It's Worse than I Expected

Want to see what some of my readers have been emailing me lately?

“Shame on you!”

“How can you be so deceptive? I’ll never read another of your books!!!”

“I know you did this just to make a buck. Disgusting.”

Honestly, it’s worse than I expected.  I have, however, appreciated the kind and thoughtful emails and Facebook messages I’ve received from readers confused over a) the title change for Cypress Point (The Shadow Wife) and b) the three different titles in three different countries for The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and Breaking the Silence. I asked my publisher not to change Cypress Point’s title, knowing that it would cause me problems, both personally, because I’m being attacked (to a degree I never anticipated) and professionally, because I don’t blame a reader for not trusting my next book to be one they haven’t already read.

As I’ve mentioned many times, authors don’t have much clout, if any, when it comes to covers and titles. The argument for keeping Cypress Point as Cypress Point was unwinnable, and I’ve had no say in how publishers in other countries title my books. Book purchasing sites list all the titles as though they are separate books. Devoted readers order them all, only to discover they have three different copies of CeeCee Wilkes. I don’t blame them a bit for being annoyed and feeling duped.

I’m forwarding the emails I recieve to my publisher and they’ve been sympathetic and responsive. I know they did what they thought was best at the time. With The Shadow Wife/Cypress Point they wanted a title more in keeping with my current books, while publishers in other countries choose titles they think will better appeal to their market. I believe my publisher had no idea the havoc the title changes would cause and I’m happy to share that havoc with them so this won’t happen to me–or to their other authors–in the future. I will never again allow a title change on an American book, I can promise you that!

There is a printable booklist in the upper right hand corner of my Books Page on my website that is up to date and that will help you know which book is which. However, if it’s too late for that and you’ve purchased a book you’ve already read under a different title, please email me at [email protected]. I want to know how many of you are affected. All I ask is that you keep it civil!

17 Comments

  1. kellyEnglish on November 29, 2010 at 12:50 am

    You tried so hard to get the word out diane. I can see how many people are upset (I have been upset about other books before) but boy you sure gave it the college try to make everyone understand.

    As for the publishers – well shame on them. This is not the way to keep people trusting them.

    Kelly English

  2. Chantal on November 29, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I know that I’m just one of your many readers
    but I want to reassure you that if your readers
    are attentive it was clear that it was the same
    book. I’m pretty sure that your true fans will
    continue to buy your books as I’ll continue.
    I love your books so much and I’m waiting
    Impatiently of you next in print and also Brass
    Ring in e-book. Continue your fantastic work.

    Chantal

  3. debbie hearne on November 29, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I will “share” this to my FB page in hopes of getting the word out there even more! Your faithful readers know that you did nothing wrong. We love you!

  4. Diane Chamberlain on November 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Thanks, all. I’m calmer this morning (because no one’s yelled at me yet today!)

  5. Emilie Richards on November 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

    This is the second time this week I’ve heard about a published author being blamed for something over which she has absolutely no control. Believe me, folks, when I say that sometimes we are simply powerless. We sign contracts. When we sign we try as hard as we can to keep as much control as possible. But if we stood firm on everything we wished for, you would never read a word we write. This is not about greed, and it’s not about carelessness. “Our” publisher made a decision for their own good reasons. They considered Diane’s plea and decided they had to go ahead anyway, not to fool anyone but to bring you a reprint of a wonderful book with a better title and cover. In this case, that decision had consequences beyond what they anticipated. But trust me when I say that Diane did EVERYTHING under the sun to make this right before it turned wrong. And she just couldn’t.

    PLEASE, check copyright dates on every book you order/buy. The date will tell you if the book is a reprint, even if the title does not. This will save you time and money, and just as important, your faith in your favorite authors will remain intact.

  6. Diane Chamberlain on November 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    thanks, Emilie! I hope you haven’t had this happen and after my experience, I don’t think our publisher will ever suggest it for your reiusses, either. Hugs.

  7. Margo on November 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Diane, I’m so sorry this has happened to you…you are the last person in the world who should receive ‘hate mail’!!
    You can’t make everyone happy and altho this was your publisher’s decision, people like to take it out on the one who’s famous-which is you.
    Please know that your real and true fans love you no matter what and even tho this must hurt you terribly, remember those of us who think you are the most incredible author out there…its easier said than done, but I hope you will take those awful comments sent to you and try to put them out of your head…

  8. Denise on November 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Diane, I am appalled that readers would write such nasty stuff to an author without first asking for an explanation about the title(s). I could just never do that! I am very glad to know that your publisher is learning a valuable lesson from this experience. Of course, that doesn’t lessen your pain.

  9. Brenda on November 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Do not read those comments if they are hurtful
    I usually check cr date. That being said when in a hurry have ordered online and been aggravated and fooled I blame the publisher totally. There is no reason to change a title. Guess we could change classics too. Ridiculous.

  10. Diane Chamberlain on November 29, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Denise, most people have been lovely about it. But a few don’t really want an explantion…they just want to holler at somebody and it was my turn.

  11. Andrea on November 30, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Don’t listen to any of the crap that people are saying! You have mentioned on here many times that it was a reprint. They can’t be upset that they didn’t pay attention- all you have to do is read the back of the book for the summary! haha.
    Don’t let a VERY small percentage of people get you down- Keep doing what you do best! Your books are wonderful.

  12. Britnee on November 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I was given one of your books a few months ago and am now HOOKED!! I have read everyone of your books (as well as much of my family now) including the older ones available as e-books!! I have yet to be disappointed!! Keep up the fantastic work! I have never followed an author like I have you and I hope to read many more in the future!!

  13. Denise on December 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Britnee, after I read THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES I got hooked, too! I came here and got suggestions for what to read next. 🙂

  14. Ann on December 1, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    To change the title of any book is deceptive! It is one of my pet peeves as I have bought several books online and found that they were books I had already read but with a different title. All of these books were from England. I am sorry to see that the publishers are now doing this here in the USA.

  15. Lindsay on December 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    I agree with everyone writing that it is deceptive, but I also was always aware that it happens from time to time. I noticed when looking on ebay for old copies of your books (tsk tsk me, it was just after i started reading your books and i was hooked), that ceecee was there under different titles because you have to be attentive to those details.

    Oddly enough, I have a copy of cypress point on my ‘to be read’ shelf. It is the only one of your books i haven’t read (of all the ones that are keeper of the light and beyond as I don’t have ne older than that). I also go to a place called ‘the book depot’ which is a warehouse with books for cheap and there’s hardcover copies of cypress point (which made me wish i hadn’t settled for the paperback version)

  16. Margo on December 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Lindsay, you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her book CYPRESS POINT…its another of my favorites…an incredibly, unique story with a gorgeous sense of place…embrace it! (-O:

  17. Diane Chamberlain on December 4, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Lindsay, I’m glad you’ve been able to find so many of my older books. the other CeeCee titles are in the United Kingdom and Australia. My US publisher is coordinating with them on a title for my work in progress that will work in all three markets so we don’t have this problem again!

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