The creation of a book cover is a collaboration of the author (most of whom claim their suggestions are ignored), the editor, art department and marketing. Sometimes things go wrong.
One of the most infamous cover calamities happened to Christina Dodd, author of Castle in the Air, an historical romance. The hero on the cover is standing behind the heroine in a lovely red gown, holding her with, um, all THREE of his arms. Amazing fellow!
Jill Marie Landis, who writes western historicals circa 1880, got an early peek at one of her covers. It featured a cabin in the woods with a TV antenna. Oophs! The publisher had to reprint ALL of the covers. Boy, was that an expensive mistake.
I think my cover for Big Sky Family is both appealing and charming; the colors are positively lovely. It’s hard to beat a cowboy hero (Arnie), the heroine’s young daughter (Torie) and a golden retriever (Sheila) for getting reader attention. But there’s just one small problem.
Arnie, our hero, is sitting on the porch steps. He’s a paraplegic. In every scene in the book he is sitting in a wheelchair (with the small exception of rounding up cattle on a specially equipped ATV).
I’m guessing, and I really don’t know, that marketing has ‘discovered’ that heroes portrayed in wheelchairs don’t sell. Okay, I really want to sell lots of copies of Big Sky Family.
But what will readers think when they get to page 10 and find Arnie in his wheelchair? Will they blame me for the misleading cover and write nasty notes? Ouch!
And what about readers who read Big Sky Reunion, a previous book which featured Arnie’s brother Daniel? Won’t they remember that Arnie was a paraplegic in that book? When they see the cover will they think he’s been cured? And write nasty notes? Oh dear . . .
So do you think marketing is right? Would you be more or less likely to buy a book with the hero on the cover in a wheelchair?
Let me know.
Big Sky Family, Love Inspired, available 10/19/2011
Written With Love, working title, Love Inspired, 10/2012
Books that leave you smiling by