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We Can’t Rewind [resubmit]

The author says:

The newlywed Don and Denise Richards get their minds swapped with those of his son Jackie and her daughter Jaymee respectively while their Caribbean honeymoon cruise is lost in the Bermuda Triangle. No matter what they try, they can’t seem to find a way to swap back! Now what will they do? “We Can’t Rewind” is the latest prospective title for this paranormal romance. (Before you ask, yes, that’s from the lyrics of “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles, though it has only the most tenuous association with this story.) The prospects of coming to an agreement with traditional publishers so far are looking rather poor, so it seems I will have to design and publish the whole book myself; I still plan to get a professional artist to redraw the final cover, however.

We Can't Rewind Scratch

We Can't Rewind Scratch

[previous submissions and comments here and here]

Nathan says:

The cover is definitely evolving. Much clearer, brighter, easier to process.

That said, it’s still not sitting right with me somehow. It’s a (very strange) love story, but I don’t get that from the cover. I’m guessing from the description that there’s a certain amount of wacky comedy a la Freaky Friday, but I also don’t see that in the cover.

You said that, as independent publishing is looking more likely, you “plan to get a professional artist to redraw the final cover.”  May I suggest that a professional graphic artist or designer is worth more than his ability to draw what you tell him?  You seem very attached to using certain elements to market your story, but maybe you should have a graphic professional read the first few chapters and tell you how he would market your story.  You might be surprised (pleasantly).

Other comments?

Comments

  1. I would research the risk using a song title in the title: A winery near here used “Ruby Tuesday” as their business name. They were forced by the rolling stones to change it through a lawsuit.

    1. That risk doesn’t seem so great here. “Ruby Tuesday” is a somewhat more unique combination of words than “We Can’t Rewind” is, and it seems to me that winery should have had more to fear from the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain than from the musical group, considering what they were selling.

      As for this title, the Buggles may have been the first to put it in a song lyric, but I’ll bet they weren’t the first ever to utter it either literally about a tape jam, or figuratively about being unable to revisit the past. They also certainly weren’t the last to use it in a song:

      We can’t rewind now, we’ve gone too far…

      This is our time: we can’t rewind.

      I think the title’s on fairly safe ground legally.

      1. The title would pass I think.
        my question is, what does it have to do with the plot? Is one of the adults involved in any profession that this is a reference to? Sports caster? Video store attendant? Dj? Radio star?
        otherwise the pun is too great to ignore, at least for me.

          1. Well, I guess it isn’t so much a pun, but it gives me expectations as to what to expect.

            Personally if I started to read a book or watch a movie called ‘We can’t Rewind’ I would expect something involving rewinding to be a factor of it. I would expect something punny to happen involving a title like that. It has a real, “Oh, I get it. See, cause Adam Sandler had the magical VCR remote the whole time, that is why it was called that” vibe.

            At the end of this book if there wasn’t some sort of revelation about rewinding I would probably raise my eyebrow at said media in a confused fashion.

            I know that the title of this book has been a hard one to crack, but I personally don’t think this is it. ‘We Can’t Go Back’ has the same idea to it without needing something with rewinding.

          2. Of course, “We Can’t Go Back” and its variations have been done plenty of times too. That’s another title that won’t raise any eyebrows, legally at least.

            I do wonder, though, whether this Buggles reference might actually be intended to raise some eyebrows. What would you say if it turned out Adam Sandler (or someone more talented; I’m not really fond of his “comedies”) really did turn out to be holding the magical VCR remote at the end? I seem to remember the original “Irreversibility” title had something to do both with the characters not being able to get back into their own bodies, and with this circumstance not being able to “reverse” their love for each other. What would you think of the title if this “pun” (I think you were fishing for “double entendre” there) turned out to apply to the story the same way?

            I agree that the professional artist needs to see some sample chapters. As I was saying back on the cover for Serpentine, this is like one of those story problems where “need more information” is the right answer, though I think the teacher would still demand that we show our work for that answer to this cover. Of course, that analogy starts to break down at this point, since math doesn’t have “spoilers” the way literature does.

          3. That is true. It is very hard to determine if the Title is appropriate for this book without reading the book. The title might very well fit, but without more information it is hard to decided on anything!

            Personally I like to read the synopsis of a book before thinking of a cover idea, some chapters to get an overall feel, a list of specific items that are important (Mcguffin Brand Transforming Wishing Devices for example), and even some ‘moments’ that the author thinks best described the book (such as the transformation scene in this book). That would be enough to get an overall mood of the book – should it be lighthearted, more serious, or anything else. I would also ask the author what they want on the cover (then promptly ignore them).

            As it stands now the cover now feels dark, looming, and very serious. I wouldn’t think this story ends happily.

            That is our problem I think as Cover Critics on this one. We need to know more information! We know ‘what’ the story is about, but we don’t know the general ‘mood’ or what emotions you are trying to convey with this story.

            This really is a cover where we need more information to help you, otherwise are are just going to keep spinning our gears in different ways on what WE think the mood and tone should be, not what the mood and tone ARE.

      2. Incidentally, I don’t know why this comments system insists on putting a “covercritics.com/” between the “http://” and the “www.” parts of my link to the webpage of Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant chain, but it does. You’ll have to strip that out for the link to work properly.

  2. Silhouettes are hard, as I can surely attest to that by this point!

    A repeated note: I do not think that the double crossed arms are needed, a single pair would be more striking visually.

    I still think you are focusing on the wrong elements though. Without the description you have provided how are we to know that this isn’t a romance strictly about 10 year old children in Bermuda? Is Bermuda really more important than the fact that people have swapped bodies? More important than magic? More important than your plot? Why? 🙂

    I still think that showing the characters as adults behind the kids will work. In fact, here is a 10 minute mock-up idea that shows the start of something. (EVERYTHING is stolen in this image, so uh, don’t just use it, kay?)

    https://annalsofgentalia.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/cant-rewind.jpg

  3. The very first thing I thought when I saw “I still plan to get a professional artist to redraw the final cover, however,” was that if you’re going to hire a professional, let them design the whole cover. I’m going to be straight with you and say that I haven’t really cared for the design/layout of any of these covers, and it’s more of a design issue than it is an execution issue.

    I frequent Derek Murphy’s blog a lot and he suggests letting the designer take the reins, because they know what they’re doing. If you’re going to get a professional anyway, delegate the whole enchilada to them, and listen to their advice. Ask them what they think works, instead of telling them what you want.

    If you decide not to go professional, I really think you need to go a different route, or maybe go back to your drawing board. The previous two and this one are not working for me. If you could find an image of children looking at each other in shock or something, that would be better, I would think, maybe with an adult couple snuggling up to each other in the background.

    But…my opinion and one dollar will get you exactly one dollar. I’m not even a designer, I’m just somebody who likes books.

  4. As I think I’ve said previously, I’m with ASwan on this. I haven’t cared for any of the covers. I don’t think, even with a competent commercial creator, that I’d like the general concept. I think you’re entirely too married to the whole “silhouette of two kids” idea. I don’t know if that’s because of the story elements that are “outre,” or ??? But as has been discussed ad nauseam on LBC, silhouettes are incredibly difficult to do well. Or even to a mediocre standard.

    One of the issues that we see at my company, all the time, is that authors are almost always too heavily invested in this story element, or that one, or that piece of plot, and just GOTTA have it on the cover. The best covers I’ve seen–anywhere–don’t have ANY story elements on the cover. They simply catch the eye. Which is what you want. Do you care if anyone sees something–I don’t know, pick any unrelated thing–a unicorn, for example–and flips to the book because of that, rather than being drawn to or pushed away by the silhouette of the children? Maybe there’s a deliberate vibe you’re trying to achieve here, that I’m missing. But to me, you are not doing your book any favors thus far.

    We have a pretty infamous cover here, that was done by one of my go-to guys, about 4 years ago, which had “a guy in a cave with a sword, plus a crown, and a hawk, a dragon, a heart, and a saber-toothed-tiger, oh, and yeah, the sword should be FLAMING.” It lives in infamy. I’m not saying that this rises to that, but…it’s conveying the same FEEL to me, in terms of “what has to be on the cover.”

    My $.02, FWIW. And if you do have the money, consider asking the aforementioned Derek Murphy if he’d undertake it. (I’m not going to make assumptions about Nate). He’s quite good, and you might find a good match there.

    Good luck to you. Sorry I couldn’t be more positive.

  5. Better…but not quite there yet.

    Enlarging the figures helps a lot but the silhouette is still a problem for a couple of reasons. First, it is a dark, complex shape set against largely dark background. Second, it is a very large black shape, which is, frankly, deadening. Third, it is not readily apparent what the children are doing or why. You know what the significance is…but the uninformed reader will not.

    By enlarging the map you have integrated the triangle into the design better. However, at the same time you have removed almost all of the identifying landmarks. So, again, someone would have to recognize the small bits of land that remain and be already familiar with what the triangle signifies in order to make sense of it. Also, the shallows of the Great Bahama Bank look like an amorphous light blue cloud that doesn’t add much to the comprehensibility.

    (I see that others have also commented on the fact that your cover reflects your familiarity with the story and doesn’t allow for the fact that the new reader won’t have any idea what’s going on.)

    If you did any one thing, I would suggest replacing the silhouetted figures with fully rendered ones. Actually, I take that back. If you do any one thing it should be to hand over your cover to a professional designer.

  6. The cover doesn’t need to include story elements, but it should accurately tell the genre of the story. If I saw this on a shelf or in the Amazon store, I would assume that it was a children’s story. nothing here says paranormal or swapping bodies. I would get rid of the silhouettes completely and go for something that shows their shock I assume the characters feel when they discover they have swapped bodies. Or forget the kids completely — if I were a designer (which I’m not) I would show adults engaged in children’s activities and children looking like little adults.

  7. Drop the kids from this cover and then the cover would no longer deter me from checking out the description and sample. The background and text caught my attention right away. But then I couldn’t see past the shadow kids.

  8. Actually, maybe a combination of those ideas–Tia’s and gp’s–would work. Lose the silhouettes entirely, and replace them with two sets of hands–a married couple (rings) clasped, and kids’, clasped (nothing really needed, other than maybe the girl could have a bracelet, if you want to gender-distinguish). That might work and avoid the creep factor. It would also get you away from all the issues with silhouettes.

    Just an idea. I still vote strenuously for a professional cover designer whom, I’m certain, would come up with something far more clever than the clasped hands idea.

  9. These criticism sessions have been interesting, but for the purpose of getting helpful advice, this latest one seems to be yielding only diminishing returns. As seems to happen quite often, eliminating the parts of the cover you don’t like is proving much easier than adding something to it that you will. Certainly, as some of you have mentioned, some of the sensitive information I’ve been holding back might make telling me what you want easier. However, much of what I’ve already told you about the story seems to have slipped your memories. For instance, Mr. Shumate says:

    That said, it’s still not sitting right with me somehow. It’s a (very strange) love story, but I don’t get that from the cover. I’m guessing from the description that there’s a certain amount of wacky comedy a la Freaky Friday, but I also don’t see that in the cover.

    Begging your pardon Mr. Shumate, but I certainly hope you’re not seeing any “wacky comedy” on the cover. What about any of the descriptions of this story I’ve provided ever gave you the idea that this paranormal romance was a comedy? Take a look back at the comments on my first submission, and you’ll find I said this about what kind of story it is:

    Waffles, it may interest you to know that as part of my extensive research for this story, I’ve watched both of the movies whose posters you held up as examples of effective advertising. Indeed, for what they are, the advertising is very effective: specifically, they’re modern paranormal fantasies with a strong element of romantic comedy. Were these paranormal romances like mine, however, the new emphasis on romantic relationships at the expense of the fantasy elements would take both stories in a decidedly darker and more mature direction.

    ….

    Putting all of this together, do all of you understand now why I can’t use the same layout as these movies’ posters on the cover of my book? Yes, if I showed potential customers a picture of the parents stuck in their children’s clothing and vice-versa, they would definitely think this is a light-hearted body-swapping romantic comedy they might like to buy. They would also be horribly, horribly wrong. The point of my cover is to shock the readers and maybe unsettle them a little, not deceive them. I can maybe soften the blow, change the stance of those silhouettes to turn down the heat a bit, but the central concept must stand.

    Yes, there is some humor in this story. In particular, the children have a tendency to go off on a tangent or ask questions that demonstrate they don’t appreciate the gravity of a given situation. (Example: when they walk in on their parents having “intimate relations” so to speak, the parents decide to explain that Mommy and Daddy were just getting a little exercise by playing a special game for married people; to which the daughter says “So, who won?”) A little comic relief in such serious situations, however, does not make the story a comedy.

    In a word (which I hate to use because I despise post-modernism), this story is a deconstruction. While revealing all the perverse and unsettling implications of the central premise of what would otherwise be a light-hearted story can yield a certain kind of dark amusement, particularly at the reaction of one’s audience, this doesn’t make the story a comedy either. It’s kind of like the humor you get from seeing the look on your little sister’s face when you tell her there’s a pornographic Barbie movie (which there is, by the way). There’s nothing comedic about the movie itself, just the reaction. Power/Rangers is another good example: watching all the heroes from that cheesy old TV show mostly suffer tragic fates and untimely demises made me laugh a lot, but only at the sheer audacity of its makers for releasing something so thoroughly disturbing and offensive to the generation that grew up watching the original show on TV; again, the (imagined) reaction of the fans is what’s funny, not the film itself, which was actually pretty dramatic.

    To get back to my book cover, about the only useful advice I’m seeing on here is from Waffles. Yes, I agree with the rest of you that my professional designer should get broad latitude to redesign the cover as he/she sees fit; for all the editing and refinement, this is still just a scratch. The only part of this cover I deem absolutely necessary to keep is the concept: a mysterious pair of lovers who appear to be children but are actually adults being shown in some romantic pose in which the the loving couples on other romance novel covers are commonly seen. While these rough drawings of the characters are rather aesthetically pleasing to my eyes, it remains that they’re very two-dimensional. For the actual cover, I’d prefer for the artist to add reflective lines to the silhouettes and adjust the perspective to give them weight and volume and make them look a lot more three-dimensional.

    The font? I like it as it is, but if the designer can come up with something that looks better, I’ll replace it in a heartbeat. The background? If the pro designer has a better idea for the background, I’m all ears. Again (for those of you who’ve forgotten what I said in the other sessions), the Bermuda Triangle is just the most visible and readily recognizable symbol for the plot device that swaps the characters. Otherwise, the background has already been demonstrated to be thoroughly disposable.

    To Waffles specifically:

    I still think that showing the characters as adults behind the kids will work. In fact, here is a 10 minute mock-up idea that shows the start of something. (EVERYTHING is stolen in this image, so uh, don’t just use it, kay?)

    https://annalsofgentalia.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/cant-rewind.jpg

    Yes, the picture’s rather crude, but I definitely think you’re on to something here. (Don’t worry about the plagiarism, though: everything on my cover but the triangle is swiped from stock photos and tropical storm-tracking maps. My modifications just disguise them better) Having the adult bodies shadow the children’s silhouettes this way is a bit of an old movie poster cliche, but it makes the point. I probably wouldn’t use the sparkly thingies in the background, and the mother (Denise) wouldn’t wear her hair in a ponytail like her daughter (Jaymee), but adult shadows behind the child silhouettes are definitely a good idea. I’ll talk that over with the artist.

    The title would pass I think.
    my question is, what does it have to do with the plot? Is one of the adults involved in any profession that this is a reference to? Sports caster? Video store attendant? Dj? Radio star?
    otherwise the pun is too great to ignore, at least for me.

    Specifically, you might recall the lyrics from the song:

    In my mind, and in my car,
    We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far…

    (Emphasis mine.)

    The characters’ minds can’t “rewind” back to their original bodies, of course. There’s also a rather steamy flirtation/makeout scene in a car in which these two realize they love each other and want to get married. Later, it’s established that divorce won’t solve anything and therefore is not an option for them, so they figuratively can’t rewind the marriage they set in motion on that night either. This is also exceedingly relevant to a little twist at the end of the story concerning where and when the Bermuda Triangle has taken everybody which I’m not going to spoil here.

    In addition, the songs RK lists that also have this title in their lyrics may not have any logical relevance to this story, but that Feeder song does have the right feel to it. In the extremely unlikely event that this book were made into a movie, I could imagine it very fittingly being played over the credits at the end. The figurative sentiment in all of these songs that we can’t rewind time like a tape and go back to being the way we used to be, is generally appropriate to the central theme of this entire story.

    Well, I guess it isn’t so much a pun, but it gives me expectations as to what to expect.

    Personally if I started to read a book or watch a movie called ‘We can’t Rewind’ I would expect something involving rewinding to be a factor of it. I would expect something punny to happen involving a title like that. It has a real, “Oh, I get it. See, cause Adam Sandler had the magical VCR remote the whole time, that is why it was called that” vibe.

    At the end of this book if there wasn’t some sort of revelation about rewinding I would probably raise my eyebrow at said media in a confused fashion.

    Well, there’s no magical VCR remote at the end of this story, but the revelation in that twist ending does have to do with rewinding and there is some amazing technology involved. One thing that really bites me about this session, though, is that nobody noticed the visual pun on this cover: the Bermuda Triangle looks like an arrow pointing backward just like the ones on the rewind button on the old VCR. If the Bermuda Triangle looks like a rewind button, does that mean it’s got powers like a rewind button? Not in this story; not exactly, anyway… but if I told you any more about that, I’d be spoiling the ending.

    That is true. It is very hard to determine if the Title is appropriate for this book without reading the book. The title might very well fit, but without more information it is hard to decided on anything!

    Personally I like to read the synopsis of a book before thinking of a cover idea, some chapters to get an overall feel, a list of specific items that are important (Mcguffin Brand Transforming Wishing Devices for example), and even some ‘moments’ that the author thinks best described the book (such as the transformation scene in this book). That would be enough to get an overall mood of the book – should it be lighthearted, more serious, or anything else. I would also ask the author what they want on the cover (then promptly ignore them).

    As it stands now the cover now feels dark, looming, and very serious. I wouldn’t think this story ends happily.

    That is our problem I think as Cover Critics on this one. We need to know more information! We know ‘what’ the story is about, but we don’t know the general ‘mood’ or what emotions you are trying to convey with this story.

    Considering what I’ve told you in past sessions, and Mr. Shumate above, surely you understand that the cover is supposed to feel “dark, looming, and very serious” by now? Getting swapped with somebody and not being able to swap back is no laughing matter when it’s happening to you. To help drive this point home, the story is told from a very personal first-person perspective, with the father (Don) narrating directly to the reader. As to whether the story ends happily, that depends on whether you mean happily for the characters or happily for the reader. While most of it is a rather grim and ponderous story, this is still a romance, and you know romance as a genre practically demands that somebody gets a happy ending.

    Two stories with endings similar to this story’s come to mind: the controversial Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “In The Pale Moonlight” (“So, this is a huge victory for the good guys!”) and the angst-ridden romantic anime series Koi Kaze (last line: “I love you!”) These are arguably happy endings, but only if you can deal with the moral conflict they set up in your mind. In my book, the romance between the protagonists will succeed, and they won’t have to do anything unethical to achieve this, but they will have to make quite an adjustment, as will the reader.

    In its current unfinished manuscript, this story is one long unbroken stream of consciousness: no title, no pagination, and no chapter breaks. While I’ve identified several good points to make these divisions, therefore, I can’t send anyone a “sample chapter” until it’s done. Also, the scene with the body swap occurs about a third of the way through the book and is wonderfully spoileriffic of everything that precedes it and little of what follows. What I can tell you is that this is roughly a five-act structure, and I’ve completed nearly four out of those five acts. Each act is likely to have more than one chapter in it, but if I were labeling them like chapters, the titles would look something like this:

    Act I: Meet my incredibly scandalous new wife.
    Act II: Things like this don’t happen in real life!
    Act III: How do you solve a problem like our swapping?
    Act IV: It would be a great solution if only it worked.
    Act V: We will learn to live with this.

    More than that, I can’t tell you without giving everything away.

    This really is a cover where we need more information to help you, otherwise are are just going to keep spinning our gears in different ways on what WE think the mood and tone should be, not what the mood and tone ARE.

    Again, this is all I can tell you. On the whole, if the cover’s making you feel grim and ponderous and just a little bit uneasy, then it’s achieving the desired effect. You need spin your gears no longer. All that remains are the technical design issues, which we can hope the professional artist can work out. Right now, out of the professional designers listed on the Designers for Hire page, I’m leaning heavily toward Jes Richardson of Cover Bistro, whose custom designs look a lot like the kind I want on my book’s cover.

    For all our difficulties, the advice up to now has been very helpful, and I’d like to thank every one of you who contributed to this cover’s refinement. However, we don’t seem to have any more to say to each other that we haven’t already said, so now it’s time for me to stop spinning my gears and finish writing the story. To this end, I’ll not submit another cover until it’s done, if ever. Should I submit the final cover to you once I get this published? For all the covers you critique on here, I notice the designers rarely show you what they did with all your advice in the end; you might appreciate seeing the (indirect) fruits of your labors for once.

    1. Yeah, you need a fresh pair of eyes on this, someone who hadn’t seen all the previous versions and isn’t influenced by them.

      I would personally love to see the finished work. Even if the designer doesn’t act on our critique of the final version, it’s always useful to see how we react to it, since you rarely get feedback from the readers regarding the cover in the reviews, except maybe in the lines of “I enjoyed this book in spite of the cover”.

    2. Some reply for you:

      If there is magical secret rewindings at the end of the story as you say, then the title works fine. 🙂 I was concerned about the punny, and the title has been a hot button for this project.

      I honestly didn’t notice the Rewind button looking Bermuda, the double rewind triangle is pretty firm in my mind, and while I can see it a little now, I am not sure if it is powerful enough, mention it to the designer.

      The ponytail was to show it was the same person, or that they were similar. Connected at least.

      I was attempting to forget the old covers and get a ‘feel’ for this one. While I did remember most of what had been said, I wanted a fresh look on this on its own merits. 🙂 (probably should have re-read the comments though)

      It is a definite improvement and submit it to your designer as your idea and see what comes from it. They will also be able to get the best feel as you should include the synopsis. The designer honestly doesn’t care about the spoilers like we might, they need to know the ending and unless you are getting $2000 commissioned painted picture they are probably not going to read the book in order to design the cover (they might read if it interests them mind you) They need the full picture, much like a publisher.

      A word of advice. Contact the designer, tell them you have a concept, but want to hear their ideas on the cover as well. Give them all the information, the synopsis, the blurb, the mood, the setting, all of that good stuff. A day or two later after they have had a chance to have the ideas bounding around their head, send this concept.

      They might have a different idea that you never would have expected to like in their mind that isn’t this, but after you hear it or see, you might just fall in love with the idea and ditch yours completely. Be open to their ideas, they design, you write. It is why you will hire them! 😀 If not, you still have this idea to fall back on, so what is the worst that could happen?

      Yes, please submit the final version here, I would like to see it at least, and I am sure others will as well. I have seen a few of the other final covers around though my own searching, but it would be nice for the cover to be tied up here as a finished package!

      Hopefully our advice got the gears spinning enough for the gears to get where they needed to go! Good luck!

  10. Ok, fresh pair of eyes here. Upon seeing the cover my first thought was “What genre is that supposed to be?” The color/picture combinations are unfamiliar, not bad so I could tell it was intentional. And according to your description, this book doesn’t exactly “fit” any of the classic genres so…. good job there?

    Unfortunately my reaction upon reading your description of the book was “glurk!” Child pornography (even if they are really adults) is gonna be a sticking point with a LOT of potential audience. If you are going for a more erotic tone – your cover better say that! If you are NOT going for that, your cover better reassure your audience that “Don’t worry – no child sex in this!”

  11. Well, I promised all you critics to submit the final draft here once my book was published, didn’t I? Adapting the final manuscript to each publisher’s platform has been like pulling teeth, but it’s finally available on Amazon and Lulu. (Barnes & Noble is still holding back publication until my vendor account is verified, which the Nook Press keeps insisting will happen sometime in the next 72 hours, though it’s been saying that for a week already; I’m not holding my breath waiting for the people in charge there to get their act together.)

    Amazon tells me it’ll take another 3-5 days for the paperback to be listed, but in the meantime you can get the paperback directly from CreateSpace. If you want a physical copy, you might want to wait for it to be listed on Amazon itself, however, since I’ve enrolled my book in the Matchbook program such that if you buy the paperback, you can get a copy of the Kindle edition for free. If you just want the Kindle version, it’s listed on Amazon already. (Its preview also shows off the final cover to its best advantage, in my opinion)

    Over at Lulu, meanwhile, both a paperback version and an electronic version in the PDF format are readily available. For the last time, the genre is Paranormal Romance of the dramatically-dark-and-brooding vaguely-time-travel-related kind, at least so far as my publishers are concerned. (Good luck finding a publishing category for “Paranormal Romance: Mind-Swapping” anywhere I’m releasing this; apparently, I’m pioneering a whole new sub-genre.) On all platforms, this story has been voluntarily specified to be for mature readers only due to some rather explicit content; though not erotica (despite some rather steamy scenes), this romance is also most emphatically not a light-hearted comedy, as some people seem to think all mind-swapping stories have to be.

    Since my last submission here, you may be interested to know, We Can’t Rewind has been through a few changes. It was originally going to be about 80,000 words long, but ended up being over 100,000. Also, while checking the continuity, I started realizing several of the characters’ ages (particularly the children’s) would have to be revised upward by about nine months to maintain consistency. Finally, while the Bermuda Triangle is still little more than an excuse for having paranormal events in this story, the place it took the main characters ended up being a much more important part of the story than I’d originally planned. (Hence the new length and the long delay between my last submission and now.)

    Something my cover designer and I agreed after I showed her all my scratch covers (and Waffles’ mock-up besides) was that we should indeed show the adults’ silhouettes along with the children’s, with the adults being the ones displaying affection in order to keep people from getting any terribly erroneous ideas. Also, since the story starts with the parents in their proper adult bodies getting married and the central conflict of it concerns how they manage to keep their marriage (and family) together once they’re not in their proper bodies anymore, we thought it might be appropriate to have the silhouettes be wedding-themed: hence the fancy clothes and rings and the basket of flower petals. As for the background, we agreed that while it was good to establish that the story takes place in the general vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle, we didn’t actually need to draw the Triangle itself, just the general vicinity.

    Though the record will show we’ve certainly had our differences of opinion, I appreciate everyone’s critical input in helping refine the cover for We Can’t Rewind. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jennifer Givner of Acapella Book Cover Design for helping design this cover, and our generous host Nathan Shumate for building this website and taking these submissions to it. You’ll all find yourselves credited in the acknowledgements section at the front of my book.

    1. Blast from the past!

      Hello again Blake.
      The new cover really does fit the book better I think. 🙂 All of my original problems with it are gone now. I dare say, I even like it!

      1. Well, hello again, Waffles! I’m glad to hear you like the cover; it certainly cost enough to commission. One minor irritation: when I got the book’s final proof today, the physical cover turned out to be a bit darker and the picture’s contrasts a bit less obvious than they appear on the computer screen. Oh well.

        The page for Amazon’s paperback edition is now up and running, though the preview isn’t available yet. At least it’s showing the back cover to its best advantage, now; the Lulu preview of it was barely legible. As for Barnes & Noble, I’m still waiting for the Nook Press to get its act together and give me that vendor account necessary to finish my projects there.

        Again, thanks for all the advice. Should I ever write another book, I’ll be sure to run the cover by you guys again, though there’s nothing in the works at the moment. Until then, farewell; ’tis off to promote I go…

        1. Barnes & Noble finally got its act together, so now here’s another two links:

          Paperback (It’s a dollar cheaper than the Amazon version, by the way.)
          Electronic

          I’ve also made up another electronic version for Lulu, which has been made available with its various affiliates:

          Original at Lulu
          Apple iBook
          Kobo

          In short, the book’s available just about everywhere now, though so far all of my sales have been on Amazon, and all have been electronic. Apparently, nobody much cares for physical copies or alternatives to Amazon these days. Oh well; at least doing my taxes next year ought to be fairly simple…

    2. (Good luck finding a publishing category for “Paranormal Romance: Mind-Swapping” anywhere I’m releasing this; apparently, I’m pioneering a whole new sub-genre.)

      Heh! Well, it may not specifically be in the “paranormal” section, but there does seem to be an erotica niche dedicated to mind-swapping. It’s mostly dedicated to “transgender” stuff, though, with the occasional side of “age regression” material. In other words, your book would only fit the sub-genre if your protagonist were to swap with his wife, or–if you were really in an edgy mood–her daughter.

      On the upside, everybody else going for the “dude gets swapped with dudette” plot kind of clears the field for your “parents swapped with their kids” story; basically, no need to sweat the competition. (One of the “competitors” listed is Whispers in the Mind by Tanya Allan, by the way, which… hoo boy.) It’s kind of ironic that everyone else should be into changing the characters’ sexes and getting kinky about it, considering that Mary Rodgers’ Freaky Friday novel which basically kicked off the whole mind-swapping sub-genre was specifically a same-sex mother-and-daughter swap and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with erotica. (It would kinda give a whole new meaning to the “Freaky” in Freaky Friday if Rodgers had started getting explicit about Annabel’s ongoing relationship with her love interest Boris while she was stuck in her mother’s body, yes?)

      Best wishes to you on promoting your book, though I don’t know where you’re going to find a target audience; mind-swapping stories are usually about wish fulfillment, whereas your story mostly seems to be all about the downsides of having such wishes fulfilled. As Hollywood could tell you, dark and edgy deconstructive stuff tends to win Oscars and get all the critics’ rave reviews, but quite often is fortunate to be barely breaking even at the box office. Then again, the rather dark-and-edgy deconstructive adult-oriented animated movie Sausage Party seems to be doing pretty well this year, so who knows? Maybe people will be in the mood for your brooding rather than another saccharine comedy about mind-swapping.

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