The Cat Mafia Says: Put a Reader on Your Book Cover

Pity the poor novelist. Some authors Miss Crankypants knows are raffling off Kindles, giving away fruit baskets and offering to come scrub toilets, if only readers will buy their book.
Miss CP thinks authors who are willing to give away their first born son in order to sell books are overlooking a great marketing tool. Instead of those gimmicks where they’ll print a book with YOUR CHILD’S NAME in every line, why don’t more authors hold contests to see which reader’s photo will be on the cover of the author’s next book?
Miss Cranky warns you, though: her three criminal cats will try to stack the deck. Ever since they got their own digital cameras, they go around snapping pix of the family in compromising positions. If you see a photo of Miss Crankypants looking like the Godfather with a bad hangover, you’ll know she’s being held hostage, forced to open endless cans of tuna for the Cat Mafia.
Still, picture this: Instead of another book cover sporting a floating head wearing an Amish bonnet, you could challenge each of your readers to send in a photo of herself. If you write historicals, your reader can dress up like a pioneer or a duchess. Got suspense? How about a closeup of your reader playing dead? Think of all the fake blood, plastic gory gashes and phony rotted teeth left over from Halloween that could be used up. Or how about biblical fiction? Those ugly heavy drapes nobody likes anymore might come in handy for robes. But watch out–fiberglass curtains will make you itch.
Miss Crankypants’ own mother once put fiberglass curtains through the washing machine. What was she thinking? The entire family wore itchy underwear for a month.
Now you haven’t really lived until your underpants are driving you mad during math class. Miss CP fled her desk and was found weeks later hiding in the girls’ bathroom, living the recurring nightmare of getting to school minus underpants.
But back to book covers.
Next time you have a new book coming out, don’t bother having readers vote on the boring covers suggested by the art department. Keep your fruit basket and don’t max out your credit cards buying Kindles. Instead, have your readers submit cool photos of themselves doing wacky wonderful things–with all their clothes on, we hope. Readers will riot to get their hands on the book, just to see themselves in living color. That is, until they see themselves mugging the camera like the Godfather with the worst-ever hangover. The Cat Mafia will stop at nothing to dominate the publishing industry. Anything to get more canned tuna.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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