Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dilemma

Having a tasteful, cohesive look for your novel series is really an important aspect of marketing your books. I've been very fortunate with the Darkyn series cover art, and I've been able to contribute to the process by making suggestions, such as the deep violet color theme for Evermore's cover art and selecting and submitting the image used for the e-book cover art for Master of Shadows.

When I was sent the art for the seventh and final novel, Stay the Night, I considered it my favorite cover of the series. It was a little different than the other books, but the depiction of Robin of Locksley was just about perfect and the warm browns, ambers and violet color scheme fit in with the rest of the books. It was gorgeous, and no one could possibly screw it up.

Evidently that faint sobbing sound I heard while I was congratulating myself was actually Jesus, weeping.

The last digital version of the cover art I was sent about a month ago remained in the original colors. I didn't see the final edition cover art for Stay the Night until the day before yesterday, when a copy arrived for the holiday auction. I was expecting what I had been shown, but at some point during the production, someone in NY decided Robin of Locksley would look better depicted in pink.



Yes. You heard me. Pink. It's not just pink, either. It's bright, florescent, metallic pink, with no trace of any of the original colors.

I won't waste your time by describing my reaction (just imagine the biggest explosion you've ever heard, triple it, and you'll have the general idea.) Now I have to decide what to do about it.

Maybe you guys can help me. If this debacle was your headache, would you:

1) Spread a rumor that pink is the new black.

2) See if Mattel wants to consider the series as a possible Barbie franchise.

3) Weep until you rupture your tear ducts, go blind and don't have to look at the damn thing anymore.

4) Lie to all your readers and say that Robin is actually gay but you forgot to mention it in the novel.

5) Run around the U.S., buy all 50,000 copies, and burn them on the sidewalk in front of your publisher's headquarters.

5a) Run around the U.S., buy all 50,000 copies, and make the book #1 on the Times mass market bestseller list.

5b) Run around the U.S. with 50,000 paperback-size copies of the original cover art and a really big bottle of glue.

6) Send all of your readers a Pepto Bismol promo widget (tablet with instructions to chew it before they look at the cover.)

7) Apologize to the author of whatever book you considered to have the most inappropriate cover art you've ever seen.

8) See if any of the chicklit writers will help you promote the book.

9) Call the new color theme "rose" instead of "pink" and say Robin is depicted as "melanin-challenged" instead of "an albino."

10) Be thankful that whatever idiot did this to your book decided to use pink instead of jaundice yellow, which surely would have done you in once and for all.

11) See if Suzanne Brockmann can spare some of those happy face stickers she handed out to her readers when they screwed up one of her covers (also see if she has them in jumbo size.)

12) Deny you wrote the book at all. Blame it on Alison Kent and let her answer the angry hate-mail.

12a) I think Alison would do that for you.

12b) If she doesn't see the cover art first.

13) Hire Pink to write and perform a promotional theme song for the book.

14) Send all of your readers free sunglasses as holiday gifts, as they will definitely need them on January 6th.

15) Start wearing a pink T-Shirt that reads, "Six out of Seven Ain't Bad."

16) Hand out free copies of the book with a stick of bubble gum tucked inside.

17) Accept it, as the book is already shipping as you write this.

17a) Accept it means you can't go all anti-pink now just because some moron ruined your cover art.

17b) Publishing is publishing, and with the frequency with which they screw up eventually you'll have to live with only black and white.

17c) And stop thinking even that would be better than this cover, you ninny.

18) Tell the readers before the book hits the shelves because they should hear it from you instead of reading about it as the January feature story on CoverArtHatchetJobs.com.

19) Request the publisher use the original cover art for any future print runs without calling them all the names you're thinking in your head.

20) Burn a copy if it makes you feel better, take a deep breath, and move on.

What do you guys think?

100 comments:

  1. *HUGS* Oh honey...I have no words so I'll just pick through your suggestions and comment on them.

    I know Alison probably would help you. *WEG* I like the t-shirt idea and the pepto bismal thing might work. I still want the t-shirt...

    I really don't know why they went with that color...No idea at all...

    Wow. *hugs again*

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  2. I'd go with a Triple Play: 17b, 19 and 20. Oh, and throw in an appletini for good measure!

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  3. You forgot making it known that Robin is so manly he can wear pink with impunity.

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  4. Oh, and I forgot to mention that you should also run out and read Charles Sheffield's "Fifteen Love on a Dead Man's Chest" in Georgia On My Mind and Other Places. Two reasons. One, a hideous hot-pink tennis outfit takes a center role, and this is one of the funniest damned stories I've ever read and it will put you in a good mood if nothing else. Seriously.

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  5. Pink is very metrosexual nowadays. It's ok for guys to be in pink. And it looks so *pretty* betwixt all the purples, blues, teals, and golds of the other covers.

    Play it off like the cover is how you intended it to be all along, and how dare anyone utter a word otherwise.

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  6. From your suggestions...13) Hire Pink to write and perform a promotional theme song for the book.

    My own idea, pull out the Patron, and drink until you pass out and can;t see the cover anymore. Maybe when you wake up you'll find it was all a nightmare?


    *hug* I'm looking forward to the book anyway.

    I'll just put a brown paper cover jacket on it.

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  7. That's... horrific. :(

    OK, so I hate pink. I'm a goth, this is no surprise. But that just does not go along with the story, nor the rest of the books covers.

    I'm not sure what to suggest. Can you complain to your agent about it and see if s/he has any ideas of what could be done, if anything?

    If you were a debut author, I'd be concerned about the cover hurting sales because of turning off readers. (Pink... is not exactly a hero color.) You're well known enough, though, that I think there's plenty of people that will buy it because they love your stories.

    I hope you can get something positive sorted out with this. It' just dreadful.

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  8. I'd call it Fuschia Light, like Bud Light.

    Or you can throw in pink lingerie. ha ha

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  9. Relax. His eye is still blue. He's still gorgeous. It's not like they made him into a transvestite dolphin or anything.

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  10. Oh, it really isn't so bad! The metallic pink lends a surrealistic quality, which might well add atmosphere and an additional layer to the feeling of...of...
    Ok, I'm not that good a liar.
    No they didn't! (sob!).

    I'll have to go with 3, 11, and 19.

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  11. 5b combined with 19 & 20?

    I wish I could say it doesn't look awful. But it does.

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  12. I'd happily go for 5b (Run around the U.S. with 50,000 paperback-size copies of the original cover art and a really big bottle of glue), though I think 10 would be healthier.

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  13. I'll have to say 10, 19 and 20.

    I can't believe you didn't have the final word on this. The original cover art looks so much better - and I'm a pink lover, so there.

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  14. But, PBW...pink is so you... (okay, I'm gonna go run and hide now)

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  15. Find out who was responsible for the change and introduce them to the concept of "workplace violence". I'd recommend a Glock.

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  16. Dawn wrote: *HUGS* Oh honey...

    Thank you, lady. I need that to be the first comment. :)

    I know Alison probably would help you. *WEG* I like the t-shirt idea and the pepto bismal thing might work. I still want the t-shirt...

    Alison would, for sure; she's that kind of friend. My son suggested I change the logo on the pink T-Shirt to read "If you think this looks bad on me, wait 'til you see my new book." Lol.

    I really don't know why they went with that color...No idea at all...

    My working theory is that they all went temporarily insane. It's the only explanation that makes sense at this point.

    Wow. *hugs again*

    Thank you again. I'm probably going to need more hugs in the weeks to come.

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  17. Bullish wrote: I'd go with a Triple Play: 17b, 19 and 20. Oh, and throw in an appletini for good measure!

    You know you're in trouble when your visitors suggest you start drinking, ha.

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  18. Di Francis wrote: You forgot making it known that Robin is so manly he can wear pink with impunity.

    That's a good one, Di. Or he's supporting breast cancer research. Hey, I could lie and say this is the "Find a Cure!" edition.

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  19. Di Francis wrote: Oh, and I forgot to mention that you should also run out and read Charles Sheffield's "Fifteen Love on a Dead Man's Chest" in Georgia On My Mind and Other Places. Two reasons. One, a hideous hot-pink tennis outfit takes a center role, and this is one of the funniest damned stories I've ever read and it will put you in a good mood if nothing else. Seriously.

    Honey, I need to laugh, seriously -- I'll be out shopping with my daughter and her BFF today, so I will definitely pick it up. Thanks for the rec. :)

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  20. Emmy wrote: Pink is very metrosexual nowadays. It's ok for guys to be in pink. And it looks so *pretty* betwixt all the purples, blues, teals, and golds of the other covers.

    Yes, I'm pretty sure I'll stand out, what with having the only fluffy pink dark fantasy novel in existence.

    Play it off like the cover is how you intended it to be all along, and how dare anyone utter a word otherwise.

    I thought about doing just that, but it's like the Emperor's New Clothes -- you can pretend he's not naked, or you can laugh and shout out the truth. I'm more comfortable with #2.

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  21. Sasha White wrote: From your suggestions...13) Hire Pink to write and perform a promotional theme song for the book.

    I wonder how much she charges...

    My own idea, pull out the Patron, and drink until you pass out and can;t see the cover anymore. Maybe when you wake up you'll find it was all a nightmare?

    Not a good idea with my meds; I'd probably wake up to find myself in jail facing charges of whatever you get for running naked through the streets.

    *hug* I'm looking forward to the book anyway. I'll just put a brown paper cover jacket on it.

    I would be eternally grateful. So will your corneas. :)

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  22. Awww, Lynn, that sucks! ((hugs))

    How about #21 - Attend this year's RWA Nationals a flamingo hat and day-glo t-shirt that says - Darkyn lovers do it in the pink! And make sure you bring 50 000 shiny metallic pink bookmarks!

    (made you laugh?)

    Know what? I know you're disappointed, but none of your fans care what shade the cover is, at this point you're a dusky-hued teflon. ;)

    I also like #13 (if you could swing it), and more practically #17a,b,c, #19, and #20--except with 20, I wouldn't burn it but do some interesting collage, or cutwork.

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  23. I'd probably try some version of 5b combined with 20.

    Maybe we could all recycle the leftover Christmas wrapping and shopping bags into creative "dust jackets" and then slip into book stores and cover the books. Bookstore owners would begin to notice the covers. Local media would pick up the story and soon it would go national. Think of the buzz it could generate for the book.

    If you do the Today Show I call shotgun. I looove Matt Lauer.

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  24. Nonny wrote: That's... horrific.

    But it's pretty. I'm clinging to that much.

    Can you complain to your agent about it and see if s/he has any ideas of what could be done, if anything?

    My agent was on the receiving end of my initial phone call about this, so as soon as her ear drums heal I know she'll get right on it.

    Seriously, there's really very little anyone can do, except cry.

    If you were a debut author, I'd be concerned about the cover hurting sales because of turning off readers. (Pink... is not exactly a hero color.) You're well known enough, though, that I think there's plenty of people that will buy it because they love your stories.

    Even though I've been around for a long time, I still have to be concerned about the impact this cover will have on my sales. I'd say anywhere from 10-15% of my Darkyn sales for each book have come from the cover art catching the eye of the casual bookstore browsers. The appeal of the art has been destroyed by the color used for it. Worse, this shade of pink might make a browser think this is a fluffy romance (which I don't write) or a chicklit vampire story (ditto.)

    I know my readers are very forgiving (they've had to be) and will buy the book to see how the series wraps up. But I feel I've already lost a big chunk of new reader sales.

    I hope you can get something positive sorted out with this. It' just dreadful.

    Writing this post helped a lot. So does all the sympathy from you guys. Thanks.

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  25. LornaMoon wrote: I'd call it Fuschia Light, like Bud Light.

    I like that. :)

    Or you can throw in pink lingerie. ha ha

    Hmmm, I hadn't thought about getting Victoria's Secret involved...food for thought.

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  26. Katherine wrote: Relax. His eye is still blue.

    Unhappily, his eyes aren't blue. They're violet. *Sigh.*

    He's still gorgeous. It's not like they made him into a transvestite dolphin or anything.

    We were weighing that out last night: What's worse, having rainbow transvestite Flipper or a Pink Robin Hood. Robin won.

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  27. raine wrote: Oh, it really isn't so bad! The metallic pink lends a surrealistic quality, which might well add atmosphere and an additional layer to the feeling of...of...
    Ok, I'm not that good a liar.


    It's okay, honey. When you see a train wreck, you have to call it a train wreck.

    I'll have to go with 3, 11, and 19.

    19 is pretty popular, so I should let you all know that I've already done that (whether or not they choose to grant my request is, of course, up to the publisher.)

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  28. Anonymous9:25 AM

    I think we need to start an upside-down airplane rumor. You keep the tan cover on your blog, and all of us tell everyone in the stores "Wow! I can't believe it -- the rare pink version of the book is actually in _our_ stores! Quick! Buy one fast! I hear they were a print run error and are going to fetch a big price on Ebay! But if you buy it, read the book first, because you can't find any of the brown covered versions right now..."

    Or something to that effect. :)

    We regular fans don't care. Really.

    JulieB

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  29. BuffySquirrel wrote: 5b combined with 19 & 20?

    I was thinking of doing a Stay the Night slipcover/book cover with the original art. I'll have to check into pricing from the printer.

    I wish I could say it doesn't look awful. But it does.

    I'd rather have people give me their honest reactions. It also provides me with some ammunition, believe it or not, because this thing is far from over.

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  30. Angelica wrote: I'd happily go for 5b (Run around the U.S. with 50,000 paperback-size copies of the original cover art and a really big bottle of glue), though I think 10 would be healthier.

    Agreed. It could have been worse. Not by much, but still.

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  31. pencilprincess wrote: I'll have to say 10, 19 and 20.

    I can't believe you didn't have the final word on this. The original cover art looks so much better - and I'm a pink lover, so there.

    I was kept out of this decision (either accidentally or deliberately; that still hasn't been explained to my satisfaction.) My initial reaction was that my book had been sabotaged, because no one in their right mind can look at the comparison and say the pink is an improvement.

    The heartbreaker for me is knowing what I could have had on the cover and seeing what was slapped on there. Had I known this was being done, trust me, I would have done everything in my power to put a stop to it.

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  32. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Actually, I really do like the idea of a Find a Cure edition.

    JulieB

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  33. shilohwalker wrote: But, PBW...pink is so you... (okay, I'm gonna go run and hide now)

    Lol. That is the other issue -- appropriateness. What sane person would give one of my novels a pink cover? It boggles the mind.

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  34. Tim of Angle wrote: Find out who was responsible for the change and introduce them to the concept of "workplace violence". I'd recommend a Glock.

    As I'm a military-trained marksman who used to shoot competitively, probably not a good idea.

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  35. I asked Allen to come into my office and view the atrocity. His analysis: "They were going for a negative image." My analysis: "They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams!"

    Now, two questions:
    1) Where do I send the chocolate?
    2) Do you like dark or milk?

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  36. As Forrest Gump says, "Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."

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  37. I think Pink would sing a kickass version of So What? for this. As in, "I guess I lost my manhood, I don't know where it went, so what? I'm still Robin Hood, still got my Robin moves..."

    It's got a good beat and you can dance to it. But seriously, tomorrow's blog MUST be you breaking the news to Robin and his reaction at being turned pink.

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  38. Double hugs to you, Lynn. Perhaps reciting the serenity prayer for several days might help. Or "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!" Or "It's about the story, not the cover!" Or "This too shall pass." And Pink's new single is titled "So What" so perhaps that is a cosmic message. Also, I personally think the eBay suggestion has some merit. Let's start a viral campaign!! xxoo

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  39. Awww, Lynn! :hugs: :hugs: I'm so sorry. I think maybe it's the whole shock of seeing something so completely different from what you expected that's really rubbing salt in the wound here.

    Personally, I think the Pink for a Cure is a great thing! Make your publisher include an exam card or donate a little bit of each sale to BC Research. Good payback for their idiot idea and sales would be great, I think!

    Honestly though, if this man can wear pink cashmere and leather, and still be sexy as hell, I think you can do some kind of 'damage control' on your blog.

    http://bp1.blogger.com/_0F9wXlHzfuo/SAAYlQlaW6I/AAAAAAAAATE/RQgSqJkFNmc/s1600-h/D+Pink+runway.jpg

    and

    http://www.mcheathers.com/images/gbKilt/dKilt06.jpg

    And in the meantime, come on over, I have a fully stocked liquor cabinet and a DH who knows how to deal with me when it mixes with my meds. He'd understand :)

    :hugs:
    theo

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  40. vanessa jaye wrote: How about #21 - Attend this year's RWA Nationals a flamingo hat and day-glo t-shirt that says - Darkyn lovers do it in the pink! And make sure you bring 50 000 shiny metallic pink bookmarks!

    Well, I'd finally fit in with the other attendees. Lol.

    (made you laugh?)

    Hey, I'm thinking the bookmark thing might work.

    Know what? I know you're disappointed, but none of your fans care what shade the cover is, at this point you're a dusky-hued teflon. ;)

    I know. And I apologize to everyone for the general sulking I've been doing in comments. It's just . . . I want my first cover back SO bad, it hurts.

    I also like #13 (if you could swing it), and more practically #17a,b,c, #19, and #20--except with 20, I wouldn't burn it but do some interesting collage, or cutwork.

    I'll figure out a way to make lemonade out of this. Pink lemonade. Ha.

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  41. Darlene wrote: I'd probably try some version of 5b combined with 20.

    I'm heading to the mall in a few minutes with the girls, and we're going to see Twilight again, which will be a popcorn-laden funfest. Should bandage a lot of the wounds.

    Maybe we could all recycle the leftover Christmas wrapping and shopping bags into creative "dust jackets" and then slip into book stores and cover the books. Bookstore owners would begin to notice the covers. Local media would pick up the story and soon it would go national. Think of the buzz it could generate for the book.

    Very creative idea. I think the bookstore folks would probably have some objections to my friends messing with the stock, though.

    If you do the Today Show I call shotgun. I looove Matt Lauer.

    I'm just hoping the book doesn't end up on "MegaDisasters" or "Destroyed in an Instant."

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  42. JulieB wrote: think we need to start an upside-down airplane rumor. You keep the tan cover on your blog, and all of us tell everyone in the stores "Wow! I can't believe it -- the rare pink version of the book is actually in _our_ stores! Quick! Buy one fast! I hear they were a print run error and are going to fetch a big price on Ebay! But if you buy it, read the book first, because you can't find any of the brown covered versions right now..."

    Brilliant. I want Julie to take over marketing my books.

    We regular fans don't care. Really.

    I am blessed in that department. Really. ;)

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  43. JulieB wrote: Actually, I really do like the idea of a Find a Cure edition.

    Me, too. I've been privately supporting breast cancer research since I lost a friend to the disease, and this would be an amazingly positive way to have some real good come out of a bad situation.

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  44. Dana wrote: I asked Allen to come into my office and view the atrocity. His analysis: "They were going for a negative image." My analysis: "They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams!"

    Honestly I don't know. If it was deliberate, you have to wonder why. Am I selling too many copies of these books? Is my success somehow a threat? With the way the market is now? I just don't understand why they would do this when they make 94% of the profits from the sale of this novel. However they feel about me, it is in their best interests to put out the most attractive product that they can.

    Now, two questions:
    1) Where do I send the chocolate?
    2) Do you like dark or milk?


    I appreciate the offer, but my diet doesn't let me indulge in chocolate anymore. Have some for me, though.

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  45. Margaret wrote: As Forrest Gump says, "Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."

    There you go. Thanks, Margaret.

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  46. charleneteglia wrote: I think Pink would sing a kickass version of So What? for this. As in, "I guess I lost my manhood, I don't know where it went, so what? I'm still Robin Hood, still got my Robin moves..."

    Lol.

    It's got a good beat and you can dance to it. But seriously, tomorrow's blog MUST be you breaking the news to Robin and his reaction at being turned pink.

    I think I will, Charlene -- thanks for the excellent suggestion.

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  47. GAH! ***choke***

    That said, Suz Brockmann survived the "Get Lucky" debacle rather well. A not so subtle humor campaign should get Stay the Night over this wretched publisher decision.

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  48. jann1155 wrote: Double hugs to you, Lynn. Perhaps reciting the serenity prayer for several days might help. Or "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!" Or "It's about the story, not the cover!" Or "This too shall pass." And Pink's new single is titled "So What" so perhaps that is a cosmic message. Also, I personally think the eBay suggestion has some merit.

    All of you have been wonderful about this. I feel so much better, knowing I've got the kind of friends and colleagues who would offer so many positive ways to deal with the disappointment.

    I'm going to head out of here now and spend some time giggling with the girls over how cute Edward is. Tom is out of town this week, so I'll continue posting comments when we get back.

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  49. Late to the party, but a question ... is there anywhere/anyone we can write/email to express our displeasure as the reading public/book buyers/supporters of authors who deserve decent covers??

    Seriously, I do a little graphic design in my job and *that* kind of last-minute change/mistake WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED!! How can they just get away with this??!! And what kind of powers-that-be are in the publishing profession today who think THAT much of a change would go over without some kind of uproar???

    Do they think that LITTLE of authors who slave and toil over their hard work, AND the reading public who fork out hard-earned dollars for decent reading material??!!

    As others have said before me, those of us in the know will purchase it outright, no matter the cover. But I feel your pain and disappointment. There are no words!

    Man, now *my* blood pressure is up!

    — Bonz

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  50. Oh, I'm like you. I like the old cover. Did you know you can cover a paperback with an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Maybe we can have the cover we want by creating a PDF version. Everyone who wants the original can just print the PDF and cover it.

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  51. I'd go with 5b) Run around the U.S. with 50,000 paperback-size copies of the original cover art and a really big bottle of glue. Or perhaps, provide the cover art here and we'll all do our own copies. ;)

    I haven't read the Darkyn series yet. Your blog has got me interested in finding them ... trouble is 90% of my books come via the library. I may just have to suggest they buy more of you.

    And, yeah, the final cover can't hold a candle to the original Stay the Night.

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  52. 17, 18, 19 & 20 all sound good.

    Sorry about the screwup. :(

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  53. I'd say 5b. /for ure =]

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  54. Oops. Did they really decide deliberately to print it this way? Or did someone accidentally put a second bottle of magenta into the printing machine where the yellow one was supposed to be?
    Anyway, unless your next book is baby-blue, bright-yellow or -hmm- ginger there's nothing to worry about. In a few years your fans will ask each other:
    "Did you read the pink one?"
    "Oh yes, of course!"
    :-)

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  55. I agree, the original cover color was gorgeous. And the pink...well, not so much. But, hey, what can you do?

    And if it makes you feel any better, I'd buy the book if it had no cover at all, as I'm sure many others would. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.

    Hey - positive spin - the pink might be a big help for us looking for it in the stores! If the bookstores make displays, they will positively glow, like a beacon leading us straight to them. Very helpful. So, this is a good thing. And you just have to laugh so you don't start crying.

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  56. I can't even pick a favorite one, so I'm just going to add internet chocolate and something silly.

    Seeing as how the original was a warm fleshtone obviously the contents are so hot, it made the entire book blush.

    Or it's lightish red.

    Either way, when it comes to my store I'll be facing this out. At least in dorky marketing speak, the cover will "pop". (ashamed of falling to marketing speak, I will now go stick my head in the toilet)

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  57. The reason why I would buy this book, pink cover and all? Because your name would be there as well.
    Maybe you can convert the fluffy/puff-puff readers to the Darkyn side.

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  58. Lainey wrote: GAH! ***choke***

    I knew we'd need to employ the Heimlich maneuver at some point today. ;)

    That said, Suz Brockmann survived the "Get Lucky" debacle rather well. A not so subtle humor campaign should get Stay the Night over this wretched publisher decision.

    I actually have one of the Get Lucky happy face sticker packets Suz passed out when they did that to her. I'll have to dig it out of the filing cabinet and see exactly what the little sticker instructions said.

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  59. nightsmusic wrote: Awww, Lynn! :hugs: :hugs: I'm so sorry. I think maybe it's the whole shock of seeing something so completely different from what you expected that's really rubbing salt in the wound here.

    It was just so much better before, Theo -- breaks my heart to see them destroy beautiful art like this.

    Personally, I think the Pink for a Cure is a great thing! Make your publisher include an exam card or donate a little bit of each sale to BC Research. Good payback for their idiot idea and sales would be great, I think!

    I can't even stir them to be ashamed of doing this to the book; I doubt they'll do anything more than continue to say "We're sorry you're so unhappy with the cover art."

    Honestly though, if this man can wear pink cashmere and leather, and still be sexy as hell, I think you can do some kind of 'damage control' on your blog.

    Absolutely (gorgeous pics of Gerard, too. What a smile that man has.)

    And in the meantime, come on over, I have a fully stocked liquor cabinet and a DH who knows how to deal with me when it mixes with my meds. He'd understand

    I appreciate the offer, truly, Theo. But I swore off the grain and the grape after pulling one too many dead kids out of DUI-related wrecks, and I know drowning my sorrows won't work. The little demons float.

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  60. Bonz wrote: Late to the party, but a question ... is there anywhere/anyone we can write/email to express our displeasure as the reading public/book buyers/supporters of authors who deserve decent covers??

    You can write to me, because this was ultimately my responsibility. I dropped the ball here.

    I should have demanded the cover flats after not one but two alleged mailings of them didn't arrive. I didn't. I thought the mail was just screwed up, and trusted the people I work with to do the best for my books. I believed that the pictures they were sending me were exactly what the final product would be. Bottom line is that I assumed too much, trusted far too easily, and didn't follow up.

    It's my name on the book. The cover will be associated with me for the rest of my career, because the people who did this to it don't have to put their names on the cover, or show it as part of their professional resume, or even explain to anyone why they did it. That's why the buck has to stop here, with me.

    I am so sorry this happened, too. My readers deserve better.

    As others have said before me, those of us in the know will purchase it outright, no matter the cover. But I feel your pain and disappointment. There are no words!

    It's a hard lesson, but one I won't forget.

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  61. Jusy wrote: Oh, I'm like you. I like the old cover. Did you know you can cover a paperback with an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Maybe we can have the cover we want by creating a PDF version. Everyone who wants the original can just print the PDF and cover it.

    That's a great suggestion, Jusy, thanks.

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  62. gigi wrote: I haven't read the Darkyn series yet. Your blog has got me interested in finding them ... trouble is 90% of my books come via the library. I may just have to suggest they buy more of you.

    That would be much appreciated, Gigi, thanks -- and if the library doesn't have room in the budget to buy them, they can always e-mail me (LynnViehl@aol.com) and I'll donate a set.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Rabia wrote: Sorry about the screwup.

    Thanks, Rabia. I had a good day out with the girls, and it helped to get away from this for a while.

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  64. Amanda wrote: I'd say 5b. /for ure =]

    Thanks, Amanda. I'm just wondering how much glue it would take to re-cover 50,000 copies. Anyone out there work for Elmer's and can get me a bulk discount? Lol.

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  65. :hug: The offer stands if you ever need it. And I don't let anyone leave my house that's been imbibing. I worked ER too many years. I agree.

    So see? You'd have to stay! :P

    Seriously, I think that's just a terrible shame they're ignoring your...indignation is probably putting it mildly about the cover art. Yup, I think the original is gorgeous, and maybe they'll get it right on the second run.

    One of my friends has had her cover art changed after everything's been finalized as far as hair color of the H/Hn, clothing, that sort of thing, but never the entire cover. And she was devastated enough with those changes. I can only guess how you must feel.

    But someone else commented that it's your name on the cover that makes the difference in the recognition factor. People will buy it for your name.

    And they won't have any trouble finding it!

    (trying to make you smile)

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  66. KlingonPacifist wrote: Oops. Did they really decide deliberately to print it this way? Or did someone accidentally put a second bottle of magenta into the printing machine where the yellow one was supposed to be?

    They really and truly decided to do this. There are a bunch of approval stages that cover art has to go through, and at every stage the final edition cover flat was reviewed, signed off on and approved.

    Except by me, of course.

    Anyway, unless your next book is baby-blue, bright-yellow or -hmm- ginger there's nothing to worry about. In a few years your fans will ask each other:
    "Did you read the pink one?"
    "Oh yes, of course!"


    There you go. Good way to think about it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  67. Lynn M wrote: I agree, the original cover color was gorgeous. And the pink...well, not so much. But, hey, what can you do?

    Not much, except prewarn the readers. I felt I had to do that much. And maybe someone at the publisher level will take pity on me and change the cover art back to what it was. Miracles have been known to happen. :)

    And if it makes you feel any better, I'd buy the book if it had no cover at all, as I'm sure many others would. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.

    That's really sweet of you to say, Lynn. Thanks.

    Hey - positive spin - the pink might be a big help for us looking for it in the stores! If the bookstores make displays, they will positively glow, like a beacon leading us straight to them. Very helpful.

    You're right, I didn't think about that. And I can guarantee my book will be the only glowing pink one in the dark fantasy displays. All the other authors will have dull and boring edgy dark covers that will do nothing to catch the light and refract it to Mars, like mine. ;)

    So, this is a good thing. And you just have to laugh so you don't start crying.

    I can't cry yet -- too dumbfounded, I guess, for it to sink in yet. But I can always laugh, and have, and will keep trying to.

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  68. Zee wrote: I can't even pick a favorite one, so I'm just going to add internet chocolate and something silly.

    Silly we can use. :)

    Seeing as how the original was a warm fleshtone obviously the contents are so hot, it made the entire book blush.

    Blushing Robin! Zee, you're a genius. Lol.

    Either way, when it comes to my store I'll be facing this out. At least in dorky marketing speak, the cover will "pop". (ashamed of falling to marketing speak, I will now go stick my head in the toilet)

    Very wise and kind of you, thanks. And if I'm not sticking my head in the gas oven, you have to keep yours out of the toilet. Deal?

    ReplyDelete
  69. Eugenia Tibbs wrote: The reason why I would buy this book, pink cover and all? Because your name would be there as well.
    Maybe you can convert the fluffy/puff-puff readers to the Darkyn side.


    Thank you, Eugenia, that's also something I needed to hear. One can always hope to have appeal to a new segment of the market; I guess I'll find out now how I fare with the fluff readers.

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  70. You're welcome, hon. *hugs again*

    However, I do like this suggestion:

    JulieB wrote: Actually, I really do like the idea of a Find a Cure edition.

    Lynn Viehl wrote: Me, too. I've been privately supporting breast cancer research since I lost a friend to the disease, and this would be an amazingly positive way to have some real good come out of a bad situation


    I really think that's a brilliant spin. I run the race for the cure every year and having the pink focus would be a good thing. And who knows, maybe your publisher would be willing to give a small percentage of sales to Breast Cancer research. The worst they can say is no...

    Some of the other suggestions were fabulous too.

    On the plus side: The cover is still striking, the model is still gorgeous, I am still dying to get my hands on this book and you'll have more print runs in the future.

    You still have my *hugs* And I hope you're feeling better after the movie.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Sherri11:28 PM

    I would vote for the Find a Cure, it was the first thing I thought of when seeing the cover. And I also agree with Nonny. Fans will buy it and the story will get the not-yet-a-fan group. :-)

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  72. I can definitely understand your disappointment. The original cover was lovely. I really liked it quite a lot.

    I'm still floored about the pink. Maybe it was a printing error?

    Hopefully?

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  73. Hmmm - First some hugs in sympathy.

    I'd be tempted to make a contest for readers to tell show you a receipt for buying the book and then write a short description of why they think Robin went Pink....

    I like the Vampires for a Cure idea too, though.

    Or maybe when Vampires Go Pink as a short, lol.

    Sorry for the change and hugs to you to take control of the issue and make it YOUR joke when you can stand to.

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  74. Oh, so sorry to hear about this. If you go with 5b, you could probably get a bunch of us to help out: send me enough copies of the original to cover the DC area! I'm sure my 3-year-old son can find a few things to keep the bookstore staffs busy while I glue.....

    (love the slipcover/book cover idea from your comments)

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  75. Oh man, that's pretty bad. I really enjoy good cover art and you have been lucky to do well with the Darkyn series. So it's OK, we know you. We know that you are upset, just as we will be when we buy it. The original cover art was beutiful and we are all jipped. But - the story inside will remain unaffected. Let's just hold onto that, my friend.
    And remember, having a few margaritas to mourn is very healing.

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  76. So...I dont know about everyone else but I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to read Stay the Night. I am currently out of the country and contriving for a cousin to buy the book and bring it overseas to me so I can get it as soon as possible. I am also terribly afraid since I know this is your last book in the series and that thought is breaking my heart. So as for Pink I would say the company owes you freakin big time and the Pink color will certainly not defer me from buying the final book. Robin is smooth enough to pull off pink!
    Your devoted Fan,
    Alicia

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  77. Find a Cure (gets my vote)

    Honestly, I will still buy it with glee.. I love your stories.

    As for the pink (fuschia), its hard for me to object to it... its really one of my favorite colors. Besides the guy is hot in whatever color you put him in.

    All I can say is... they got your name right and that is all that really matters for your readers, the cover art is just the icing on the cake - its whats inside that matters.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I was trying to make a comment and I got the blue screen of death. I guess I can't specifically blame the pink but my laptop definitely coughed up a hairball.

    In all seriousness, the color doesn't matter to those of us who already love the Darkyn. When reading the ARC of Evermore I actually hid it beneath my seat instead of leaving it on the dashboard of the car for fear someone would break the windsheild to get to the book. That's how much I personally love the series (I haven't busted any windows, I swear. Yet.) and I know many others feel the same way. Don't sweat the pink cover -- we'll all be blabbing about it to every single person we know and many we don't.

    Although Darkyn for the Cure does have a nice ring.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Omy. That is so...ruggedly pink.


    I should send you the cover to my July '09 release, aka, my OMGWTFBBQTHATISREALLYGREEN cover.

    Seriously. One look at it and your cover will look rockin' awesome.

    ;-)

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  80. You should accidentally and somehow anonymously post the email address of the person responsible so we can all send our comments.

    No worries though, I'll still buy the book

    ReplyDelete
  81. I actually was thinking maybe some type of tie-in with raising breast cancer awareness, and I see others have brought up that idea too. That would be an awesome way to make something good out of it. Maybe instead of smiley face stickers you could have some type of pink ribbon stickers for those that buy the book. :)

    You know, the cover is still gorgeous, if just a little too pink. Of course, maybe I'm looking at it through rose colored glasses lol. Sorry, I can't help myself sometimes. I'm buying the book, by the way. I'm not afraid of that pink cover. ;)

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  82. OMG, I feel so bad that they did this to your glorious, beautiful, wonderful cover!

    That said, I'm falling back on the old cliche, "Don't judge a book by its cover." I know that the writing, the story, the characters are all stellar.

    Your legions of fans -- the ones who put the last book even higher on the NY Times list are not going to pick up the book, shriek, and run screaming from the store, yelling, "No. No. I cannot, will not, buy a pink Darkyn book."

    We're all still going to buy the book. Honest!

    You know the book cover of Christina Dodd's with the three-handed heroine? Her sales didn't suffer.

    Tell everyone about it the way that you're doing so now

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  83. nightsmusic wrote: One of my friends has had her cover art changed after everything's been finalized as far as hair color of the H/Hn, clothing, that sort of thing, but never the entire cover. And she was devastated enough with those changes. I can only guess how you must feel.

    That kind of thing is never easy to take, even when it's minor. And major changes can cost writers $$$, too. I used the image of the original art on all my promotional materials that I send out to indy booksellers, book buyers, reading groups and so forth. Now I don't know if I can in good conscience use any of it.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Dawn wrote: I run the race for the cure every year and having the pink focus would be a good thing. And who knows, maybe your publisher would be willing to give a small percentage of sales to Breast Cancer research. The worst they can say is no...

    Good for you, lady -- we can't do enough to fight this disease. I don't know about getting the publisher involved with a charity drive I sponsor. At this point I'm so pissed off over this foolishness that I wouldn't ask them to spit on me if I was on fire (but hopefully I'll calm down soon.)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Sherri wrote: I would vote for the Find a Cure, it was the first thing I thought of when seeing the cover. And I also agree with Nonny. Fans will buy it and the story will get the not-yet-a-fan group.

    Thanks, Sherri. The more I think about it, the more using this idiocy to help women battling breast cancer makes sense. It would be the ultimate Zen revenge, anyway.

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  86. Rhiannon wrote: I can definitely understand your disappointment. The original cover was lovely. I really liked it quite a lot.

    Thanks -- me, too.

    I'm still floored about the pink. Maybe it was a printing error? Hopefully?

    I wish I could say that was it and we could go back and get the printer to do it right. But this was a deliberate choice by the publisher; the poor printer was only filling the order.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Maura wrote: Hmmm - First some hugs in sympathy.

    Thank you, ma'am. I need all the hugs I can get.

    I'd be tempted to make a contest for readers to tell show you a receipt for buying the book and then write a short description of why they think Robin went Pink....

    That's a fun idea.

    I like the Vampires for a Cure idea too, though.

    That one is my favorite so far, I have to say.

    Sorry for the change and hugs to you to take control of the issue and make it YOUR joke when you can stand to.

    I think it's important to laugh about things like this, and I'm trying. It's just such a huge, tragic mistake on the publisher's part. I don't mind being the one to tell the readers -- I'd rather they hear it directly from me than some henparty -- but I don't mind admitting that it was very tough for me to write this post. I work very hard on my novels. They're not a joke to me. I don't like seeing them treated like a joke.

    But: I know it is funny, and it doesn't really matter to my readers what color my books are. I keep focusing on that, and not on the enormous bruises spreading over my dignity.

    ReplyDelete
  88. adadak wrote: Oh, so sorry to hear about this. If you go with 5b, you could probably get a bunch of us to help out: send me enough copies of the original to cover the DC area! I'm sure my 3-year-old son can find a few things to keep the bookstore staffs busy while I glue.....

    Thanks for the offer, but you might actually get arrested for vandalizing stock. I don't want my friends and readers being thrown in jail, so let's forget about 5b.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Rose wrote: Oh man, that's pretty bad. I really enjoy good cover art and you have been lucky to do well with the Darkyn series. So it's OK, we know you. We know that you are upset, just as we will be when we buy it. The original cover art was beutiful and we are all jipped. But - the story inside will remain unaffected. Let's just hold onto that, my friend.

    That's really beautiful, Rose. Thank you.

    And remember, having a few margaritas to mourn is very healing.

    Lol. Back in the day, I used to make a mean frozen strawberry margarita. I wish I was still young and healthy enough to indulge.

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  90. Alicia wrote: I am currently out of the country and contriving for a cousin to buy the book and bring it overseas to me so I can get it as soon as possible.

    Now that is a dedicated reader -- thanks for going to all this trouble, Alicia.

    I am also terribly afraid since I know this is your last book in the series and that thought is breaking my heart.

    I've had a long run of very good luck with cover art, and while it does spoil the entire look of the series, six amazing covers out of seven isn't bad. And there's still a chance they will take pity on me and change the cover art back for future print runs.

    So as for Pink I would say the company owes you freakin big time and the Pink color will certainly not defer me from buying the final book. Robin is smooth enough to pull off pink!

    That he is. Thanks, Alicia.

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  91. Marnie wrote: Find a Cure (gets my vote)

    That's the ranking favorite so far. :)

    Honestly, I will still buy it with glee.. I love your stories.

    Thank you, ma'am. That's a lovely thing for me to read.

    As for the pink (fuschia), its hard for me to object to it... its really one of my favorite colors. Besides the guy is hot in whatever color you put him in.

    So Theo has been trying to convince me -- and when I look at it without the light shining on the foiling, from a distance . . . no, still pink, still hate it.

    Maybe it'll grow on me in time, lol.

    All I can say is... they got your name right and that is all that really matters for your readers, the cover art is just the icing on the cake - its whats inside that matters.

    Pink icing! Lol. Yes, I agree, it could have been worse. Not by much, but having my name misspelled on the cover would have been pretty bad.

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  92. Joely Sue wrote: I was trying to make a comment and I got the blue screen of death. I guess I can't specifically blame the pink but my laptop definitely coughed up a hairball.

    That pink is toxic. I swear.

    In all seriousness, the color doesn't matter to those of us who already love the Darkyn. When reading the ARC of Evermore I actually hid it beneath my seat instead of leaving it on the dashboard of the car for fear someone would break the windsheild to get to the book. That's how much I personally love the series (I haven't busted any windows, I swear. Yet.) and I know many others feel the same way.

    I don't deserve you guys. I really don't. Thanks, Joely.

    Although Darkyn for the Cure does have a nice ring.

    I'm thinking the same thing. :)

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  93. Jaci Burton wrote: Omy. That is so...ruggedly pink.

    Now there's a beautiful spin -- thanks, Jaci.

    I should send you the cover to my July '09 release, aka, my OMGWTFBBQTHATISREALLYGREEN cover.

    Sister! Lol.

    Seriously. One look at it and your cover will look rockin' awesome.

    Now we all want to see it, Jaci -- you've got to post it. At least in solidarity. :)

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  94. Jessica P wrote: You should accidentally and somehow anonymously post the email address of the person responsible so we can all send our comments.

    I appreciate the offer, but they are (wisely) not telling me who is responsible.

    No worries though, I'll still buy the book

    Thank you, ma'am. Wear sunglasses. Ha.

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  95. bamabelle wrote: I actually was thinking maybe some type of tie-in with raising breast cancer awareness, and I see others have brought up that idea too. That would be an awesome way to make something good out of it. Maybe instead of smiley face stickers you could have some type of pink ribbon stickers for those that buy the book.

    I've got to think about it, but I like the idea of a ribbon. People should get a reward for ignoring the cover and buying the book, imho.

    You know, the cover is still gorgeous, if just a little too pink. Of course, maybe I'm looking at it through rose colored glasses lol. Sorry, I can't help myself sometimes. I'm buying the book, by the way. I'm not afraid of that pink cover.

    I love the imagery of rose-colored glasses -- maybe that's how I should be seeing it. Thanks, Bama.

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  96. Mary Stella wrote: OMG, I feel so bad that they did this to your glorious, beautiful, wonderful cover!

    Thanks, Mary.

    That said, I'm falling back on the old cliche, "Don't judge a book by its cover." I know that the writing, the story, the characters are all stellar.

    I hope the same, and that the story doesn't disappoint you as much as the cover.

    Your legions of fans -- the ones who put the last book even higher on the NY Times list are not going to pick up the book, shriek, and run screaming from the store, yelling, "No. No. I cannot, will not, buy a pink Darkyn book."

    You guys are tough. Now we just have to figure how to stop me from doing that, lol.

    You know the book cover of Christina Dodd's with the three-handed heroine? Her sales didn't suffer.

    I was thinking the same thing this morning -- and wondering if I'll get sympathy e-mail from Christina as she surrenders her crown to me for Queen of the Most Ridiculous Cover Art Ever.

    Tell everyone about it the way that you're doing so now

    Agreed; I think it's best that I handle this from here. People have often told me that with humor I can sell snow to an Inuit, and I think this will be about as equal a challenge.

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  97. Lynn --

    The face is still dramatic and did you notice the words changed from USA Bestselling to NYT Bestselling Author under your name? A step up for sure!

    Sometimes you just have to focus on the good things...and try really hard to ignore the (pink) things you can't change....

    Sorry....

    Terri B

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  98. Also late to the party. Rendered speechless by the sheer crassness of the person(s) responsible.


    Lynn Viehl said:


    And major changes can cost writers $$$, too. I used the image of the original art on all my promotional materials that I send out to indy booksellers, book buyers, reading groups and so forth. Now I don't know if I can in good conscience use any of it.


    You should continue to use the image of the original art for the promotional material you send out. It's too good to waste and at least people will get to see it the way you really wanted it. I don't believe it's misleading because the informational content is the same, and it would be lovely for people to see it the way you imagined. You can blame it on the publisher if they query it. You are the not the one who should be worrying about a good conscience over this.

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  99. Lynn, what is the release date?

    Everybody who reads this blog, how many of us have blogs of our own?

    Rally the troops, Lynn. I'm willing, and eager, to blog your book -- pink cover and all. I know your Darkyn books are sensational, we can make this cover mishap (Which is the politest, least vulgar/profane/obscene word I can think of.) an Internet sensation.

    Spread the word. The new Darkyn book is available. You can't miss it in stores. It's pink.

    If we seriously want to turn it into a "Find the Cure" awareness promotion, too, so much the better. I still have pink sequinned pins in the pink ribbon shape and am willing to give them away.

    Where did the last book debut on the NYT list? The goal is to see that this one debuts even higher. *g*

    We can make lemonade out of the cover lemon -- even if it's pink lemonade.

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  100. Anonymous9:48 AM

    I am just one of those people that buy books. Not a writer or anything. I have all of the Darkyn series. I don't like pink. I bought the book the other day and I have to say that I didn't really notice the pink. Maybe that is the lighting in Barnes and Noble. When I read this thread I got the book and looked and it still wasn't really PINK. I had to hold it directly under a lamp to see what you were talking about. So maybe it's not as bad as you feared. It's a good book. One of the better of the Darkyn series. I bought it because I love the Darkyn series.

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