Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I believe today might be the day my novella, Love Potion #9, in BAD BOYS SOUTHERN STYLE begins hitting the stores. I say I believe, because although it has a July 6th pub date, if it were a Pocket Book, it'd be out now. The thing is, I know nothing about Brava's publishing/shipping schedule because I haven't let myself get at all caught up in the business end of this book. I wrote the story of a descendant of the Puritan judge who presided over the Salem witch trials falling in love with a practicing witch for Brava solely for a lark and the opportunity to work with the incomparable Kate Duffy. This is the sequel to Cajun Heat, in BAYOU BAD BOYS, and both experiences have been the most fun I've had in 23 years of publishing. I even love my cover. But there's one thing about it I just don't get.
Why doesn't the guy have a head? He's not alone. There's a plethora of characters appearing on books these days without heads. Is there a guillotine somewhere in New York I haven't heard about? Do models get paid less if their heads, and therefore their faces, aren't shown? Are publishers not showing faces because while they want people on the covers (as opposed to the jewel boxes, flowers, and landscape photos of the past) they don't want to risk readers complaining that "That's not what the hero looks like?"
Meanwhile, there are books out there featuring other disembodied parts. I'm convinced that if I'd written anything that had even the faintest resemblance to chick-lit, I'd have had a pair of legs ending in snazzy shoes on the cover rather than my headless hero.
Why is that? Because Sex and the City told a generation of New York editors and art directors that shoes are what every young woman lusts after? Given chick-lit's recent slump and the fact that my nail salon has, in the last year, gone from two pedicure chairs to eight, I have to wonder if all those sexy sandal covers didn't have more women thinking about getting their toenails polished than buying a book.
So, what catches your eye when you're browsing the racks? How important is a cover in your buying decision? And most importantly, do you prefer your heroes with heads? Or without?