Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Riva is back...

This was all over Facebook this morning!

Here's a closer look at the new cover on Flirting With Italian.

 So? What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Don't be shy. Enquiring minds want to know.

And if you haven't already read it, this new look edition will be available on the Mills and Boon website from 1st September. I won't let you forget!

Oh, and before I forget - a save the day note: I'll be giving a mini workshop in Melksham Libraryat 7pm on 18 September as part of the SYTYCW writing challenge.


Aurelia B Rowl said...

I do like the cover styles but I'm not really a fan unfortunately when it comes to M&B books.

They strike me as very chick-lit and rom-com, marketed towards a younger audience like 20-something, and they are not unlike the Wendy Holden covers from over a decade ago. They certainly don't speak to me as a romance novel and I miss having a real person on the front.

I doubt very much I'd give these a second glance if I saw them at a book shop. If anything, I think the new covers cheapen the brand and devalue the writing.

Do I prefer them to the old RIVA covers though? I'm not sure... maybe... I wasn't a great fan of the 50/50 style either. I still much prefer the US HQN Romance versions and am now fearing for them with the new KISS imprint underway.

Oh well, I'm sure M&B know what they're doing. It's just my tuppence worth ;)

Aurelia B Rowl said...

A-ha, it's just come to me. I knew they reminded me of something else but I couldn't put my finger on it... they are just the like the covers on the free books I used to get with Cosmo magazine sometimes back in the 90's.

Maybe I'm just a grump though? o_O

Romy Sommer said...

I loved the 50/50 diagonal covers and I'm really glad that's the copy of "Flirting with Italian" that I have.

While I don't dislike the new covers, the new illustrated versions just don't appeal to me. As Aurelia said, they seem a bit out-datedd rather than trendy and now.

Susie Medwell said...

I liked the 50/50 covers as well - they were fresh but still distinctive. With these new covers apart from them not being particularly 'modern', they also don't shout out a brand and I think they will just merge in with all the other books including rom-com and chick-lit. I don't hate the new covers, but they don't reach out and grab me either!

Vince said...

Hi Liz:

You’ve now had at least four different covers for “Flirting With Italian” in the English language alone.

I have three of the different covers featured on my review of “Flirting With Italian”. Feel free to download them from my site if you want to show them all here in one place.

Here is the headline for that review:

Is “Flirting With Italian” the Most Sensuous Liz Fielding Romance Ever?

Earthy, Vibrant, Sizzling: a Romance You Can Feel, Smell, Taste, Hear and Savor!

Only one of the four covers delivers visually on that promise. If you want to attract the attention of women readers who want to read about a romance in Italy with an Italian lover, that’s what you should put on the cover! The North American cover is perfect.

As a marketer I never want to take one chance of missing a single reader who would otherwise love reading a given book. The reader should know at a glance that it is a book they would like.

The new RIVA is so off-base, I’m sure marketing must have had some late strategy that makes sense to them. For example: they may believe that they have already sold all the prospects who want the traditional Italian lover romance in Italy. This new set of covers is to attract readers they missed when the book first came out. This makes a kind of sense if that is what they really had planned.

There still are problems with the new RIVA cover:

First of all, it’s now a rather dated chic lit cover. I’ve been seeing covers like for over ten years. Second of all, as a reader I have an equal right to assume it’s a story about taking an Evening Class in Italian in England or anywhere else. (BTW: I just loved, loved, Evening Class by Maeve Binchy).

Oh, yes, it could also be about a dance class.

But the final art director insult to readers is the headline: it had to be written by artist! Copywriters pay attention to what the words mean.

14-New Look Titles Now Available at Mills & Boon.

Can you say “Old Wine in New Bottles”. Is that what romance readers want? Old books with new covers! These are just ‘New Look Titles’…not new titles. To an art department this is a big deal. Not to readers, however.

I can’t wait to get back to a bookstore so I can see if any old romances have be reissued with new artwork! : )

To be fair: it’s nice artwork. Artists are great and I love them. I just don’t love them to be in charge of marketing.

How’s that for an opinion?

If you want to see the other three covers here is the link:


P.S. That was the Olympics Ever! As your Prime Minister said, “Brittan Delivered”!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I will be passing them on to M&B since they do want feedback. You can make your opinions known on their FB page, too if you feel strongly enough about it.

Thanks for such a detailed opinion, Vince. In fact some of the books in this group are new, some are not and this is test launch to gauge customers reaction to them in the retail market. It was a question of putting together a package of authors and copy that showed Riva at it's best. One of the other covers - Jessica Hart's We'll Always Have Paris - is much nearer to my US cover, but I guess they only had one continental cafe scene!

The aim with Riva was to draw in a younger readership but the first cover attempt seemed to missed everyone. To be honest, while some of them were lovely, some of them were just plain scary!

I think this style stems from the huge success of some Sarah Morgan reprints in this style of cover.

We will see. :)

Meanwhile, keep the comments coming.

Liz Fielding said...

PS Meant to say, Vince, that I loved Maeve Binchy's Evening Class, too. God bless her.

Lacey Devlin said...

I don't mind the new ones. They look more vibrant on the shelves than online. I did like the 50/50 too but some were nicer than others.

Anonymous said...

jane Linfoot writes:

I like Liz's cover - especially the print on the dress

The retro fifties style - reminds me of my parents' Salad Days record cover, as well as all the chick lit people are mentioning.

Some of the 50/50 covers were great, but others were truly awful. But somehow they seemed more in line with the brand image. Perhaps marketing are trying to distance Riva from the brand? If so, I think they are succeeding.

I thought the band across the bottom was an indication of heat level, but this doesn't seem to work for Kimberly Lang's The Privileged and the Damned.

General verdict - some very pretty art work, considered as individual covers, but not entirely sure how this sits with the line or the brand.
As a reader I've found the whole 'disappearing for a re-launch thing' completely frustrating.
I'll just be really pleased when Riva is up and running again, because I miss it a lot.

Incy Black said...

Loath the new covers. Too retro and reminds me of all those 50s/60s ads of housewives standing in a kitchen or pushing a hoover, their life centered on servicing their man. The 50/50 covers were contemporary and hinted at independent, sassy women which was appropriate for the line. Why the need for a rebrand and so soon?

Vince said...

Hi Liz:

Harlequin and Mills & Boon have had among the best marketing people since their inception. When they do something different it is worth checking it.

When you wrote:

“In fact some of the books in this group are new, some are not and this is test launch to gauge customers reaction to them in the retail market. It was a question of putting together a package of authors and copy that showed Riva at it's best. One of the other covers - Jessica Hart's “We'll Always Have Paris” - is much nearer to my US cover, but I guess they only had one continental cafe scene!”

It immediately occurred to me that just as in writing, marketing allows for different POVs. This example might be of special interest to authors as marketing and as writing.

You can consider marketing from the POV of the individual author: what will sell the most copies of a given title. In “Flirting with Italian” the North American HR cover seems to best meet that need. (If fact, when I check out the HR edition of, “We'll Always Have Paris,” by Jessica Hart, I immediately bought it. A book with that cover, that title, written by Jessica Hart, is an autobuy!)

However, what if the POV is from the objective of selling the most aggregate number of books from a given set? What if the goal is not to sell the most of any one given title but rather to find a way to sell the most total books in a given group. All things being equal, this marketing approach should make the most money for the company.

The trick is how to do this? I think one way to do this is to do what you wrote:

“…putt[ing] together a package of authors and copy that showed Riva at it's best.”

That is, design cover art to visually link all the stories as something a specific customer would like to read. Add new books and proven old books. Let any one of the 14 books act as a gateway to all the others. This should sell the most books overall from the group. This is actually the idea behind a line like HR. What is interesting here is seeing it being down with a 14 book release.

This shows you can break any rule if you know what you are doing. POV is important. Of course, if you are marketing your debut novel by yourself: don’t copy these covers! Copy the HR cover which is designed to sell the most of that single title.

Thanks, thinking about this has been very helpful for me.