I’m thrilled to have the extraordinary Monica Burns guest blogging here today! Not only is she providing fabulous information on a few key marketing elements of paranormal romance novels (and books in general)- she and her publisher, Berkley Sensation, are giving away a copy of Assassin’s Heart! (The cover alone gives me a fever!) So please, leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you for mailing details if you’re the lucky winner!
Now, without further ado…Heeere’s Monica!
Hi everyone, I’m happy to be here chatting books on Regan’s blog. Regan and I met in St. Louis several years ago at an RT convention. We sat across the aisle from each other at the book signing, throwing candy back and forth at each other. Or maybe it was one way with me feeding Regan because she hadn’t eaten, I think! LOL Anyway, so when she invited me to blog I thrilled and honored by her request. So thanks to her for the invite as I’m really happy to be posting on her blog about my newest release in the Order of the Sicari series, Assassin’s Heart.
I didn’t want to do just another blog about Assassin’s Heart or why I’d like you to buy the book. I thought it might be fun to talk titles, covers, and blurbs. These are three of the most powerful marketing tools publishers and authors have when it comes to selling a book. Each one is designed to entice a reader into buying the book. More specifically, a book by an author the reader is unfamiliar with. If a reader isn’t intrigued by all three of these tools to at least pick up the book and skim the first few pages (OR for those of you naughty enough – the last few pages), then the moment of opportunity has passed, and it’s doubtful the book will sell to readers who aren’t familiar with the author.
So let’s take a look at what goes into those three elements. First the cover—note the cover of Assassin’s Heart here. It’s got a hot looking hero, wearing a seductive red shirt, and in the background you’ve got an ancient temple and a stormy looking background. This cover says I’ve got a hot hero, pick me up, and read my back cover. The cover also hints at the ancient Rome theme running through in the book as the richness of the red is like the color the ancient Roman soldiers used for their ceremonial dress uniforms. It’s subtle, but these things connect with the brain whether we realize it or not.
Now the title—Assassin’s Heart. It says Hot hero who’s a bad boy (Assassin) who has a heart and because it’s a romance, he’s going to lose his heart and be redeemed. The title also draws in the reader because heart equates to love, and even if the book looks unlike a typical romance, it still conveys the message that this is gonna be hot and romantic.
What about the back cover blurb— this is where the reader is supposed to be sucked in enough to either put the book in her TBB stack she’s carrying or at the very least convince the reader to open up the book and read the first few pages of the book. Below is the blurb for Assassin’s Heart.
The truth of the soul.
Lysander Condellarie never understood why he had telepathic and telekinetic powers until the night his Praetorian father tortured him and left him for dead. Now, the half-angelic, half-demonic face he sees in the mirror is a reminder of the monster he must keep hidden or face expulsion from the order of assassins know as the Sicari. But his dreams of Ancient Rome hint at a destiny he finds hard to accept, especially when it involves the woman he loves, but can never have.
The consequences of desire.
A gifted healer in the Order, Phaedra DeLuca witnessed her mother’s murder when she was just a little girl. The haunting memory makes her loathe everything Praetorian. When she travels to Rome in search of an ancient artifact, she must work alongside a man who once cruelly rejected her love and healing touch. But her dreams of Ancient Rome tell of an irreversible and possibly dangerous future. For the distant past and present are about to collide–with the one man she is destined to love.
The blurb above is designed to intrigue the reader, make the potential buyer ask questions, pique their interest so they have to know more. I generally write my own blurbs, and then Berkley’s marketing department modifies them slightly. They do those bolded tags though, I’m lousy at those. However, my blurbs are pretty tight and concise. In other words, what you read in the blurb is pretty much exactly what you’re going to get in the book.
The interesting thing is, most authors generally have little involvement with the creation of these marketing tools (although more and more authors do seem to be writing the blurb copy. We know the book well, so that makes sense). With all of my publishers I’ve provided some form of an art sheet that outlines physical details for the characters and maybe a scene from the book to give the art department something to use for the actual setting. I get the cover sometime later with just that input. Personally, I believe I’ve been blessed with great covers starting with my very first cover at New Concepts Publishing. My Berkley covers are do die for. They just keep getting better and better.
The NCP cover for Obsession is has always been one of my all-time favorite covers, it’s hot, sexy and yet tasteful. But it’s now been supplanted by Pleasure Me, the cover for my February historical. The whole mood of that cover screams sinful, delicious, and promises a hero who is eager to please and yet isn’t going to let the heroine get away with controlling him (note how he’s holding her down with one hand??? OMG – LOVE IT!)
With my titles I’ve had full control of what to name my stories until Berkley. Kismet is the only one so far that I came up with on my own and they used. For all my other books, I’ve submitted a slew suggestions to my wonderful editor, and she’ll pick out a few that might work, which we then chat about in emails back and forth. She’s got a terrific feel for what works best with my books, and I love the way every title meshes well with the book.
When it comes to my book blurbs, I tend to have a knack for cover blurbs. When I create a proposal, I build the cover blurb first and then expand on that blurb in my synopsis and then I write the book. The cover blurb is pretty strong, and to date, Berkley has used every one I’ve written with some minor changes to a couple of lines in the copy. But as I said before the tag lines they develop. I do tend to be the exception to the rule when it comes to cover blurbs as most authors I know offer up something, but the copy edit department rewrites what they submit.
So this is the pretty much the way authors are involved in the creation of titles, blurbs, and covers. It will depend on the publisher, the author and a host of other factors as to how much, if any, input an author has on their book’s marketing. I will say that the marketing departments generally know what works in terms of readers tastes. When I first saw the cover to Assassin’s Heart I hated it. I thought the green was a terrible color, and they didn’t show any of Lysander’s scars. Not even his eye patch!!! The cover didn’t look like I’d envisioned Lysander at all. Then I showed the cover to a few readers and they went ga-ga over the cover. They thought it incredibly hot. Clearly I didn’t know as much as I thought when it comes to marketing a book. I’m looking forward to seeing how well Assassin’s Heart flies off the shelves.
What prompts you to pull a book off the shelf at the store? What generally convinces you to buy the book if you’ve never read the author before?
Leave your answer or comment (with your email address) for a chance to win a copy of Assassin’s Heart!
p.s. Don’t miss this fabulous book trailer for Assassin’s Heart!