Pub Rants

Laughing All The Way To The Bank

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STATUS: Chipper. I got an early start. Not to mention, late this afternoon I have my monthly massage scheduled. Blessed be all massage therapists!

What song is playing on the iPod right now? BRASS IN POCKET by The Pretenders (must be 70s week at the agency)

I love romance.

I love reading romance.

I love that I’ve been reading it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

I love that RWA publishes statistics like 40 to 45% of the profit in the publishing industry is generated by this genre sector. (I kid you not.)

I love that it’s mostly professional, college-educated women who read it.

I love it when reading snobs turn up their noses at stuff that’s “just” romance or chick lit so I can laugh all the way to the bank.

And I also love that we romance agents, readers, and writers can have a sense of humor and poke fun at ourselves (but woe to the misinformed idiot who pokes fun at us!).

Which is why I got a huge kick out of Bookseller Chick’s recent blog on the Top 10 Ways You Know You’re not a Romance Heroine if… Really, worth a visit and a good chuckle. Just don’t snort your coffee up your nose while reading. (I even blogged about number 9).

As always, there is a little lesson embedded here. Bookseller Chick points out these story lines because they’ve been done, and done again, and then done one more time. Just another reason you need to think about putting a really new and fresh spin on your story if you write romance.

A couple of months ago, some agent friends and I were passing around the link for Longmire does Romance Novels.

Put your coffee down before clicking this link. Seriously, put it down. I laughed so hard, I couldn’t remain seated. (LORD OF THE TUBE SOCKS is probably my favorite but my, there are a couple of close seconds.)

Publishing houses always have good intentions when it comes to book covers. They are in tune with the market. Obviously they’ve gotten good responses (as in sales numbers) to certain covers so why mess with a good thing? But sometimes, despite our best intentions, there is such a thing as good cover ideas gone bad (and of course, Longmire pokes some good fun with their re-titling when that happens).

Don’t blame the authors either! They often don’t get a say (and certainly not approval) on the final cover. If you are the proud author of one of these covers, please know that I’m laughing with you—not at you. If you’re a publishing author with good covers, don’t be smug. Eventually you’ll suffer a bad cover that you’d love to re-title yourself.

19 Responses

  1. Bruno said:

    Ok, I don’t read or write romance, and I’m still snorting my Aquafina. Some of those are killer.

  2. Laurel Amberdine said:

    I might be a romance heroine. I said yes to three. No, I’m not saying which ones!

    Looking forward to that happy ending now. Not so sure about the, uh, Man-Titty Galore. Hrmn.

    The covers made me cry with laughter.

  3. Anonymous said:

    I think this post could apply to a lot of genre fiction that you read, but that are not “popular” among agents. Hey, we may not be chic and sophisticated (to them) but the public loves us and that’s what is important. I would much rather impress the public than just an agent. . . course then there’s that little problem of having to impress and agent BEFORE you can impress the public, but hey.:):)

  4. Elektra said:

    I was on an interview with someone in the publishing industry (an agent, as a matter of fact), and said that I really enjoyed reading chick-lit. She turned cold faster than a hummingbird in Antartica, and patronized me the remainder of the interview

  5. Stephanie said:

    That is hilarious! That “Scottie McMullet” looks scarily like a guy who used to drive around our neighborhood in his trans-am when I was in 8th grade. Thanks, Kristin!

  6. David the Multi-tasked said:

    What is sad about this is what I got out of it…….inspiration. Yasee the big hairy guy here has a kilt from his stint in the Highland Games….and I am also a professional photographer. Add those two things together and a total lack of self respect and we may see a home brewed cover…… be afraid.

  7. Bookseller Chick said:

    Glad you found it amusing (I love Longmire, too) and shared the list with others. I’ve really enjoy your blog, and number ten was sparked by your early entry. It’s something I’ve always wondered about.

    You have quite the following, I couldn’t believe how many people came to visit via the link.

  8. December Quinn said:

    Oh, I love those Longmire Covers! My favorite, I think, is Scottie McMullet.

    And thank the Gods, none of the Top Ten list are in any of my books or WIPs. Yay me!

  9. Anonymous said:

    About book covers. It is even worse when they are supposed to be serious. I think Triskelion (e-publisher) has some of the cheesiest covers I have ever seen. Plus, they look cheap. I could copy and paste better looking covers than the ones I see on their web-site.

  10. Jaye Patrick said:

    My favourite has to be the Merfarts one, if only because that’s the one that turned my coffee into an inhalant. I doubt the keyboard will ever be the same. At least with all that caffeine, the keys’ll be moving faster!

  11. pennyoz said:

    I know an author, who is also an illustrator, very funny man, who was once in advertising – as a lot of funny people seem to be. He had a brief. An ad for a famous personal mosquito and fly spray. They sat around lounging in their chairs. Mulling, mulling. But absolutely no ideas. They went to the pub. Sat late into the night. No ideas. Absolutely nothing they could think of slightly funny or inspiring about the famous brand personal fly spray.
    At the end of the evening. They went their separate ways. “Anyhow ‘ave a good weegend,”
    they all wished each other.
    It was the perfect end to an evening. What better way can you have a better weekend playing golf, tennis or barbecue… other than

    But what, you ask has this got to do with book covers and the perfect heroine… nothing other than,

    think of the illustrator’s nightmare brief.

    Romance – means girl/boy…
    it means love…
    it means you gotta put on the cover something scintillatingly original …
    So you paint a guy who looks like a squirrel’s winter store cupboard.
    And a woman who looks up at him like “Eeek! It’s got eyes too!”

    Covers are horrible things. They make promises they have to either keep up with or lie about. For instance, there is nothing worse than a cover which is better than the contents. Or vice versa.

    Question is…
    If they put Woody Allen types on the cover leaning hungrily over a love-hungry feral woman, would it sell the book?…

    Maybe. The movies do okay.