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Covers — You Can Judge

So I spent the past few days at the Romantic Times conference.  It was an experiment that I don’t think was all that successful for me as a science fiction writer, but was an introduction to another low prestige genre like S.F.

The readers were lovely, very enthusiastic, like S.F. fans a lot of them are aspiring writers.  I was less happy with the cost of the convention — substantial and the fact they were additional charges to the women (and it was predominately women) for events.  I’m used to Science fiction conventions where for local cons you’re looking at $40.00 to $60.00 for a weekend.  The RT conference makes Worldcon look cheap.  $500.00 for the RT conference.

Today was the big Book Fair at the convention.  I had been told that authors books just flew off the tables.  I always have low expectations about signings so I only had Barnes and Noble bring in 15 paperbacks of THE EDGE OF REASON, and 7 hardcover copies of THE EDGE OF RUIN.  Good thing.

I was seated next to a woman who writes horror and mysteries.  On my right was a very nice woman who’s covers showed hard bodied, shirtless men and languid woman.  Beyond the horror/mystery writer was a writer with covers that were traditional romance covers.

The doors were opened then the crowds of readers flowed in.  Women moved up and down the long line of tables in this immense ballroom.  I would watch women’s eyes scanning the covers of the books, and their eyes seemed to bounce off the covers of my books, and the mystery writer’s books.  They weren’t seeing anything that would draw them in.

So when people tell you that a cover doesn’t make the book, or covers don’t really matter they are full of it.  Covers are signals to readers telling them this is a book they will like.  Take urban fantasy — girl, tattoo, knife, etc.  It’s branding and it’s important.  What I took away from this was the realization that I need to be much more proactive about my covers.

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