Monday, November 7, 2005

A change in branding

When an author writes for the same publisher, her books tend to have a similar look, at least if the books are similar in tone and published within a span of a few years. Marianne Stillings, whose contemporary romances I've really enjoyed, has had two cartoon covers like the one for The Damsel in This Dress. Cute. I like cartoon covers, but it seems to me there's been a bit of a backlash against them, and a return to beefcake covers.

This certainly seems to be the case with Marianne's books. After two cute cartoon covers, her next book, Sighs Matter, has a serious beefcake attack. Not that I'm complaining or anything; I like beefcake, too. But I wonder why the change. Are cartoon covers really on their way out, or does Avon think the packaging on her books isn't quite right, and that she could sell more books with sexier covers? Does the switch to what the Smart Bitches call man-titty reflect the current enthusiasm in New York for hotter books? As I recall, the book was originally called Claire and Present Danger, so it appears they're playing down the suspense angle as well, in favor of a sexier title.

Beats the heck out of what the reasons behind this are. But I find the change interesting... and surprising.


  1. Uh, wow. The covers couldn't be more different.

    I like Claire and Present Danger as a title better, too.

  2. Definitely different covers. I personally like the others as I'm not a beefcake fan, but....other probably will.

  3. Well, I like both beefcake and cartoon covers, so I don't know that I have a preference. And of course authors (particularly NY authors) don't have a lot of control over covers or titles. I was just startled by the difference, and wondered if this change represents a shift in NY's attitudes in general, or a marketing decision about Stillings' books in particular.

  4. Oh, this is interesting, Ellen! I have to say that I’m attracted to both types of covers, the cartoon ones as well as the beefcake.

    No doubt Avon wants to test the difference in Stillings’ sales between the two very different covers. It will be interesting to see which type of cover is chosen for her next book.

  5. I loved her first two, and the cartoon cover with Claire and Present Danger on the front would have practically screamed Stillings and lept into my cart. I probably wouldn't even have noticed it was hers if you didn't mention it here. Now I know what I'm looking for, at least.

  6. Anyone notice that the cover has her as the author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and EVIL rather than EVIE? That could be a problem...