it had a bear on it, it was a shape-shifter book. So alas, the reader was disappointed.

Perhaps I should never included the bear as a character or displayed him as one on the cover. But the cover was designed years ago when Shape shifter books were not as prevalent as they are now.

The blurb, the excerpt, the ads, nothing led anyone to believe it was a shape shifter book, it had never been categorized into the shape shifter genre. But because of the cover, which was an expensive cover and worked on extensively, had a bear on it, the reader misinterpreted it.

So now I warn you all. Be careful how you represent your book. Now days in the book world as authors we have to write the book, format the book, have it edited, and market the book ourselves in self publishing. We cannot out guess our readers and their expectations. We can only put together the best book we know how. It's a hard job getting a book out that everyone will love and pleasing the many hungry appetities of our readers. As a writer I can tell you I strive to bring quality reading with an uplifting story to you.

I am considering a new cover for Heart of the Wild, even though this particular cover took much work, money and thought, it is now misleading my audience, I'm thinking of changing it. My hero is a true Native American which I hunted for some time to find. Most females agree he's a hunk. But I'd like your imput. Should I change this cover? Let me know!


Tina Donahue said...

I wouldn't worry about one reviewer's comment, Rita. That's why we classify romance according to genres so that even if the cover was blank, a reader/reviewer would know whether they're reading a vampire tale or a romantic comedy, etc.

I think your cover is beautiful and I'd leave it just as it is.

remyshann said...

Since you mentioned the shapeshifter thing, along with the title of the book, I guess I can see it, but I never would have thought of that if you hadn't mentioned it. It's a lovely cover and handsome model. People need to read before they buy! I say, don't change!

Brandi Quick said...

Good cover

Redameter said...

Thanks Tina and Remyshann I felt I was misleading the reader, but this was not my intention since I've had the cover through seveal e-publishers and now self published. But I just saw another author comment that their cover was attacked by the reader too.

Should we as authors worry over how they feel about our covers? Should we change for the few to please the many?

This cover, no joke cost me $300. I played with it, adding the bear and the girl to add interest and to emphasize the fact that the bear was a character in the book.
The reader said silch about the bear in the book. Wow, I thought he was worth mentioning. I thought everyone would love the old bear.

True, we can't please all our readers at once. And also true the reader should read the blurb and know what genre it is advertised as before they buy it.

I loved this cover because i put so much work and money into it. I put forth an effort to find just the right guy for the cover too, hours of research on that one.

Readers can sure hurt your feelings.


LOve and blessings

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't change it either. No matter how you present it, you are bound to get someone who bought without paying attention to something. I write for a "clean romance" publishing house and one reviewer read one of my novels and actually wrote something along the lines of thinking the book could use a little more heat but then she realized she'd reviewed other books from that press and it was a press specializing in clean reading. The rest of the review (on a novel that consistently gets 4-5 star ratings) was lost in that statement. Now I make certain when I sent out arc's that the books are labeled as G/PG reads, but that makes me feel like I'm apologizing. I like your cover and I never would have thought it was about shape shifters. I have friends who are Native American and the bear is a powerful symbol just for itself. Keep the cover!

Kathleen O said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with the cover.. It is fine the way it is.. If it has been sold out at e-publishers, then there you have your answer... The guy on the cover might not be some peoples taste, but it is still a nice cover...

Renee Vincent said...

I wouldn't change it either. My friend (who is a Kensington author) had one reader give a review on her books and didn't even get the heroes name right. Wasn't just spelled wrong, it was a whole different name all togther. So sometimes, it's not that reader was mislead by your book...she may just be getting it confused with another. It happens.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I say keep the cover just as it is. The Native American theme comes through and the bear doesn't in the least make me think of a shape-shifter story. As a writer, you know there is always somebody out there who thinks some aberrant thought. Who knows what makes them come up with their ideas. Keep it, Rita.

Redameter said...

It seems that authors are strong about not changing to please others and I agree, but have to admit, that I thought about it. Esepecially the bear thing, but I love that bear. I have to say.

Thank you all for giving your opinions on this and I want to make everyone aware that I am not the only author that has had this problem and people saying things about covers that don't hold water.

But it is nice to hear opinions from people that are not bias about the subject. I appreciate everyone of you speaking up and speaking your mind about this.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Love and blessings

Kathy Otten said...

I vote keep the cover the way you have it. Shapeshifter books usually have darker, more brooding element to the color and design of the cover. Your hero has a big smile and is wearing contemporary clothing. The bear photo is nice and sunny and if I picked it up I would assume he had something to do with the story. And really, who buys a book based on the cover alone. They're designed to intice the reader to pick it up, turn it over and read the blurb.
Keep it. It's really nice.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Please don't change the cover.
I snatched your book up so fast it wasn't even funny the second I saw it was available.*S* I got it on the 8th of last month, but haven't had the chance to read it yet. I honestly bought it because 1) because you wrote it, 2) and second the cover drew me because it has a bear on the cover. I love bear second only to wolves, and I'm not talking about shifter stories either. That's why I used a wolf for my logo for 12 years.
The cover is a beautiful representation of what your story is about. I love all stories that include animals no matter the genre, and I do love paranormal wolf shifter stories too. I showed the cover to my hubby who is my own personal "Grizz", plus he is a huge bear lover....*S* He loved the cover. The first thing asked was if the story takes place in Alaska.
My first thought when I saw the cover without reading anything was cool. It must mean that the story has something to do with a bear too. I never even connected it to a shifter story at all, and I hadn't even read the blurb or excerpts yet.
Perhaps the reader was more interested in shifter stories herself, and that was her perception and not other readers.It is a beautiful cover and I hope you won't change it.....*S*

Redameter said...

You guys are awesome. Well, I have always liked this cover, that's why I've had this one so long, like ten years.

Some people don't realize how much time and effort you put into something like this. Covers aren't always handed to you on a silver platter. This took a lot of research for me to find the guy. And I had the bear and girl already. The girl looked like the Kasie I described, and the bear was what i thought completed the pic.

Thanks, Kathleen, Sarah, Brandi,Rene and Kathy and Kay. I repsect my fellow wwriters opinions.

The reader didn't read anything of the blurb or excerpt or ads because it has always been a contemp. and proudly so. But isn't it interesting what some think and say.

I did not want to mis-represent the book, trying to ride sales on a shape-shifter. For one thing, I don't know if shape-shifter books sell well at all. And I'd never write one as I don't have a flair for that.

We tell ourselves that people don't buy the book because of the covers, but I think a lot of people do, and strangely they don't read the blurb or excerpts to find out if they might like it.

What is even funnier, this book was offered free. Why would anyone complain about a freebie? Now if they paid for it, I might understand. Just goes to show some people will gripe about anything. LOL

Guys I do appreciate your imput. To keep our sanity sometimes we have to talk and compare with our friends to see both sides of a coin. thank you for the unending support and for the honest answers.

Love and blessings

Redameter said...

Pommawolf that is so sweet of you and I'm so glad you showed it to your husband who has to be a unbiased by standere there.

No, you ladies have convinced me not to change it. I wear my feeling on my sleeves sometimes when it comes to my work and my covers. A lot of them I either paid a big price for, worked on them myself, or hand picked them and they mean a lot to me. Covers are important to me,as it is the first thing anyone sees about your book. So it has to be special.

This cover was so hand picked and done that I felt I just did a bad job. They called it "cheezy" what does that mean? Agreed, I'm not a cover artist. But the heartfelt work I put into this cover took me ages of time and lots of work when I knew nothing of paint shop pro. I wanted the girl to look like she was in his heart, which she is. I wanted the bear to announce himself as part of their coming together. Because the bear was a common bond for them, they both love animals and nature.

The Native American was very hard to find. He has such a beautiful smile and who could resist him? When I finaly found him, I sweat tears paying for him. Buying him in a time in life when I couldn't afford to pay the electric bill, but I did it. Talk about blood, sweat and tears. Bless my poor husband's heart, he was always so understanding about these things. He was an artist too.

When you get a cover, you want it to convey the important aspects of the book. It never once dawned on me that anyone would connect it with shape-shifters. But I know nothing of writing those stories.

I have decided because not one of you think I should change it, that I won't. We have to be true to ourselves and this is what I saw in the book, a beautiful Native American, a beautiful girl, and an equally beautiful bear. I couldn't not have him. But my weak moment came when I asked myself if I was giving off the wrong impression.

WE can't be Gods, we can only portray what we create. God created the bear, and he is a beautiful creature of nature. I so want him on my cover.

Thanks and God bless

Delaney Diamond said...

I don't think you should change it. I've seen your cover before and never once thought it was a shapeshifter.

Readers make mistakes all the time when they rely only on the covers. I've seen other readers on Amazon bash readers who get it wrong, so don't sweat it.

jean hart stewart said...

One bad comment is nothing to worry about. I think the cover is lovely and I like the hunky hero.
good job all around. Jean

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Doing the Happy Dance...*S*
I am so happy your not changing the cover. It is so beautiful and I can't wait to read it. I'm bringing it up on my Kindle as soon as I finish posting this...*S*
Wishing you the best!
Just love you ladies as you write such great books!


Redameter said...

Darcy, Jean, Delaney, thank you for your comments.

Your hearfelt comments have helped me see that I'm not on the wrong track. But you know our job as writers isolates us so and sometimes we doubt ourselves and all we do. To get feedback from others is important in times like these.

All of you here have wanted me to keep the cover. All of you gave me your candid opinion and I appreciate it.

They say we have to be on top of all the things that change in our industry. That we have to keep up with the times. This cover is ten years old, but some things are timeless I guess. I will keep the cover and again thank you for letting me know your thoughts.

Love and blessings

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I'd keep the cover. Don't let one person make you doubt yourself. It's a lovely cover.

I wouldn't have thought it was a shifter tale at all. They're usually darker with brooding type men on the cover. lol