Can You Really Judge a Book By Its Cover? Covers, Reissues, and Giveaways

Thumbnail image for Rising Tides 2010 Trade.jpg
The cover to the left is the newest for my novel Rising Tides, originally released in 1997 and scheduled to be re-released in this lovely edition in November of 2010. 

Reissues can present both problems and possibilities for authors.  On the possibility side, reissues give new readers a chance to enjoy novels we wrote before they knew they wanted them. 

At the Virginia Festival of the Book this past weekend, I was asked repeatedly when Prospect Street would be reissued, and of course, what about my Shenandoah Album novels, the first three of which have gone out of print.  Readers have resorted to used copies (a problem for authors who get no royalties and prefer eating three meals a day) or eBooks, which are not a problem since eBooks will probably never go out of print and do come with royalties attached.  But not all our backlist is in eBook form, and not all of you have eReaders.

So reissues, with one caveat, are good for authors.  But the caveat?  Unhappy readers who didn’t know they were getting a novel they’d already read, because the cover–and sometimes the title–have changed.  In a moment I’ll tell you how to avoid that with my books and everyone else’s, too. Read on.

Rising Tides original.jpgHas Rising Tides been languishing all this time?  Not at all.  My publisher has been particularly supportive of both Rising Tides and Iron Lace, the first in the two book series.  The cover to the right is the original, which was released in mass market paperback. 

Rising Tides First Trade.jpgYou’ll see the next edition to the left, a trade paperback version, with a cover that. . .  well, you decide.  It’s certainly a different more “literary” look, which was the intent.

Below are some other versions.  The first, on the left, is the next US edition, a limited edition mass market paperback.  And in conclusion, some of the many, many “foreign” editions, including two you’ll see in English, one for the UK market and the other for the Australian and New Zealand market.

Rising Tides 1st MMP reprint.jpg
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Rising Tides Australian NZ.jpg

I think some of these covers are more successful than others.  I like the newest one, which continues the “beach” theme of my Happiness Key novels, but with a more serious look to it. The new Iron Lace cover (coming in September 2010) is equally striking. (By the way, today I saw a “new” version of my “old” Iron Lace selling for $114 on Amazon.  Get it while it’s hot.) 

How about you?  Do you have a favorite of these Rising Tides covers?  Between now and May 1st, comment on this blog and tell us yours. Three winners of a random “drawing” (using from all appropriate comments, will receive copies of both Iron Lace and Rising Tides, in the most recent mass market editions.  To comment, click on “comments” under the title of this blog and enter your own on the form. 

And remember my promise to help you distinguish reissues from new releases? It’s not as hard as it seems. Always check the copyright date in the front, which is usually several pages into the novel.  This is the date the novel first went into print, or at least, most of the time.  Occasionally a novel has been changed or updated enough to get a new copyright date–although not mine, at least not so far.  If you buy a novel and find you have read it?  You loved it once, and it’s still a good read.  Wrap it up and give it to your best friend for Christmas with one of my signed bookplates.  Neither of you will regret it.


  1. Karen on March 24, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    My favorite cover is the beach scene. It would be the one that would grab my attention first on the shelf. Thanks for the contest…love your books!

  2. Alicia Farage on March 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I really liked the the latest cover (woman on beach) and would find myself reaching for it on a shelf. I’m so looking forward to the next Happiness Key novel.

  3. Marilyn Seitz on March 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I guess I’m a true American, because I like the cover selected for the American readers. Go figure. So glad some of the old ones will be coming out! I just discovered you with the Shenandoah series and have devoured everything available ever since. Keep us posted!

  4. Audrey Bonnell on March 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I love the new cover for Rising Tides. The blues really stand out and give it that ocean look. I can almost see myself there. The cover with the floral on it is really pretty too and I love the way it looks. I am not sure who your designer is but I have to give them a thumbs up. Love them all but the newest one and the floral are by far the best. Can’t wait to get them to add to my collection of books by my favorite author.

  5. Sue Goodin on March 24, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    My favorite cover is the 2nd the purple one with the parted drapes. I just want to sit on the bed and look out while I’m reading your wonderful novels.

  6. LucyJoy on March 24, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I like the one that’s kind of pink/purple in color, looking through the blinds to the water. It looks ethereal.

  7. Tara Jo on March 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    my favorite is the new beach scene cover 😉

  8. Donna Maine on March 24, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I love your books!! I think the newest cover is the best too!

  9. Kay Myhrman-Toso on March 25, 2010 at 7:37 am

    What fun to have a sneak peek into the upcoming re-issue. Thank you!
    I am most drawn to the newest cover, loving the way the color connects your name, the ocean and the woman’s dress (is that a dress?) Might the appeal of a cover change, depending on the time of the year that one buys a book? I know that I’m impatiently waiting for spring, and thus would love to walk into this beach scene.
    After watching the video of how a book cover is created (your previous FB link), I will never again take a cover for granted. Nevertheless, I’d still love to know what inspired the “literary” cover! I wasn’t sure what it was, until I clicked the thumbnail to a larger size. “Oh, it’s the shadow of a window frame, and the edge of a carpet. OK…” That monochromatic cover is a prime example of “not judging a book by its cover.” To me, it doesn’t accurately represent the heart of your books, Emilie. Because your writing is so wonderful, I like to see when the cover measures up to the caliber of your work. This new cover is “spot-on” as the Brits say!

  10. Deborah Tyson on March 25, 2010 at 8:32 am

    My favorite Rising Tides cover is the one looking out the window. I read Rising Tides a couple of years ago and loved it!

  11. Emilie Richards on March 25, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I love everybody’s comments. Kay, we’re in agreement on the more “literary” cover treatment. I think my publisher is now trying to convey a more accurate feel for my books with warmer, softer cover treatments that are not “romance” but “romantic” in the classical sense of the word. It’s interesting that so many of the commenters so far have liked the one looking out the window. That’s the British version. I’m going to pass this blog on to my publisher and let them see the feedback. They work so hard and care so much.

  12. Diane Chamberlain on March 25, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Stunning new cover, Emilie! I’m about to write a similar post next week when my next reissue comes out, but I just may steer people to your post instead! You do a great job explaining the ins and outs of the world or reissues. It’s always a challenge to help our books find a new new generation of readers without alienating those who have been faithful to us for so long.

  13. Emilie Richards on March 25, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Send them over. But I bet they’ll enjoy looking at the original and the reissue of yours, although you may already have done that. I like what our mutual publisher is doing with your reissues, too. We’re lucky.

  14. Terri Zinchiak on March 25, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Personally, I love the new beach cover! I like to look at the cover of a book and “picture” the story inside based on what I’m seeing on the outside. I also like to take myself, mentally, into the place the cover shows. I can picture myself easily walking along that beach. Love it!

  15. Evie on March 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I prefer the one with the beach house with the orangy/purplish sky. This was the one that caught my attention when searching for a book and seeing that it was a sequel, I also bought Iron Lace at the same time. I recently received a Nook for Christmas and downloaded some of my favorites – Rising Tides was one of them, Iron Lace was not available which I truly regretted.

  16. Charlotte S on March 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I would vote for the new cover. Would love to be entered into the drawing since these are 2 of your books that I have not read. Thanks.
    Charlotte S-no blog

  17. Debbie Best on March 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I like the newest cover at the beach. These are a few of your books I have not read yet. Currently reading “Ministry Is Murder” series – GREAT! Quilting ones next.

  18. Emily P. W. Murphy on March 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I can’t decide between the new one and the purple one with the window. They both have beautiful colors and imagery.

  19. Becky in Georgia on March 27, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I think my favorite is the one of the picture of the house in brown tones. I love that your books are being reissued. My MIL in Louisiana is a reader and has very limited access to books. When I find one of the reissued ones, I can buy it and mail it to her. Just finished Happiness Key. Enjoying that series,too. Thanks for wonderful reads!

  20. Laney4 on March 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I like the purple one looking out the window too. I think that light purple is calming, and the line of sunlight gives hope.
    I don’t care for the purple flowers everywhere on one cover. It seems too “busy” and loses the calmness/beauty for me.
    I DO like your first cover with the girl on the beach — just not quite as much as the purple cover. It’s pretty close, though!
    After all, the title is Rising Tides, so I think there should be water of some sort on the cover!

  21. Emilie Richards on March 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks, Laney. And I like to think the water lapping at her feet in the beach cover is the rising tide. Very early in the story, of course.

  22. Diane Whitworth on April 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I love the newest covers in the style of Happiness Key (loved it!) and now Rising Tides. The blues and ocean settings set the tone and “beach” setting, which I have an affinity for. A few years ago, after reading about someone who chose books based on a “theme”, I decided to read “beach” books, ones with covers that depicted ocean/beach scenes. That decision led me to many of my now favorite authors (now, with and without beach scene covers) but it’s amazing how many “beach scene” covered books there are out there. Thanks, Emilie, for your delightful books!

  23. Debbie Hearne on April 29, 2010 at 7:32 am

    I am drawn to the cover of the woman looking out to the ocean. Though I do not have her youth or beauty, this will be me in a few weeks. I will have my own dreams to fill and memories to make.

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