A while back I read a book from an unfamiliar author that I had purchased from the bookstore. The blurb sounded interesting enough, and the cover looked good. It started off like your typical romance should: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl …
Boy doesn’t get girl.
What?! Can you believe my shock (and anger) when there wasn’t a happily ever after? Both characters were still very much alive, both pleasantly happy, but NOT together. Through some rash decisions made by the heroine because of where her priorities lay, and because of the hero’s willingness to show how much he loved her, a decision was made by the hero that pretty much prevented him from her for the rest of her life. She has their baby (something she’d wanted from him) without him and reflects at the very end of the story about how much she wished it was possible for him to be there to see the child grow up, but she couldn’t wait to reunite with him in the afterlife. Mind you, he’s not dead but because of what had transpired, her death would be the only way they’d reunite. The end.
You should have seen me. I was quite livid. I was expecting a romance – definition: happily ever after – because the book had been marketed as a romance and was sitting in the romance section of the bookstore. Had it been marketed as a women’s fiction, I could have accepted the ending. But it wasn’t, and I couldn’t.
Well, two weeks ago, I was at another bookstore and guess what? I saw the same book in the fiction section. Not romance, but fiction! Which got me started on this rant again.
I don’t blame the poor author for writing the book the way it was written. It’s a perfectly fine book. I blame the publisher and marketing department for mis-marketing (is that even a word?) the book. When I read a romance, I expect a happily ever after. When I read women’s fiction, I expect a satisfying ending to the heroine’s journey and know that she may or may not be with the guy at the end. So because of bad marketing decisions made by the publisher (which was out of the author’s hands), they’ve completely turned an unsuspecting reader against the author and her book. Which got me thinking …
How does an author cope with something like that? How do you make the best of things from something that was out of your powers to fix or from something that you had very little say in? More authors face this problem than we care to admit. The majority of authors have very little say in the cover art or how the book is marketed and what happens after the books hit the bookstores. And the sad truth is that these things that the author have so little say in are the things that could hurt an author’s sales the most.
Just something to think about.