Wednesday, March 11, 2009
How a Spanish castle got on the beach
In a blog at Kill Zone Authors, Cara Black questioned her publisher's publicity and marketing people on what they do. Among their replies was a note that one of their people meets with the distributor's sales staff to present their upcoming books. Sometimes the sales folks will suggest changes in a cover to make it more saleable.
It would be nice to have a publicity and marketing department to work with, but in my small press world those things don't exist. However, one of my covers did get an alteration thanks to a marketing guy at Barnes & Noble in New York.
It happened a few years ago when my publisher went along with the distributor’s rep to make a sales call. They had with them a sell sheet showing the cover for Designed to Kill, the second book in my Greg McKenzie mystery series. The design, shown above, depicts an elaborate picture frame with a painting (actually, a photograph) of a castle in Spain. A seal covering the lower right corner contains a nice blurb from New York Times bestseller Phillip Margolin.
I had found a photo of Castle Alcazar de Segovia on the internet and suggested if for use on the book cover. The artist came up with the idea of using it as a painting surrounded by flowery type.
The book's plot centers around a high-rise condo built on the beach at Perdido Key, Florida designed after a Spanish castle. When the Barnes & Noble marketing guy took at look at the picture, he said, "If it's in Florida, it has to have a beach."
The publisher went back home, contacted the artist, and had a small strip of sand and green water inserted. Barnes & Noble bought the book for its stores in the Southeast.
Just a small example of the power of chain booksellers in the publishing business. And it gave me a nice little story to tell when talking to book clubs or showing the book at a signing.
Read more about Designed to Kill