I have a book, The Transformation of David, which has been doing okay—quite well, in fact—but I was constantly being nagged by Bernie Kells who said I could have done better if I’d used a different cover. (Bernie handles the admin at Mandrill Press and in return takes 10% of everything we earn, and he thinks that gives him the right to nag). I wasn’t so sure. This is the cover I’d used:
It’s a standard, off the shelf Amazon cover and, if it doesn’t inspire, it has—as I said—been selling okay. But Bernie wasn’t satisfied. He thought his 10% could be 10% of more. His argument was simple: “This is a TG book, Suzie—and it’s an erotic TG book. Just look at the Prologue*. What sort of people do you think that appeals to?”
“Well, gee, Bernie, I don’t know—what sort of people does it appeal to?”
“People with the desire to boff.”
“Er…boff? Help me out here, Bernie.”
“Boff. Bonk. Have carnal knowledge of. Fuck, for God’s sake. Don’t you understand basic English?”
“Boff is basic English? Not to a well brought up Canadian girl, it isn’t”.
Well, we went on like that for a while and then I said—as he must have known I would—“Okay, Bernie, you want a better cover? Produce one.”
This is what he came up with:
I have to admit, it conveys “the desire to boff” more completely than the previous cover did. Is that really what people want? Well, the new cover goes live today, so I guess watching the sales figures from here on will give us the answer to that.
But then I got thinking about that desire to boff and I have to admit—it’s hard-wired into all of us. If it weren’t, the human race would have died out generations ago. And when I look at the fellow’s hands under the girl’s top, and the expression of happy compliance on the girl’s face, it does have a certain…in fact, I feel quite horny just looking at it, and I’m not even in the picture.
Let’s see how the sales do.
*That prologue? It goes like this:
It was a wicked thing they had done to him. He knew that. Wicked. As he lay on his front in this beautiful female body that he had been trapped into, skirt raised to his waist, a hand playing gently over his bottom, he knew that he should hate the person who had done this. She sat on the bed beside him in the body of the young man he had so recently been, and she toyed with him. Through the soft silk of his panties her thumb traced the space between his firmly rounded bottom cheeks. Her hand pressed on, down, down, until the tips of her fingers grazed the lips of his sex. Lips that he knew were moist with longing. A sex that ached to be entered once again.
Her head moved down, close to his own. She nibbled the lobe of his ear; she kissed him gently on the back of his neck. Her other hand was now in play, sliding beneath the waistband of his panties. ‘You want me, don’t you,’ she whispered. ‘You want to be fucked again. Turn over, my little darling. Let me give you what you crave.’
He rolled onto his back. Her hand now was right inside his panties, drifting over the smooth skin of his stomach, stroking where the fine hair had once been until she shaved it off, sliding down between the legs he opened wide to help her debauch him. ‘That’s it, my sweet,’ she murmured. ‘Open for me.’ She slipped a finger into his yearning sex, finding with her thumb the little nubbin, stroking it erect. He put his arms on her shoulders, reaching upwards, looking for a kiss. She obliged, pressing her lips against his, pushing her tongue into his mouth, searching for his own.
He lifted his bottom as she took down his panties and threw them aside. He lay, legs splayed, knees raised as she undressed without haste. Then with her knees she pressed his thighs further apart. Her cock rested for a moment on the moist lips of his sex. Then she pushed forward and he, helpless in the hands of one bigger and stronger than him; helpless also in his overwhelming need; was filled once more. She rode him, that handsome cock driving furiously in and out of his cunt, whipping him on towards his climax, his mind empty now of anything but this, on and on until the sudden, devastating leap over the waterfall into some unknown, unnameable nirvana, and he collapsed beneath her as she pumped her seed—his seed—deep into his honeyed cavern.
He was a man, desexed and used like a woman. Everything he had been raised to do and to be had been taken from him. He should hate the person who had done this to him.
So why did he feel this aching, remorseless need?
And now I feel even hornier 🙂
Oh–and you know what? That lovely new cover is on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and every other eBook platform–but Amazon refused to let it through. They relented–but the price they extracted was to mark it “Adult”. So now people will only be able to buy it for Kindle if they already know it’s there, go looking for it and override the Adult bar. Let’s see what that does to sales, Bernie my friend.