Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Covers recovered

More than a month ago, I told my editor's assistant that I hadn't received this envelope. It certainly wasn't Emily's fault--if you click on the photo and enlarge it, you'll see that she mailed it on September 20.

I live in the midwestern United States. This came from New York. The envelope was addressed correctly and legibly. C'mon, U. S. Postal Service--is it really that difficult?

When I turned in my "author alterations" on the line- and copyedited manuscript for this book, I missed my deadline by one day because the envelope I'd paid extra to have overnighted to New York City (via USPS Express Mail) took three days to arrive there. "The AAs are in the mail," I sheepishly explained to my editor when her own busy schedule was disrupted by the delay.

But maybe you're wondering about the photo. These are mock-ups of the "cover flats" of my March book. They're printed on glossy paper, and are given to booksellers to encourage them to place orders. I'm planning to frame one of them. When the book is printed, I'll get more of these on heavy card stock. Those will be the actual cover flats--the wrappers that go around the book pages.

Many authors use cover flats for promotions. I'm not sure I get the appeal, but some readers, librarians, and bookstore owners like to collect autographed cover flats. (If you want one, ask me later. I have only four of these things and I don't expect to get the actual cover flats before February.)

Weeks ago, I told Emily this envelope had apparently been lost in the mail. She said there were no copies of the fake cover flats (what do they call these things?) left to send me. Although she e-mailed a .jpg file so I could see what the front cover looks like, I was equally interested in the back cover; I wanted to see what had been written on it to entice people to buy the book.

So I was glad to (finally!) get this packet. I laughed at one line of the blurb, which is charmingly appropriate: The hero is described as "a knight in a bike helmet." The guy is, of course, a semi-pro cyclist.

Click on the pic to read the blurb, and then and run and mark your calendar: The on-sale date is February 28.


Julana said...

That is so exciting, in my humble book. You lucky duck.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

great cover!

Last month, I received two packages of books. The first, books that I was supposed to judge for a contest... problem is the package was postmarked 6 months prior, contest was over. The second package... was postmarked TWO years ago!!! (books that I was billed for and got nasty letters for not paying for.) I've said for over a year that my mail keeps getting lost and everyone thought I was nuts til those packages came. (I'm still missing books in the mail btw...)

Kristin said...

Just a word on the USPS--they don't guarantee overnight delivery. Read the fine print. You pay for it, and then there is no promise it will be there! How dumb is that?!

If you truly need something there overnight, always trust FedEx. More expensive, but it is guaranteed to be there overnight!

I love the back flap copy! The books sounds intriguing.

crissachappell said...

How much say did you have in the cover design?

Brenda Coulter said...

None at all, Crissachappell. I don't like to see people on the cover of a romance novel, so I'd never have chosen this one. But the marketing folks at Harlequin (which owns Steeple Hill Books) say this is a cover that will make people pick up the book.

Considering the longtime success of the Mighty Harlequin Machine, I'd have to be pretty dumb to argue with them about what is or isn't attractive to the average consumer.

Kristin and Heather--from now on, I'm a FedEx customer.

Danica said...

Gorgeous cover, Brenda!

Karen said...


I don't know if I can wait till february. Can you post and excerpt on your website. The book cover looks great and I am anxious to read it but I know it will be worth the wait.

Brenda Coulter said...

Thanks for asking, Karen. I'll be posting a huge chunk of Chapter 1 on my website. My goal is to do that next weekend. And I'll be sure to drop a note here on the blog so you won't miss it.

Lay-la said...

Hello, Brenda. Yes. I am very very very late. Almost as late as Heather Dianne's mail! Anyway, I don't see too much appeal in owning a cover flat signed by the author -- after all, there's no book.

I mean, isn't that what we buy books for? But I can see a minute amount of people who may desire that. There's some sort of novelty that this did not ever see pages. It's like "hey, this came before the book!" Plus it's flat. So there's some novelty there.

As for your other question, the one on promotion, you know they have a teaser on the back of the book, right? It gets them hungry for more. It's like when they go and pick up a book. What do (most) people do first? Pick up the cover and turn it over. Then, if it's good (which this one seems to be), they read it. Except, ultra-unfortunatley, they can't. So, they read it 20, say 25 times and then they rush over to Amazon and pre-order it. See?