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[Synchronicity--CNN is talking about book covers today, too! ] As we all know, I am endlessly fascinated by book cover art. I’ve talked about it here, and here, too. A story in Publishers Weekly illustrates the power of a great package. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosney was one of my favorite books of 2008. The novel garnered rave reviews, incredible word-of-mouth, excellent foreign sales…and a disappointing sale of 6000 copies in the US. Guess why?
Need I say more? Where do I begin? With the pale re-use of an iconic image from a previous bestseller?
With the undistinguished font? The murky colors? The ambiguous imagery and mixed message? No wonder readers overlooked this poor book. A wonderful novel deserves better, don’t you think?
But this is why I love book people. When their passion for a project kicks in, they’re willing to regroup and try again. According to Publishers Weekly, the book’s publisher stepped in and had the book repackaged in trade paperback format, with a well thought-out and intriguing new cover and an irresistible blurb from Augustin Burroughs. Oh, and a new price point, don’t forget that. The result? Sales leaped up to 185,000 (and counting)–making this book a legitimate bestseller and giving the author the happy ending she deserves.
Soooo…I will try to post my summer reading here, but I’m very lazy about broadcasting what I’m reading, because I read so much!
But this is a novel you won’t want to miss. Heartbreak and redemption and a little-known (to Americans) bit of WWII horror. A must for book clubs!
I love having company. Especially when it’s Isabel Swift, one of Harlequin’s top executives. She was in Seattle so we got to hang out for a while, talking business and books. We brainstormed some ideas, had an amazing meal and caught up. She’s definitely on the fun side of publishing.
Go read her blog. You’ll learn a lot.
…And the same week, Deeanne Gist, a Christy-award-winning author and friend from waaaay back took a break from her book-research trip to stop by. I first met Dee a hundred years ago when I was new and she was just getting started. I knew she would publish her novels one day. How? Commitment. She had four small children, but she went to the RWA conference in New York, bringing peanut butter and crackers in her luggage in order to make the trip affordable. Would you do it? Leave your family and subsist on peanut butter in order to meet the people who will help you get published? Sometimes, that’s what it takes. Now Dee has published numerous books, won a major award and the kids are in high school and college, one of them about to be married. A writer knows how to make her own happy ending.