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!