Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bullet Hole's Fabulous Focus Group: Tell Her What You Really Think!

Another election cycle is upon us and we’re hearing a lot about focus groups again. A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Today you all will comprise Bullet Hole’s very own focus group and I will be seeking your input relating to, er... packaging. Let me explain.

I’ve blogged before about my Calamity Jayne covers--how much I adore them and how I think the branding is pure genius. I’m spoiled. I admit it. You walk into a bookstore, spot one of these covers, and you know it’s a Calamity Jayne book. How totally cool is that?

My May, 2008, release is not a Tressa Jayne Turner mystery. Entitled FIANCÉ AT HER FINGERTIPS, it is a romantic comedy. Sort of. It’s one of those books you hear authors refer to as the ‘book of my heart.’ Often these books never sell. I lucked out. Mine did. It’s special to me. Writing this book convinced me that I should be writing comedy.

So, I plan to unveil the cover for this book here at Killer Fiction for the first time. And that’s where you come in, focus group of mine. I haven’t decided yet exactly how I feel about the cover and I need your input. Here’s the set up. I want you to imagine you’re walking into a bookstore, Wal-mart, grocery store or drug store and you are searching the shelves for a fun read. And you see this:


Okay, focus group. Focus. Would you pick this book up? Pass it by? Barely even notice it? Snatch it up right away? Blink in rapid succession several times only to discover it’s still there? What? Quickly jot down those key first impressions--both positive and negative. Done? Good.

Now let’s pretend you’ve picked the book up and turned it over to read the back cover copy. It reads:

A romance novel that’s out of the box.

“Who are you seeing?”

Debra Daniels thinks she’s found the answer to the age-old question women have been plagued with ever since Eve first said “Why not?” when Adam asked her on a stroll through the Garden. In need of a break from her matchmaking mother and a score of hellish blind dates, to Debra the do-it-yourself boyfriend-in-a-box kit is a gift from Above. Fiancé at Your Fingertips: Touted as the single woman’s best defense against pitying looks and speculative stares, it comes with everything the single-and-slightly-desperate woman needs to convince friends, family and coworkers that she has indeed found Mr. Right. And “Lawyer Logan” is definitely that. Tall, handsome…and fictitious. Debra is going to have an absolute blast with her faux beau—until he shows up on her doorstep acting as if he has every right to be there, and in her arms. That’ll be the start of a romance truly outside of the box, and where the real fun begins.

All right, group, you’ve read the back blurb, so what do you think now? Does the cover convey the tone of the book? Is it consistent with the summary? Take a few minutes to record your opinion.

Still with me? Okey dokey.

Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the comment link and post your cover analysis comments: good, bad, or indifferent.

And that’s it. Thank you for participating in Bullet Hole’s inaugural Focus Group on cover art. I’m really anxious to know what you think of the cover. What? Me? What do I think? Well, naturally I’ll wait to decide where I stand until after I’ve heard what my fabulous focus group has to say...
Just like a real politician!

~Bullet Hole~


Jenyfer Matthews said...

The politician in me is coming out when I don't want to be the first to comment! LOL

I don't happen to mind cartoon-like covers. At first glance, this one confused me a little, but it did make sense once I read the blurb. (Sounds like a lot of fun)

It's bright and colorful so it would attract my attention in a store.

Can't wait to hear what you think of it now :)

Jana DeLeon said...

The colors would definitely grab me so that's good. And I think if I took the time to look closer at the title, little ballons of text, etc. that then I'd wonder exactly what it was about. It almost looks like a non-fiction guide (but definitely humorous).

The back cover copy reads well enough to make me pick it up and check it out, so ultimately, I'd say it's a great job.

But then I'm only one opinion and I happen to LOVE cartoon covers. :)

lila n. said...

It has reminded me of Elizabeth Young's book Asking for Trouble... wjo was loosely made into the movie Wedding Date (very different from the book!)

Lily said...

I don't really like the cover and it seems to much of a parody for me to pick it up.

Kathy Bacus said...


Thanks for going first, you brave soul! It's my first cartoon cover--and such a dramatic change from my previous ones--that I'm still trying to decide what I think. I'll let you know--once everyone has weighed in...!

~Bullet Hole~

Gemma Halliday said...

I actually really like it. But, then again, when I'm in the store I'm a sucker for anything starkly or colorful. :) I do think it will catch a lot of eyes.

And sounds like such a fun story! i can't wait to read it.


Kathy Bacus said...

The colors really do scream, 'hey, look at me',don't they, Jana? I'm so glad the overall packaging would prompt you to check it out.

Thanks for being part of the focus group!!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I'll have to pop over and check out ASKING FOR TROUBLE, Lila. I'd love for someone to option this book for a movie as I think it would be hysterical on the big screen...

Uh, any movie producer types out there, take note!


~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Lily, for participating! I actually really like cartoon covers--and this one is definitely 'out of the box'!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Gemma!!! I love this book and really want the cover to do it justice.

It doesn't come out until May and I'm already biting my nails!

~Bullet Hole~

Lily said...

That is great to see everyone has different opinions... but you are right... it is really different and out-of-the-box ;o

Bottom line... it did catch my attention!! So the objective was met, right.

Kathy Bacus said...

Yep, I reckon that's the idea, Lily--to get your attention.

And I think we can safely say it's one-of-a-kind...!


~Bullet Hole~

Christie Craig said...


I like it, the colors are bright and format eye catching. While I know we probably do judge a book by its cover, your name on the book in those large letters is what will pull your readers in.

I think this cover will do you proud. And I love the blurb. Congrats!

Crime Scene Christie

Kathy Bacus said...

I have to confess, Christie, I rather do like seeing my name in those huge, honking letters!

I'm totally thrilled you like the cover as well as the premise!

Thanks for joining the focus group!

~Bullet Hole~

RachaelfromNJ said...

Ok here is what I think of it:

I agree with the person who said it made them think of a non fiction book. It looks like a comedic self help book by it's cover. It is very eye catching though and VERY different.

I love the title. I think this would get my attention to read the summary on the back. The summary would hook me and make me want to buy the book.

I don't really like cartoon covers normally but this one works. I'm really interested now since reading the blurb. This sounds like the kind of book my friend and I would LOVE. :)

RachaelfromNJ said...

Also I wanted to say, it's very memorable. I browse books alot online but this one really sticks out and I think will stay on people's minds. I think it's a great marketing idea to stand out amongst so many other books.

I'm really interested in reading it now. It's sticking in my mind!

Kathy Bacus said...

Wow! That's great feedback, Rachael! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

~Bullet Hole~

Tori Lennox said...

It's certainly eye-catching! In fact, the more I look at it the more I like it. :)

I'd definitely pick it up and read the back cover copy. And I'd buy it because it sounds really cute and funny!

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Tori,for casting your vote! So far, so good.

I'm feeling pretty good about the focus group. You guys rock!

~Bullet Hole~

RachaelfromNJ said...

Hi Kathy! You're welcome! Sounds really good. :)

JOYE said...

It is too cartoon-like for me. I guess I expect to quickly recognize that it is a romantic story......

Estella said...

I don't care for any cartoon cover. I doubt if I would even pick it up.

Kathy Bacus said...

Certainly not your typical 'hunk' cover, is it, Joye? ;)

Thanks so much for weighing in, as well!!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I do think some cartoon covers work really well--I love Gemma's and Jana's covers.

Thanks for posting, Estella!

~Bullet Hole~

Cory said...

From the front cover, I would probably pass it over. It's not that it isn't eye-catching, because it certainly is! But it really does look like a self-help book, and I don't care for the cartoon covers myself.

However, since I've read the back cover, I'll definitely have to pick it up. If the book were sitting backwards on the self I know I would pick it up. If just because how often do they set books that way in a bookstore...

Kathy Bacus said...

Good point, Cory! I do think the title itself is unique enough that it will compel folks to pick the book up.

I'm glad the back cover copy has piqued your interest, as well.

Thanks for the feedback!

~Bullet Hole~

Lucy said...

I haven't read anyone else's comments (well, except jenyfer's because well, it's right there!).

First glance of the cover is that it looks more like a self-help book than romance/comedy so it kind of confused me too.

The blurb was fun though.

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Lucy! I do know the production department was going for the concept of making the book look like the novelty gag gift kit which really is a self-help item so the self-help concept seems to be working. Hopefully, the blurb on the back sufficiently dispels any confusion.

Thanks again for contributing to the Focus Group!

~Bullet Hole~

readingissomuchfun said...

RachaelfromNJ sent me here to see this unusual book cover. She couldn't stop talking about it.

I would pick up this book. The cover is very different and I like it. I get tired of seeing the same covers from different authors. This one is very different and it looks interesting to me. It sounds good.


Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for popping over, LindaH, and letting me know what you think about the cover. Different is good. Right?

And thanks to Rachaelfromnj for giving LindaH the head's up! You rock, girl!

~Bullet Hole~

catslady said...

You wanted honesty or why else ask so I have to say I really don't like any cartoon covers but it sounds like I may be in the minority. I did like the blurb though but there's a good chance I'd never get to read the blurb since the cover didn't draw me.

Kathy Bacus said...

Yep, that's what I'm after, catslady--what you all really think. So thanks! Maybe this one would better catch your eye if you saw it spine out only...!

Thanks for diving in!

~Bullet Hole~

Dru said...

It is an eye-catcher. My curiousity would cause me to pick up the cover and see what the book is all about. I love the title.

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Dru! An interesting note about the title. Originally this book was titled A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, but six months or so after I started submitting it, I noticed another book by that title and had to come up with a new one. Glad you like this one! It ended up working better with the book's premise anyway.

~Bullet Hole~

Anonymous said...

It's very different, but it appeals to me in that Sandra Dee / Doris Day / 60's movie sort of way -- the graphics seem to intimate a lighthearted read and maybe something a bit magical. Maybe it's those little starbursts on the cover that remind me of the opening credits for Bewitched. I would definitely pick it up to take a look.

Bottom line -- I like it.

Kathy Bacus said...

Magical certainly covers this book, anonymous--well, in your basic divine intervention sort of way, that is. And I like the idea that the book cover conveys a light-hearted read. Thanks for posting!

~Bullet Hole~