Gender and Marketing: Cryer’s Cross by @lisa_mcmann #coverflip

A few years ago YA Book Council read the book Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann.  I was browsing through the Simon & Schuster Pulse website when I came across a new cover for the book which I had never seen before and it was just so radically different then the cover I have that I felt the need to share it with everyone.  Actually my first reaction was OMGWHHHHHHHHHHAT but that could be the iced coffee kicking in.  

McMann Cryer's Cross 1As I recall the book was a paranormal book about disappearing kids.  So the creepy desk cover is completely appropriate and sets the mood.  I really like this cover.  Well maybe the tagline is a little much but the art.  Look at the art!

Also, from my boy-centric perspective it makes me think “ah, this is a paranormal book that I might enjoy and might not be put off by a dominating influence of icky romance.”  Because you know…boys don’t like the mushy stuff.  Or perhaps we pretend not to like the mushy stuff because we’re secretly sensitive and we’re afraid that if we display our affections so easily we’ll get hurt.  Easy love, easy heartbreak.  Shhh, secrets.

McMann Cryer's Cross 2And here is the new cover which I am told was put on the paperback.  And here we are, the beautiful boy holding the young maiden in a super romantic pose.  I realize it’s been a few years since I’ve read this book but I don’t even remember this happening in the book.  I remember a desk.  I don’t remember amazing guy…and is it just me or is she a little indifferent to this amazing (teen Fabio)?  Whatever.

There’s nothing about this cover which says to me “supernatural thriller.”  This cover only reads to me as a “(conventional) romance.”  Which I willingly admit decreases the appeal to me.  Even if it was an amazing guy gently stroking the midsection of another amazing guy…unless they were in space.

And I understand that the book probably tests better with a female demographic than a male demographic.  And I understand that covers are generally something the publisher does to try and increase sales.  I think what I don’t understand is why someone would feel that this generic romance cover was a stronger draw then the creepy desk.

I’ve been thinking about this recently because of *gasp* MAUREEN JOHNSON. Her cover flip project has opened my eyes to gender specific marketing in the book world.


So yeah. Cryer’s Cross seems to be an example of a book that cover flipped itself.

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