In anticipation of the upcoming “Rush Day,” which is February first (or 2/1/12…2112…get it?) I have re-released my mystery under a new cover and title. If you have already purchased a copy of Dead Barchetta, there’s no need to buy this one. This is not the sequel, but the same terrific story in a new outfit. The second Lerxst Johnston mystery, to be called Rock Til You Drop, is halfway done and I expect a late 2012 release for it.

People are asking why I decided to re-release my mystery this way. In truth, this is not an uncommon thing for authors to do. Sometimes when a book goes out of print, and the author experiences a resurgence in popularity, old titles are dusted off and re-released with new covers, and sometimes new titles to stimulate interest. For example, when Fannie Flagg hit it big with Fried Green Tomatoes, her previous novel – Coming Attractions – was re-released as Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man in order to capitalize on her growing status as a best-selling author.

When Anne Rice gained a strong readership through her Lestat novels, many of her older works, published under pen names, were also re-released as “written by Anne Rice.” I don’t know if title changes were made there, but this goes to show that books can have a chance at “reincarnation.”

So, why did I decide to change this book’s title and cover. To be honest, sales for Dead Barchetta were not as good as I’d hoped. Since I re-released my backlist through Kindle and Nook, I was pleased to see how well Little Flowers did in its new life, and my LK Ellwood mysteries are doing well, too. Those books are linked together by theme, however, where Dead Barchetta represents a new direction in my writing. After attending a few marketing panels, too, I came to realize the following:

  • Cover art and the book’s title are important elements in book marketing. After talking with a number of people, I knew that those familiar with the band Rush “got” Dead Barchetta, but mystery readers unfamiliar with the music weren’t sure of the title. Was it mystery, sci-fi…what? Even with the cover, the guitar with the bloody fingerprints, one probably couldn’t be certain. Also, Rock Deadly is actually less serious than the cover implies, and I realized I needed a cover that conveyed the spirit of the book.
  • I need to think about the audience I want to reach. One doesn’t have to know a lyric of Rush’s music to enjoy this book – it just happens the main character is a Rush fan and nicknamed after one of the band members. If you like mystery stories, that shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the book. It’s my hope that with this facelift the readers I was unable to reach will look my way.

So there you have it. Rock Deadly is a great story. Nearly everybody I know who read it let me know how much they enjoyed it. I hope you’ll enjoy Rock Til You Drop as well when it’s released. Currently I have Rock Deadly available through Kindle KDP Select so people who have opted for the lending library will check it out. When the option expires I’ll consider making it available elsewhere, too.

If you didn’t get around to buying Dead Barchetta, no worries. Rock Deadly is here at a great price!