Saturday, September 3, 2011

Judging the Author by the Cover

We’re all familiar with the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” but in my hometown it appears that the photo on the cover of my book has generated quite a buzz.

This week while visiting a high school friend I was puzzled when she said, “Tell me about your marriage.”

After explaining how I met my beloved, and that we truly were a case of love at first sight, I noticed a frown lined her forehead.

My book...not my husband.

“So, your Facebook profile picture…what’s that about?” she asked.

“My profile picture is a copy of my book,” I explained.

Nodding she said, “I know it’s a copy of your book; but is that your husband?”

I wanted to say, “Duh, it’s a photo of Billy Albertson, you know, the man behind the title: In The Garden With Billy.

Growing up in a small town it was common to have this type of misinformation ripple through the community; but my friend is a jokester so I said, “You’re kidding me, right?”

“I’m very serious. All of Bryson City thinks he’s your husband.”

“Well, he’s not.”

“I’m just telling you what they think. You need to post a new photo…like now!”

Even though I was wasting my time, I explained to her that I don’t list personal information on Facebook. I never mention my beloved’s name or post anything that might lead someone to my home. Authors must do this. It’s a matter of safety and common sense. It is also a matter of respecting the privacy of my husband.

“No, I’m serious,” she insisted. “You need to go home and put his photo on your site. People are talking.”

I relayed our comical conversation with my mother, who of course laughed, until her tone became serious. “You know people have started treating me different since the book came out.”

"How so?” I inquired.

“I’m getting funny looks in the grocery store. I guess people do think that I’ve raised a gold digger.”

The Cracker Queen and Renea Winchester:
neither are married to Billy Albertson.

Next Friday I’m scheduled to return home and spend a little time with my parents. Currently, my profile picture is of me with Loretta Hannon, The Cracker Queen. The image was captured during the grand opening of The Hive. It was a glorious day.

(She's married also...and not to Billy Albertson).

Any suggestions on how to handle this small-town situation?

Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. A true-life tale of the last farmer in Roswell Georgia (who, by the way, is NOT her husband.)

Her next book titled: Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author will be released in October. This is a must-read for all authors whether self-published or represented by a traditional publishing house.


Brandy Heineman said...

That's a tough one! Any chance of giving a talk at a local event? Something along the lines of "Small Town, Tall Tales: How Your Gossip Ends Up In My Next Book." ;)

All the best to you for straightening it out!

Angie Kinsey said...

Well, sister, I say either go with Brandy's suggestion or ignore it. There's no such thing as 'bad press' right? Who knows, you might sell more books if you put the picture on the INSIDE of the book for that event (they have to buy one to see what you're 'older' husband looks like) lol.

Cyndia said...

Coming from a small town myself I totally understand this thinking. My feeling is: stick to your guns. If maintaining your personal privacy is that important, you shouldn't even try to explain it. As we Southerners do, just smile sweetly at the comments/questions, murmur something polite, and move on. People are gonna talk about you whether they know the whole story or not. Sadly, we live in a culture where people think they have the right to know your personal stuff. They don't.
As an author, you want them to keep talking so they'll buy your book. But keep the mystery alive... :-)

nreddick said...

Great story! Leave it up to the imagination!
Niles said...

This cannot succeed in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.

publish a book said...

Yes for sure the cover can represent the story of the book but for sure, it is not advisable to judge the story with the book cover.