LUCY: How much do we hate Anne Rice’s new UK cover?!!??!
LEX: WTF is wrong with them??!!! It looks like a cheap romance novel. And I say that as an author of cheap romance novels…
LUCY: My cover for Tender Bites was better than that. Your covers for the Mocha Memoirs trilogy are MUCH better than that. They probably spent a fortune hiring a semi-recognizable model (I think I’ve seen him in a Ralph Lauren ad, him or someone who looks just like him), and the costuming is extremely pricey – that jacket alone cost a fortune and was probably made specifically for that shoot. But then they use the image in the cheapest, most obvious way imaginable. Almost nobody who sees it is going to notice how pricey the individual elements are; they’re only going to engage the cheap, amateurish product.
Never mind that my whole reaction to a book entitled “Prince Lestat” is a big fat groan.
LEX: They’re counting on the name Anne Rice to sell it. But the cover is just horrendous. Blech.
LUCY: And here’s the thing – the name Anne Rice isn’t selling all that well at the moment. Which is probably why she got pushed into this cover in the first place.
It all comes back to what we’ve been saying for months – nobody knows nothing no more.
LEX: Well if she’d write a book that’s worth a damn….
LUCY: True . . . I think the problem is, she was always psycho. But before, her version of psycho was sexy. But she’s done that now, and as she’s aged, she’s moved into an older, more mature version of psycho that doesn’t connect with anybody any more.
LEX: Well she keeps plowing the same dirt. And when she’s not plowing that dirt, she’s doing something that’s so off the wall that it doesn’t make sense.
LUCY: I think the plowing is her trying to reconnect and the off the wall is what she really wants to write. It makes me sad because I think she’s brilliant; I think there are probably many more great novels inside her head wanting out. But I think she has had some kind of weird religious conversion that has made her feel guilty and apologist about some of her early stuff (which is ridiculous), and just like she does in these monster series (serieses?) she writes, she’s trying to write her way out of the corner with plot that just gets nuttier and nuttier.
I feel her pain a little bit because part of the problem is, she was the Mother Goddess of this entire paranormal/gothic/romantic movement, and everything that has come since feeds off her original creation. But that has gone on long enough that it’s moved beyond imitators into contrarians – people don’t write like Anne Rice any more, they specifically write vampires and werewolves and witches that are NOT like Anne Rice. But she’s still around and still writing; she’s not ready to be the compost in the general soil just yet. So she’s got a choice – she can either write in the sensibility she’s always had and be perceived as out of touch with the times and the sad crone who doesn’t know when to leave the party or she can try to adopt some version of the new sensibility (hence this cover) which isn’t hers, doesn’t fit, and results in rotten books, and she looks like the sad crone who bought a lot of make-up and has had a bit too much to drink. And with trends cropping up, blooming, and dying in the space of months now, it’s happening to more and more content creators faster and faster. As soon as something succeeds, it immediately becomes a punch line. And once it becomes a punch line, it’s dead.
LEX: Well sadly, she IS out of touch with the market right now. She asked on Facebook if anyone would be interested in reading an erotic romance. I mean, really Anne? Where have you been in the last five years? So I feel like we’ll be seeing a freako copycat of her Beauty books in the near future.
LUCY: Oh but see, I suspect if you asked her, she would sniff aristocratically and point out that all of THOSE books came from independent publishers and smut mongers; she’s only interested in REAL erotic romance from Random House. She probably considers 50 Shades beneath her notice, too.
So yeah, a new Beauty-esque saga is most likely in the works. Jack and His Amazing Beanstalk?
I feel like a cretin for making jokes; I love those books; I love her writing – anybody who has read a sex scene I’ve written knows how much I love her style of erotica; she’s been a huge influence on me. But yeah, it’s like she’s been up in the ivory tower for decades, only to discover that the world changed without her. And now she’s trying to climb down and make art, and it’s just not working.
That said, if I had the sales numbers she had on her past couple of “failures,” I’d be a happy little writer indeed.
LEX: Exactly. She could never sell another book and be perfectly happy.
Gentle readers, may the same be said of all of us someday.