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


Anonymous said...

Good......take a look at Tourist Information Guide

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sometimes we don't see the obvious!

L. Diane Wolfe

Chester Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chester Campbell said...

Hi, Manish, you need to add something to your profile. The Tourist Information Guide looks nice.

Diane, I think the obvious part of this story is when B&N speaks, publishers listen.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I'd say it's nice that at least they showed some interest!

Jane Kennedy Sutton