Saturday, 21 June 2014

Book Covers and Novels in the PInk.

At my Middlesbrough workshop last week (great venue; lovely  writers) the perceptive Lorraine said to me, 'All your books are different from each other aren't they, Wendy? They all look different.' She paused.'When I have enjoyed one novel I like to move onto something similar. I can't tell whether yours are similar or not.'

She has a pint. You can see that each novel looks different from the books illustrated here on the right hand sidebar.

I didn't have time to tell Lorraine that in one way - the style, the attitude, the sense of character, the sense of history - my novels must indeed be similar. I love my characters; they are all original and live for and with me. And - without  necessarily intending to - I demonstrate my preoccupation with  recurring issues of identity, justice and the impact of history on the individual. And  creative, deeply characterful women and men are often at the  centre of my stories.

Though each book appears to be different  I feel that, if a reader has enjoyed one of them, it is very likely that they will enjoy another. I am asking them to trust my name as a good storyteller.

But Lorraine certainly hit a chord. I find myself these days to be  on a one  woman campaign against the fashion in  pre-digested literature and the  commodification of writers and their novels.

Pre-digested? Commodification? In this today I find myself very much in tune a great article on the Guardian Book Page**

'...the market is increasingly being shaped by sales and marketing people, rather than editors and others who actually know what a good book is. So if a book does well, during the next two years you'll see many echoes of that book on the shelves. The once kaleidoscopic book world risks becoming 50 shades of safe. If you are writing a book that doesn't fit into the categories of mass-market thriller or book-club friendly WI-lit, then it is going to struggle to find a publisher. If it does so, then it will struggle to find a publisher that can justify spending the marketing money needed to make an impact...'

So I will continue to write novels that - although written my me in my idiosyncratic  literary style - are different to each other and not pre-digested  so that my readers don't think they know the story before they have read it. My great ambition is that  each novel is a fresh experience, fresh fun, fresh insightt for my readers as it is for me. 

That being said perhaps there might be  something in what the marketeers say about covers!

  I noticed that at this same workshop the novel of mine  most picked up and most bought was Journey To Moscow,  which has a distinctive pink cover -

This made me think that if I made all my covers pink then in that way they would look somewhat alike and would encourage readers like Lorraine to trust me and read another novel of mine.

So here is an experiment. I've had mocked up a pink version of my novel Gabriel Marchant, originally in grey Here they are., Does the pink version make it seem more fun (it is fun)) and/or more accessible?

Are you attracted to this?

Or this?

Or does the colour of the cover make no difference at all? Let me know. I would value your opinion WX


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