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Friday, March 1, 2013

DO YOU JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER?


We’ve all heard the old adage about judging a book by its cover. Do you? There are authors whose books I read regardless of the cover because I know they deliver the kind of book I love reading. But I admit the cover makes a lot of difference when I select a book by an author whose work I haven’t previously read.

That’s why my husband and I recently changed the cover for HAPPY IS THE BRIDE. This book is only 99 cents, and has sold well. We’ve never been happy with the cover, though. The old cover is a photo my husband took of an historic church near us that is now privately owned and still used for weddings. Recently, when looking for cover art for another book, I came across the perfect image for HAPPY IS THE BRIDE. You probably heard me yelling “Hooray” from wherever you live. ☺

New cover
The story is one I wrote when under contract to a major New York publisher. I was contracted to write a novella centered around a June wedding. No further instruction. I wrote a novella for this anthology, but the editor didn’t like it because it had murder and kidnapping in it. When I asked what she wanted instead, she said a historic wedding version of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Telling me this before I started writing would have been helpful, right?

For me, seeing a bride’s veil catch on fire or her falling into her wedding cake is so not funny. But, money is money and a contract is a contract, right? So I wrote the novella. But, taking a cure from Frank Sinatra, I told the story my way.

In my opinion, Beth Pendleton and Mason Whittaker make a wonderful couple. He has been in love with Beth all his life. She thinks of him as her best friend, like a brother. Brother? That’s not what he wants from her, but he’s willing to settle for her friendship. But are her feelings only friendship? 

This was a fun story to write. I asked friends for their wedding horror stories. Oh, my stars, some of the things people endured to please family and friends with a huge wedding! Many anecdotes, even though true, were unbelievable. 

You know what Tom Clancy said: “The difference between fiction and life is that fiction has to make sense.”

By the time the editor told me what she wanted, the deadline was only a few weeks away. I grew frantic. Never in my life had I been late for a deadline for newspaper stories or books. I had to come up with a new storyline, characters, and write quickly,

Friends at my Yellow Rose Romance Writers of America Chapter (especially Geri Foster and Brenda Chitwood) pitched in and helped me plot this book at our first annual retreat. That year we’d rented a house in Glen Rose, Texas and had a terrific weekend. I took the weirdest believable stories, added some fictional events, and wrote HAPPY IS THE BRIDE. I promise the less believable parts of the story are the true horrors shared by friends. Truth often is stranger than fiction.

Here’s a blub for HAPPY IS THE BRIDE:

Beth Pendleton is tired of the gossip her three failed engagements—each arranged by her pompous father—have created. She knows she’s not a jinx, an Ice Queen, a snob, or any of the other hurtful labels slapped on her. She takes food to the ill, serves the community in numerous ways, and is active in church. For her twenty-eight years she has tried to please her demanding parents. Neither her mother nor her father has ever had an encouraging word to say to her. Spiteful comments from her only cousin incite Beth to take charge of her fate. She proposes to Mason Whittaker, her lifelong friend and champion.

Mason Whittaker is a hero after any woman’s heart. Carrying on his father’s ranching tradition, he has strong family ties. Unlike Beth’s critical parents, Mason’s mother and father are loving and kind and he has a close knit extended family. As long as Mason can remember, he’s been in love with Beth. The only time he loses his temper is when he hears someone speak ill of her. But he’s learned to count to ten—or twenty—to curb his anger. He never believed he’d be able to marry her. Her proposal astonished and pleased him. But wait...did she mention love?

Will Mason marry Beth and put an end to the gossip? And what about that silly bet Beth made with Cousin Rachel that Beth would be wed by the end of June? What will Mason think if he learns of her impetuous gamble? But Beth’s bet is not the only hazard to their wedding. Murphy’s Law is working overtime as Beth and Mason battle outside forces to create their happily ever after.

The old cover - an historic
church near us still used for weddings
I hope that if you haven’t read this story, you’ll give it a try. HAPPY IS THE BRIDE is a comedy, but also is a sweet, heartwarming story. This time, we also released it in print at Amazon.


At Amazon it’s 99 cents for the e-book and $5.99 for print:


If you judge a book by its cover, I’m sad to say Kobo still shows the old cover, but the book is here:

Please let me know what you think of the new cover. Do you judge a book by its cover?

Thanks for stopping by!

5 comments:

  1. Oh, the new cover is GORGEOUS! I bet your sales zoom. Let us know, okay?

    I think it's good to take a look at existing books and see how to better their presentation in the market.

    Since I have a new book (Scents and Sensuality) coming out this week -- if this new sinus infection doesn't kill me first -- I had all my covers tweaked.

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  2. Hi Caroline, I changed the covers on four of my ebooks, and I did it three times on one particular book until I was pleased with the sales. Covers make a difference. Your new cover is so beautiful, no comparison with the previous one. I love the blurb of your new book, and will look for it.

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  3. You have lovely covers! I buy books by authors but I do love a cool cover.

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  4. I actually do judge a book by the cover somewhat. I changed the covers on my 99 cent books when I self-pubbed. Like them a lot better than the originals.

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  5. Definitely, Even, I found that interesting book covers had more coverage into them and it's certainly great to read them. So, I judge books by them covers.

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