Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits with Kari: Featuring The Importance of Book Packaging

Okay, so Liz's post on openings got me thinking about other aspects of books that are sooo important. Like the packaging of a book. Covers and blurbs and quotes and teasers for instance. Studies show that readers are first drawn to a great cover and title. Then they flip the book over and read the blurb. Finally, they open the cover and read the quotes and most importantly the teaser. If the teaser does it's job, they might actually read the first page, and if you're really lucky, they buy the book. So if a book's packaging is off, it truly can affect the sales of a book.

Covers have to reflect the tone of a book, and the title has to hint at what the book is about and the genre. What goes on the back cover of a book called the book blurb is more of a book summary, but what goes inside the cover is more of an actual teaser of what the writing and voice are like, and is usually a great way to hook the reader into wanting to read more. And quotes from fellow authors lend testimony and credibility to a book's value. If one of your favorite authors says you have to read this, it's great...then chances are you will believe him or her and take a chance on it, especially if it's a new series by a debut author.

So I thought I'd share what the amazing people at Berkley Prime Crime have come up with for my debut mystery TEMPEST IN THE TEA LEAVES: A FORTUNE TELLER MYSTERY. By the way, the book comes out in August, but you can pre-order it now at http://www.karileetownsend.com/10.html

For the cover they did a great job of capturing the cozy feel of the novel. The colors are gorgeous, and the added elements of the tea set, old fashioned street lamp, and immortal cat are intriguing enough to capture a reader's eye.

For the title they chose a clever play on the saying, "Tempest in a Tea Pot" which means there's a storm brewing in a small place or basically making a big deal out of something trivial or innocent. So in my case with Tempest in the Tea Leaves, the authorities are pointing a finger at Sunny when she didn't do anything wrong except try to warn the poor librarian, but now she has to clear her name.

As for quotes, I received some fabulous ones by some pretty incredible authors:

"My tea leaves and my tarot cards agree--Kari Lee Townsend is riding a bullet-train straight to the top. I predict this vivacious, talented author will soon join the ranks of the superstars. Tempest in the Tea Leaves is a stellar launch for the Fortune Teller Mysteries, and every one of them is destined to become a classic. the author herself--well, she already is. And soon the whole world will know it!"--NY Times Bestselling Author of Twilight Prophecy, Maggie Shayne

"Stephanie Plum, watch out! A perky, quirky psychic named Sunny Meadows is right behind you and catching up. The smart, funny, and gutsy fortune teller is a delightful new star on the psychic horizon. Witty, captivating, and refreshing."--Author of The Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series, Cynthia Riggs

"Kari Lee Townsend has a hit with her delightful new series about a fortune teller who finally leaves home to pursue her dreams and finds herself solving a murder. A little romance, a big white cat, and a Victorian house make for a fun read. The true meaning of what Sunny sees always reveals itself--and in this case, a killer."--Author of A Touch of Gold, Joyce Lavene

Next comes the back cover blurb:

In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal--and her predictions can be lethally accurate...

Leaving behind the Big Apple for the quaint town of Divinity, NY, Sunny is determined to make it on her own as a psychic. With an ancient Victorian house as her place of business, Sunny uses various tools to interpret her visions. and aid the town's residents. But when she uses tea leaves to give a reading for a frazzled librarian, what she finds at the bottom of the cup is anything but helpful.

Sunny informs the police of her deadly vision, but her warning comes too late. And with hard-nosed, ruggedly handsome Detective Mitch Stone denying her abilities and naming her as prime suspect, it doesn't take a crystal ball to see that the situation is dire. Now Sunny will have to use her visions to clear her name, before the killer can put an end to the psychic's future...

And finally, the inside teaser...

A Psychic Suspect
Twenty minutes later, I heard sirens wailing and screeching in the distance. My heart started pounding, and all I could do was pray it wasn't the librarian. Or if it was, then maybe they'd gotten to her in time and caught the bad guy before he could hurt her. Either way, justice must be done.
The siren was so loud now, it sounded like it was right outside. I went to peer out the window and jumped back when someone pounded on my door.
"Who is it?"
"Detective Stone, Miss Meadows. Open up."
I scrunched up my face. What on earth was the detective doing back at my house? Exhausted and weary, I wanted this day to be over. I opened the door wide to a pair of handcuffs dangling from his fingertips.
"W-What exactly do you plan to do with those?" My voice hitched.
"Nothing if you come along peacefully." His eyes studied me as he finished with, "I'm taking you in."
I pushed my fear aside and allowed my outrage to consume me. "Taking me in for what? I haven't done anything wrong."
He simply stared me in the eye with that stern unreadable expression of his. "Just doing my job," he answered, his deep voice void of emotion. "Sunshine Meadows, you're wanted for questioning about the murder of Amanda Robbins."
So tell me...what do you think of this book's packaging? Have they done their job? Are you hooked into reading more? And share with us the teasers for your own books or one's you've picked up to read. What hooked you or made you want to read more? In fact, what do you all value most as a reader? Titles? Covers? Quotes? Blurbs? Teasers?
Inquiring minds want to know :-)


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Okay, people, let me have it....what do you all think?

I have to say I am really excited about this series :-)

Mary Martinez said...

Wonderful post. I love the quotes you received from fabulous authors.

I agree with you. People do judge a book by it's cover. Your cover is very enticing and tells a tale of it's own.

Good luck with the series.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Mary! I LOVE my cover. We'll see how it works out come August :-)

Donna Cummings said...

I think it's all wonderful -- I adore the cover and would pick it up for that reason alone. It makes me think of someplace I'd love to hang out, and sit and read. :)

I don't read the teasers in the front of books anymore. I go straight to the first page and start reading -- if they hook me there, I buy it!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Donna! I have to admit, I still do read teasers. Not sure why, but I always read that first and then the first page. I guess because many first pages really can be misleading. Sucking someone in is so hard to do, and sometimes I won't buy a book if the first page isn't good. But the teaser is usually right when a book starts getting good, so I tend to rely more on that than the first page. Cuz if even the teaser isn't good, then there's really not much hope for the rest of the book.

Anita Clenney said...

Love it, Kari! I think the packaging is really important. I always look at the cover, then see if the blurb hits me right. Your cover is very appealing. This series sounds just great. I can't wait until it comes out.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Anita! I'm thrilled with it all. I can't wait until August!!

Lindsay said...

For me with the author quotes, it's more who they are than what they say.

Liz Lipperman said...

Kari, you already know what I think. After reading the book, I can tell you that Berkley captured the essence of the story. I love Morty the cat and the quaintness of the house and front porch.

I can't wait for this book to come out, and I'm on my way right now to Amazon to preorder it.

People, go order it. It is well worth it.

Good job, girl.

Cassy Pickard said...

What a great group we have here!! Kari, this is great. I'm so glad you posted the bits you did. BUT, I want more.

I agree that the teasers are important. But, now that your name is out there, people will be looking for you, not just the endorsement from others.

Go, girl.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Liz and thanks Cassy ;-)

Hey, Liz, is your book up for pre-order yet? Like I said, I only got to read a partial so I'm DYING for the rest.

If it is available, then right back at you....it would be well worth it for everyone to pre-order yours!