Guest Post: Judging a Book By Its Cover

Thank you Mia, for allowing me to be a guest.  It's a pleasure to be a part of your place in the blogosphere.
I don't think I'm alone in this when I say, "You shouldjudge a book by its cover".  That should be the goal of the book publisher and marketer (and even the writer).  The best books are the ones that delivered on its promises. 
Good writing is best when the reader is ready for it. So, if you want a reader to be satisfied, it's important that you properly set their expectations.  
This absolutely does not mean eliminating surprise (s).  All good entertainment begins with a good set up.  Movies have their trailers and their posters. Blockbuster movies become blockbuster because they deliver what they promise.  


Writers and Readers have a similar implied contract.  I'm not saying writers should just "give 'em what they want".  Instead, I'm saying: "tell 'em what you're going to give 'em".  Then, you can "make 'em want what you're going to give 'em".  

I love being entertained. I love my fav. TV shows. I love football and I love a really good movie. I love being able to be completely immersed in the story. Right now, my favorite movies are thrillers. The test of a good movie (especially in a thriller) is if my suspension of disbelief lasted from the opening title to the ending credits. 

Of course, I like comedies too. But comedies are rarely a safe bet.  I'm a tough critic. I feel cheated if a movie isn't what it promised. I feel cheated if I went to see a comedy and it turned out to be a drama with some funny scenes.  It's worse if all of the funny scenes were in the previews.  Then none of the funniness is a surprise. Surpriseis a big KEYfor funny.
It may sound like I don't like DRAMAs but I like dramas {in movies}. I just need to be mentally prepared. If I'm expecting a comedy I'm disappointed if it is really a drama instead.  It's like when you order an iced tea at a restaurant and when you take the first sip you realize it's soda. Not okay!
What about Romantic Comedies? These are almost always billed correctly. A little light entertainment with some laughter and romantic chemistry thrown in. These are the ultimate in feel good movies.  Romantic Comedies are the TIC TACs of movies.  ~A nice refreshing taste that doesn't linger too long.
Like I said, I love football.  So for me, the Super Bowl is all about the game.  But the really funny commercials are important to the whole Super Bowl experience.  On Monday there are just as many conversations about the commercials as there are about the game. 
This year, my favorite commercial is "don't have a grandson with a dog collar".  I hate my cable service. As far as I'm concerned, these warnings to give up cable could almost be public service announcements.   These announcements (ads) warn of the bad things that can happen when you have cable. Bad things like a "grandson with a dog collar" or "waking up in a roadside ditch". 
As writers we can learn from the pitfalls of movies masquerading as something they are not. In the case of writing, you don't have to know in the first draft what "it's gonna be". But by the end, you should know what "it is" and sell it that way. When I say sell it, I mean in the re-writes drive "it" home.  Believe it so that the reader can believe it.
Those "Give Up Cable" commercials epitomize "going there". It's outrageous, but they sold it. And sold it convincingly. Do whatever it takes in your writing to "go there".  Even if it means someone has to end up in a ditch with an eye patch. 

Kimberly writes at: Here's What I Think About That. She has an opinion on just about everything and is happy to share them with anyone that will listen (or read).