Today I’m at the OWFI WRITERS CONFERENCE where I’ll be speaking and signing books–and for the first time showing the world the UPDATED COVERS for my suspense/thrillers LOST AND FOUND and HIDE AND SEEK.
I love the new look! What do you think? The third book in the series, SHOW AND TELL follows this new theme. Stay tuned for that cover reveal soon, with another NAME THAT DOG/NAME THAT CAT contest for the animal characters. While all three books are pet-centric with an animal behaviorist hero and service dog viewpoint, my editor and publisher and I believe these new covers will appeal beyond dog and cat loving audience. The timing is good, too, right before the third book comes out.
Many of y’all know that I’ve been in the process of updating the nonfiction book covers–you can see them in the sidebar over there on the right—->. They needed it; styles change, and some of the covers just didn’t look as good as they could, especially the print versions.
But the facelift happened sooner rather than later because of a situation from a couple of weeks ago specific to my HIDE AND SEEK “old cover.” This situation was hurtful, embarrassed and insulted me and my publisher and also angered me. I debated whether to talk about this publicly but…for many reasons, have decided to explain what happened. Scroll on down and I’ll give you the back story about why the covers have been changed.
I very much liked the “old” covers of my suspense novels. My editor and I went through dozens of versions and even asked Facebook friends for input. Both of the old version of the covers featured a dog–a real life dog that I know–as the “cover model” and it was great fun to highlight that wonderful canine. The HIDE AND SEEK cover also included a cat, because–well, that’s intrinsic to the story and readers demanded it!
Yes, I listen to readers. I feel like we’re business partners so I want y’all to be happy.
So I hope you’ll understand why the pictures of the dog viewpoint character Shadow and the Maine Coon cat Macy have been removed to give the covers a more suspenseful look. You see, covers that feature dogs and cats tend to be thought of as more “cozy mysteries” and…well, these ain’t cozy and tend toward the thriller realm.
BULLIES & WRITERS
I’ve been fortunate in reviews of my books–I know other authors have had issues with “bullies” so it was a new experience for me. Here’s what happened.
My cover (old version) of HIDE AND SEEK was anonymously sent to an online “shame” site that invited anyone to make fun of poorly designed book covers. Now, I’ve been in this writing and publishing game for longer than I care to say, and to survive you need a bit of a thick skin. Having one of my books called a “kindle cover disaster” felt personal, for reasons I’ll explain below. Further, while other covers/comments did poke fun, with my book the submitter described the title font in decidedly unsavory, even lewd tones.
Really? Someone felt that strongly about a font on my book that they felt compelled to make rude comments and invite others to join in–and boy, did they join in! As a result, that “shaming” thread got shared all over the internet with my “terrible cover” headlining articles overseas, re-posted on blogs, and additional unkind references made to the wonderful, caring professional writer who shared a cover quote on the book, Dr. Lorie Huston, because of her association with the Cat Writers Association.
That’s not the first time that mention of CWA raised eyebrows. The organization has been around 20+ years and members must be published to qualify for membership. If you read cat books or articles or view cat videos or pictures, chances are the work comes from a CWA member.
At the time she gave me the endorsement, Dr. Lorie was president of our Cat Writers Association. So these comments hurt me more than anything others might say about the cover design, because Dr. Lorie passed away last year. The CWA website got nearly 300 “hits” as a result, with people making fun of her, the organization, my cover, and then were vastly disappointed that it wasn’t the cats writing the books. 🙂 Nope, the cats (and dogs) just inspire the work. Don’t tell my furry crew, they truly believe they are the authors!
What flabbergasted me was Dr. Lorie’s quote only appeared on the cover of my book prior to the book’s release. It had been moved to the BACK of the cover after the wonderful J.T. Ellison also offered an endorsement, which you can see on the new cover, above, as well.
People must have way too much time on their hands. Yes, it hurt and it still hurts. And it makes me also hurt for the dozens of others listed in that shame-posting who maybe had published their one-and-only book, and now will never take that chance again.
Were some of the posts and comments funny? Well, yes. One fellow actually loved the attention and sold a bunch of books, declaring his cover was supposed to be funny–so good for him!
Was my book cover terrible? I don’t think so but it could have been better–and now it is vastly improved to fit in the mystery/suspense genre. So in a way, whoever wanted to hurt me actually provided a great service. So whoever you are, thank you.
I hadn’t planned to say anything, because frankly, it’s still embarrassing to know that there was probably truth in the criticism. Authors and even editors and publishers may be too close to see such things–I’ve learned a valuable lesson.
And I’m done crying, done with red-face hurt, and done with the anger. I’m revealing more than new covers here because 1) this is part of the biz so I gotta own it, 2) newer writers need to know this crappiocca happens to EVERYONE, and 3) I hate letting bullies win.
Besides, as they say, there’s no such thing as “bad publicity” only “publicity” so maybe it’ll sell an extra book or three. 🙂
Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? Were they right? Did you make “lemonade?” Do tell!
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