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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

New RIVA covers... maybe it's just me being a humbug?

Okay, so the Mills & Boon RIVA imprint re-launch is well underway and we got to see some of the new covers today.

Under the guise of 'research', I'd be interested to see if my initial response was just me being a grouch and saying "bah, humbug," for the sake of it so here are three covers, all for the same book (click on them to enlarge if you need to) used with kind permission from the author - thanks Liz.

Cover 1

Cover 2

Cover 3

The blurb:
"Bag: packed. Flight: booked. Soon I'll be in Rome and experiencing life in a foreign language! Watch this space...
Newly single Sarah Gratton is determined to enjoy her holiday—could a just-for-fun romance with dark-eyed Matteo di Serrone be the answer? This Italian count is ideal flirting material—if Sarah's brave enough to make a move!
Well, she might not be—but luckily Matteo is! Matteo decides to keep this mysterious woman close—no hardship at all, given their spine-tingling awareness of each other...
It's like something out of a fairy tale—until Sarah realizes she's made the most rookie mistake of all: falling in love with her holiday fling..."

Which of the three do you like the most and what is it that that you like about it?  Also, which do you think represents the book and genre the best?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts so don't go holding back on me...

15/8/12 22:55 Edited to add another example, using We'll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart:

  



34 comments:

  1. Ok, I'll go out on a limb here and say that I prefer Cover no1. I really LOATHE the cartoony one because it would just blend in with the other chick lit books on my bookshelves. I have been a loyal M&B reader for many years, however my faith in it has gone downhill since they had been jumping on the 50 shades bandwagon and now with these covers. I have always wanted something printed with them, but now Im not so sure. I will stay loyal to authors I know and love, but sorry M&B big thumbs down for me!

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    1. Thanks kooks, at least I'm not the only 'humbug' LOL

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  2. Now that I've seen them all, I think I'd choose the first one. I like seeing the real men. I'd choose the 2nd one, if it had the man in it, as it's more modern than the first one, but yes, the 3rd one is very chick lit, but in terms of buying the book, I think the first two would have more impact for me.

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    1. Thanks Louise, I am a huge fan of the US Harlequin Romance versions, I think they are much nicer but suspect they will also be swallowed up as part of the KISS launch soon :(

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  3. I find the Romance covers dull(#1). As someone who only saw #2 online(I live in North America), I liked #2 just fine. But, if they felt the need to repackage them, then it seems like they weren't selling like they should under #2.

    If that is the case, it's good business to repackage them on a trial basis at least.

    That said: I like #3. I like the more modern illustrations better(like Leah Ashton and Heidi Rice's covers), but I do think this one is cute--if somewhat 50ish looking. It's got whimsy and sass, imo :)

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    1. Thanks Amalie, it's great to get an alternative viewpoint.

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  4. For what it's worth, you can find my thoughts on Liz Fielding's blog... http://lizfielding.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/riva-is-back.html

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  5. For me, I think #1 is looking slightly dated - it's just a little bit unreal and lovey-dovey, I like #2 - it's more fresh and modern, although I agree with Louise about it needing a man! But #3 has the thumbs down because to me it shouts out 'chick-lit' and I never liked this style of cover (even for chick-lit). This particular cover also has her looking a contortionist, can any woman pucker up in that position unless they've just taken a gold medal in gymnastics?! And how would I know it's about Italy, or a holiday fling?
    I think, as Amalie says, this is about sales however in the past they have had unique, distinctive branding and I personally think this has been lost in these covers.

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    1. Thanks Susie, I agree that the branding is being swallowed up but I wonder if that is a conscientious thing to get away from the unfortunate stigma that still seems to hover over Mills & Boon?

      I can also see that #1 is looking a bit outdated but still prefer it over #3. The #2 50/50 covers seemed a bit hit and miss, some were good but others not so good but again, it still said 'flirty romance' and had real people on it so preferable to #3.

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  6. Great post!
    I agree the first one is dated and the second one screams Chick Lit (they remind me of the Hello Kitty stuff!)
    I like #2 but I detest the way M & B put the Win $5000 type ads on the covers. It immediately makes the book a throw away for me. By the way I think there is a man lurking under the ad!
    Shades of Grey imitations are just bandwagon jumping too.
    M & B have to be applauded for trying something different. It would be interesting to know the dates of the covers #1 and #2

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    1. Thanks Tea (how do I do the accent??), I can see why a change was needed but I don't think going chick-lit or shades of 50 Shades is the right direction. I guess the proof will be in the sales figures...

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  7. I quite like the new covers - there's an element of flirty-ness and fun to them. But having read Ms Fielding's book Flirting with Italian and enjoyed it immensely, the first cover gets my vote, simply because it suits the style and story so much more than the other two - it's romantic and it has that lovely Italian background. I'm a firm believer in covers reflecting what is inside the book but striking the right balance between the M&B brand and individualising each book must be a corporate nightmare.

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    1. Thank you for commenting.

      I do like the new covers but I don't think they are right for a romance novel. Nor do they appear to have much relevance to the actual story, almost like it's 'match the picture to the slightest hint of plot' rather than selecting/creating the best image to reflect the book.

      I feel like the branding is being lost altogether and can't help thinking it's also a cost-cutting exercise as much as a re-branding but it can't be easy being the one in charge. I know I wouldn't want the job!

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  8. I don't like the covers with real people. This comes from reading to many books where the description in the book doesn't match the people on the cover. It's not to hard to hire a model with the correct hair color and style.

    The second one seems fake. Like she's trying to hard to get the man.

    I would chose the flirty cartoon. I guess because I'm the type of person that actually smiles when I see :)

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    1. Thanks Faith, I have to agree with you about getting annoyed when the front cover bears no resemblance to the characters in the story.

      I like the fun aspect of the new cover but it doesn't say 'romance' and it makes me think it's yet another chick-lit book all about the girl rather than the emotional and conflicted journey of both hero and heroine.

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  9. Don't like the new covers and wouldn't pick one up in the store. That said, M&B knows more about selling romance than I do. :)

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    1. Thank you for commenting.

      Time will tell whether these prove better sellers but I don't think I'd even notice these in a book store let alone pick one up.

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  10. I'd choose either the first or second.

    The first seems like the kind of romance people associate with M&B romance. The second cover is the covers that got me reading Riva - they are different and fresh - they represent in my opinion the concept of Riva stories.

    The third is too generic!

    And I have to agree with Manda, I always wanted to be published by M&B but I have to question that now - they seem to be going with other publishers and worrying more about being mainstream than being concerned about publishing what their readers want.

    Granted this will probably bring in more readers - but also the covers seem suitable for a younger audience which is worrying as some can be VERY descriptive.

    But that's my opinion - don't mean to offend anyone, Sorry!!

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    1. Thanks Anna, I'm another that wonders about the direction that M&B are taking and whether I want to jump aboard. When you compare these covers to the likes of Entangled et al, I know which one I'd choose.

      I agree that these new covers seem to be targeted at a younger audience and makes me feel too old to be reading them ;o)

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  11. I like the new covers a lot. I think that the first set of covers appeal to people who are already M&B readers. The second set didn't work too well for anyone. The new covers match the mood of the Riva books which is quite chick-litty in some ways. They are younger, lighter books and the cover says that to me. These will be an easy, fun read. They are quite different in tone from the Modern books and the covers reflect that. I think the new covers will do a good job of attracting new readers to M&B.

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    1. Thanks Ros, I think the new covers are too vague and too deceptive, being marketed as chick-lit rather than contemporary romance but you're right in that these will probably draw in new readers, it's just a shame if they happen to turn off a lot of existing readers in the process.

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  12. I'm an (extreme) late comer to the world of M&B, so it's cover #2 that gets my vote, because that's what I started out buying.
    #1 is lovely for a classic trope eg sheik/billionaire romance.
    #2 I think young and sexy/flirty story. More older brothers bff, friends to lovers or enemies to lovers for that matter.
    #3 first impression is chick lit and it's going to be all about the heroine, not the couple.
    X But hey that's just my gut when I look at these. X

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  13. I'm an (extreme) late comer to the world of M&B, so it's cover #2 that gets my vote, because that's what I started out buying.
    #1 is lovely for a classic trope eg sheik/billionaire romance.
    #2 I think young and sexy/flirty story. More older brothers bff, friends to lovers or enemies to lovers for that matter.
    #3 first impression is chick lit and it's going to be all about the heroine, not the couple.
    X But hey that's just my gut when I look at these. X

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    1. Thanks Mel, I completely agree with you about #2 & #3, especially that #3 gives the impression that it's all about the girl type chick-lit rather than the couple.

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  14. One of my problems with the type 1 covers, even when they are attractive, is telling if the book is light or funny (my favs). They are VERY generic.
    Overall, I liked the 50/50 covers - it said 'young' and you got a sense of the tone of the story from the models' expressions. I will, however, concede that some were unfortunate and put me off buying them.
    The cartoon covers say chick lit, which is not a true representation of these books, but they also do say light and funny (so that problem finally solved). BUT I'd be less likely to buy them, based on cover alone, as I don't read chick lit.
    (Best cover for We'll Always Have Paris is the Australian version in my opinion, excusing the dreadful category typeface -http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781460813201. Interesting, attractive models who look like they'd have fun together! And suddenly it's a story I want to read!)

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    1. Thanks Jo, it seems a lot of us are skeptical about the new covers. I tried to follow your link but it said image unavailable so I guess you must be due for the relaunch too?

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  15. i love cover number one! Have always loved the traditional style :-) x

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  16. Count me in as a traditionalist who likes #1. #2 for both books doesn't do it for me, and #3 is too cartoonish, too much like every other cover of a chick lit novel for me to say anything but, "Meh" and shrug my shoulders.

    I wouldn't even pick up these books with the #3 covers, because if I'm looking for a romance why would I even see a cover that makes me think I'm buying a chick lit book?

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  17. I'm a traditionalist, so #1 gets my vote! #2 doesn't cut it (don't know why, but those covers don't really draw my attention), and #3 is so chick lit that I'd never even pick up a book with that kind of cover! However, they're obviously trying to market to a younger generation, so maybe my input isn't even needed (I'm going to be 49 in a couple of months!).

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    1. Thanks SancyCo, I'm mid-thirties and I feel too old for these new covers - and I rarely pick up a chick-lit book these days - so it's not just you.

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  18. Does anybody else think these new covers are just like the books that used to be giving away for free with Cosmo magazine back in the nineties and noughties?

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  19. I have to agree with Ros... I think the new covers a really nice. I understand the arguments coming from long term M&B readers about the drastic change in style, but I think that with RIVA as its still a relatively new brand there's a chance to get a whole new audience interested in romance. With a brand like Modern, there is such an establish audience that they could virtually do anything to the covers and people will still buy them, but RIVA is starting from scratch!

    I'm in my 20s and these new covers are much more appealing to me - they are young, fun, flirty, and light and for me that is exactly what the RIVA books are all about. Yes, the covers are a little chick-lit-y but what's wrong with that?!

    I quite liked the original covers (cover #2) but I'm not really a fan of photo covers. Most of the time the images used don't reflect the actual characters in the books, and since stock images are used rather than hiring models and photographing for each cover a lot of the images are reused or come up on other books by other publishes. Also, for me, having photographs of people on the front feels a cheap.

    In a way, these new covers are like the books have come full circle after all up until the late 90s all M&B covers were illustrated.

    In the end it's the content that matters, never judge a book etc! It's great that it's got us all talking though.

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    1. Thank you for commenting.

      I'm all for illustrations as long as they reflect the content of the book as well as the mood. I guess I'd have preferred to see #1 brought up to date and combined with #3 and have an artist draw their representation of the story based on the actual characters and setting.

      When I look at the new covers, they tell me nothing at all about the book. In the case of We'll Always Have Paris, there isn't even a man on the cover so I would see it as a book about a girl having a holiday fling in Paris, which doesn't bear any resemblance to the plot at all, and wouldn't even bother to turn it over to read the blurb or click on the link for more information.

      If the new re-launched RIVA is the crossover imprint between Cherish (Romance) and Modern (Presents) then I can see why they are targeting the 20-something. Definitely good coffee table discussion though LOL

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