Wednesday, July 19, 2006
MEETING READER EXPECTATIONS -- OR NOT
Recently someone posted a review of my April release, TALK GERTIE TO ME, on Amazon. She titled it TALK DISAPPOINTING TO ME. Why? I hadn’t met her expectations as a reader. “Contemporary Romance” is printed on the spine of my book. The back cover copy emphasizes the romance that takes place between one of the main characters and what is actually a secondary character in the book. The reader expected a romance. What she got was women’s fiction with a chick lit edge to it. She was disappointed. I understand; I don’t blame her.
TALK GERTIE TO ME isn’t a romance. The two main characters in the book are not the hero and heroine but a mother and daughter. There is romance in the book. Actually, there are two romances, one that involves the mother and the other that involves the daughter, but the romances are subplots. The main story is about the relationship between the mother and daughter. It’s a comical tale of the tug-of-war that ensues when a daughter severs the apron strings and her mother is faced with empty nest syndrome.
So why is TALK GERTIE TO ME being sold as a romance? I can’t answer that. Authors, especially first time authors, have no control over the business decisions made by their publishers. I have to believe there were sound reasons behind my publisher’s decision to market my book as romance. And truthfully, I’m not sure it’s hurt sales. Overall, I’ve received wonderful reviews. The few that have been not so wonderful were all because I hadn’t met the readers’ expectations. They expected a romance. They wanted more Nori and Mac, less of Connie and her adventures in New York. And of the handful of negative reviews, all but one did like other aspects of the book. Even the author of TALK DISAPPOINTING TO ME gave me 3 out of 5 stars.
My next book isn’t due out until June 2007. LOVE, LIES & A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION is a romantic suspense. Unlike TALK GERTIE TO ME, I haven’t bent any rules or combined any genres or sub-genres. And the book is even written in 3rd person, not the double 1st person of TALK GERTIE TO ME. It’s just romantic suspense. No chick lit, no hen lit, no imaginary friends popping in with their nickel’s worth of snarky, unwanted advice. I hope I don’t disappoint any readers, but I probably will -- especially those who were expecting another book like TALK GERTIE TO ME. To them I say, you’ll have to wait for the sequel.
Posted by Lois Winston at 7:02 AM