Sunday, January 04, 2009

Thinking Pink

Since I found out about the unattractive changes made to my cover art for Stay the Night, I've been wrestling with how best to deal with it. You all have been great sports and kept me smiling at times when I probably would have yanked out all my hair. So I thank you for the many comments, e-mails, and immensely helpful support. I would look terrible bald.

Charlene, you single-handedly kept me from doing something really stupid by suggesting I write this, and I owe you.

I did consider using the unwelcome pink color scheme to help promote the book when it's released on Tuesday. Surely no one will be able to miss spotting the novel, not even from the International Space Station, but we're supposed to promote our books and it was tempting to use the screwup as a gimmick.

Some of you suggested I tie in with the release a charity drive for breast cancer research, since that noble cause also uses pink as as symbol. I have to be honest -- as nice as it would feel to turn this around and use it to raise money for charity, I'm not comfortable with that. I think we should all donate to worthy causes, but not because I didn't do my job.

I dropped the ball on this book because I was busy, and didn't follow up on the cover art as I should have. I trusted others to do the right thing instead of making sure they did. It's a very tough lesson, and an embarrassing one, but as long as I've been doing this, by now I should have already learned it.

Some people have said I've overreacted, and that's probably true. This is just one book, after all. I've published plenty of others. I'll publish more. Who cares? I should be grateful that I am working and published when so many other writers aren't, and that's also true. As an author I am expected to be a cheerleader of Publishing, and forever shake my pom poms, and act as if every disaster was all part of the plan.

(I had quite a bit here to tell you just how I feel about the pink pom poms I've been handed, but it was really depressing and I don't think whining to gain reader sympathy is a way to sell books, either.)

Bottom line, it's my name on the book, my novel printed on the pages, and my responsibility to see to it that it's handled appropriately at all stages of production. As undignified and unfair a situation as this is, I really have no one to blame but myself. This is my book, warts and all; the buck has to stop here. I promise you that I will take this unhappy experience and use it to be more vigilant in the future.

As for the promotional aspect, I'm not going to treat this novel any differently than the other six in the series. If you like my writing and want to read the story and see how the series ends, I would appreciate the sale. But don't invest in Stay the Night simply because it's got an ugly pink cover, or may glow in the dark, or can double as a tanning bed. Don't plunk down your hard-earned money only because you feel bad for me. Buy it because you want to read what's inside. That is the only reason you should ever buy any book.


  1. I'm going to say something that may or may not help - at this point in a series there are two things I need to know about a book in the series when I see it on the stands.

    1. It has your name on the cover.

    2. I can tell that it is new, not an older one in the series reissued or some other thing of yours that doesn't belong to that series. (Not that other series of yours wouldn't get considered and probably bought, but it's a different process.)

    So pink may be hideous, but at least it is distinctive. . .

  2. *shakes brightly colored, non-pink pompoms*


    The ONLY reason to buy a book is what's between the covers. Same as for a bed. But...

    Ok. I stop now.

    Good luck. :)

  3. Hmm, I hadn't thought of the tanning bed alternative. I've got a healthy fear of skin cancer and this might offer a reasonable option ;). Heck, yet another good reason to buy.

    Seriously, thank you for this post. I know you're frustrated, and I know pink haunts you (if we ever meet in person remind me not to wear hot pink ;)), but I know I'm not the only one who appreciates the insights you offer. The dream is always that you make it to the contract and everything is handled for you so you can concentrate on writing.

    We really need these reminders that if we care about our books, we need to be there to hand hold all the way through the process. Sadly, there are consequences when authors don't, but don't beat yourself up too much. Nobody is perfect. It would be nice though if they'd choose some different color to remind you of that fact :p.

  4. You have a sympathetic audience. It could happen to many of us - except now we've been warned. I enjoyed the post, even though I know you hate the pink cover.


  5. I've got Stay the Night sitting in front of me right now and the pink isn't really that bad. No matter what color I would have bought it just for the story inside.

    And the Shadowlight excerpt - what a lovely taste you've given us. Looking forward to November.

  6. You don't owe me, you've restored my perspective and sense of humor more than once. So now we're even.

    I am dying to read Robin's story. I'll just use a book jacket cover. *g* I was in Borders last night, but didn't see it. Will keep checking!

  7. (((Lynn)) Something I thought of while reading this....This is also a great lesson for newbie/inexperienced authors who think that once they get an agent or whatever things will just magically be "handled" for them so all they can do is write. Not true. Never true. The buck ALWAYS stops with the author (cuz they're the one that's going to get the hate mail :))

  8. Emma Frost8:06 AM

    I'm looking at my copy of Stay the Night, and really, it's not bad. At all. The art is good... you're just perseverating on the color. I even liked what was between the covers, both literally and figuratively.

  9. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Pink has struck in
    RI and the B&N has it in the center new book rack and it's almost gone so I don't think "pink" had an adverse affect.


    PS Got my copy and can't wait to start it.

  10. Shellene9:54 AM

    You know I actually liked the cover color and all, bit it was the story that counts- and may I add it's one heck of a story... Hmmm!!!.. So don't beat yourself up about it. Although I don't see the point of having people around you who can't even be trusted to make a proper decision on something as simple as a cover art......Gosh.....I hope they weren't trying anything by using that color. Whenever I'm buying books if the cover art is shitty I won't buy it but if they did that to turn readers off. Then they don't know who they messing with. I know it sounds far fetched but you just have to think of everything. I don't tolorate stupid crap like that.
    Anyway don't worry about it at least you learned this time..

    On a positive note I can't wait for November the new book,from the excerpt alone is gonna be good...I can't to see more of John...all I have to say is wow just wow *squeals* ok I'm gonna shut up now

  11. Unless there's some copyright issue, couldn't you post a cover-sized .jpg of the *not* pink cover (at, say, Scribd) so readers can download it and print it on a large adhesive label and "stick it" to that pink cover?

  12. I'm heading out to see my leg man for a tune-up, but I thank you all for the kind comments.

    Shawn, I have a .jpg of (what was supposed to be) the final cover art posted on Photobucket here. It's not very large, and I don't know how it will resize, but it's available for anyone who wants it.

    I do ask that if anyone downloads the image that you not use it on anything but the book you purchase. I know I was kidding around last month about printing out the original art, going around and gluing it over the stock in the stores, but unless you own the book that is vandalism, it's illegal, and would get you in a lot of trouble.

  13. Pink or not, we've had it in stock at Murder One in London for a while already, and it's selling very well. :)

  14. Buy it because you want to read what's inside. That is the only reason you should ever buy any book.

    Buy it because the book is terrific. I could barely drag myself away from reading it to go to work and resumed as soon as I got home. (After a quick pup-cuddle.)

    Lynn, I went to to grab an image of the cover to use on my blog post about Stay the Night. They have the non-pink version online. The publisher uploaded the image before the pinking.

  15. Shellene12:08 PM

    Sterca Sancta!

    That was the original cover..... Those......ugh!!!
    I'm going to fed-ex kinkos print it, take back my other book from my sis and slap the cover on and keep it as a keepsake.

  16. If it's Lynn Viehl/Darkyn, I'm buying it no matter the cover.
    I trusted others to do the right thing instead of making sure they did.
    Really sucks. But you've got a loyal core fan base and more incoming via your online marketing strategy.

  17. I'll be at the bookstore this week to get my copy...even with the pink cover. I loved Stay the Night(I won one of the ARCs) and want one of the covers to go with the rest in the series.

  18. A rose by any other name is still a rose and a great book under any other cover is still a great book.

    It's whats inside that counts. I read a lot. I buy a lot of books and I have never not bought or bought a book based solely on its cover.

    I have the pink book. It's not so bad cover wise. And inside it's great :)


  19. What do you mean, "see how the series ends..."????
    This is the last Darkyn novel??? Please, no! you can't just end it!

  20. If its any consolation... I like the cover. It looked really nice sitting on the shelf at B&N. Great book I loved it.

  21. The cover could be covered in fuzzy cute kittens and I'd still buy, so long as your name was on it.

    The book is going to rock, regardless of the cover.

    And you can always look at it this way...we've all got to deal with bad cover luck every now and then. Considering how much you and pink just ...well...aren't, you're probably set for a while and will have smooth cover sailing for the foreseeable future.

  22. Karen W.8:07 PM

    If it makes you feel any better, Lynn, the manager of my bookstore said to tell you she really likes the pink cover. :-) And we've already sold a couple copies, which is what counts!

  23. But don't invest in Stay the Night simply because it's got an ugly pink cover, or may glow in the dark, or can double as a tanning bed.

    Too late. I already ordered it.

    I'm not convinced that the seventh (and last?) book is a good starting point into a series and I'm not a big fan of vampire stories. So I probably wouldn't have bought it with it's original cover art.

    But when I recently browsed through Amazon, it popped up among my suggestions so I thought I could make myself a birthday present...

    That's why I'm looking forward to a blind date with a pink book :-)

    Oh, by the way: Is there anything I should read in advance or is the novel self-contained?

  24. read this book in a day, OMG, can not wait til NOV. ....I can only assume... we will see more of the darkyn, just not main story characters anymore....
    ROBIN....omg love him.... loved the book, pink or not.. you are a wonderful writer.....

  25. Lynn,

    It wouldn't matter to me what color the cover was, I would've bought it. I actually got it this weekend and I kinda liked the cover.

    I can't wait to read Robyn's story. I'm reading the short story, Master of Shadows right now on my Kindle. As soon as I finish it, I plan on starting Robyn's book.

    Although, I have to say I am sad to see this story end. I have enjoyed the Darkyn series very much. It is one of my favorites and one I always recommend to other's looking for something else to read.