New and Improved?


Sometimes it seems everywhere you look these days, things are being changed, updated, or improved. There are new versions of a variety of products, new packaging that confuses the heck out of us at the supermarket, or new colors for the same old things, also puzzling consumers. Wasn’t that shampoo blue yesterday? Now it’s purple? This trend extends to foods, of course. New ingredients to your favorite snacks, take something out and replace it with something new. But, of course, we’re assured it will still taste as good, if not better, than the original. They add an extra layer of cheese to the nachos, just to tease our taste buds. The McRib Sandwich returns just to remind us all what McDonald’s is capable of.
When it comes to movies? Well, that’s another matter altogether, and one near and dear to my heart. Many of my favorites now come with one or two deleted scenes, or a few minutes of missing dialogue, and are now called “The Director’s Cut”. Of course, you watch it, eagerly awaiting the exciting new developments that never made it to the original.
Most often they’re so tiny you don’t realize you saw them, so it didn’t matter. Once in a while, there are additions that really do add to the storyline of the movie ("Blade Runner", folks!). But most often, not.
We haven’t even gotten to the dreaded remakes of movies, where someone thinks it’s a brilliant idea to make the same movie, but with a different cast. To my mind, a classic is a classic for a reason. Yes, I have seen some remakes where the story has been updated, and it isn’t all bad. But overall, we’re always going to have a soft spot for the original actor.
I mean there is only ONE Forrest Gump for a reason. And if anyone tries to remake the original "Star Wars" trilogy, well that would start a revolution, and I’ll be on the front lines with my trusty light saber at the ready.
The reason all this came to my mind is, I have been updating a lot of book covers for writers recently. This doesn’t mean they’re rewriting their books, the original cover is getting a bit dated and they want a more modern look for today’s reader. Can you believe it was around 35 years ago that Fabio appeared on his first cover? (The novel was “Hearts Aflame” by Johanna Lindsey.)
It’s easy to see, over the years, readers’ tastes have changed, and the covers have also changed to match the times. Today’s cover model looks a lot different now. The long flowing hair, sometimes blowing in the breeze, or the sheen of moisture across his hairless, muscular chest doesn’t really catch readers’ eyes today as much as it did when those handsome gentlemen burst onto the scene, inviting Romance fans to imagine themselves standing next to them. (And trying to avoid that blowing hair.)
We’ve come a long way since then. Take a look at an assortment of covers and you’ll see that almost every man has beard stubble, some have hairy chests and arms, and the muscles rippling over these guys look like they came from hours in the gym, rather than chemicals. Not saying the older look is better or worse, but the standards for looks change over time. It’s not a bad idea to get a cover refreshed.
All this got me thinking. Do readers like revised books? Will it inspire them to give it another read and catch the changes or updates?

Read the entire article in the November 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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