So the other day I was shopping in a new store in a new state which meant finding replacements for some of the “standards” I keep in my cupboards. One of those basics is carbonated soda water. Not quite tonic, but similiar. I drink it all day instead of tap water. In Maine, we bought the store brand. Well, obviously I wasn’t going to find that in Rhode Island, so we found something that looked like it would fit the bill. Reasonably priced and 0 calories. Perfect.
Yeah, well, I poured my first tall glass and took a long swallow … and promptly spit it out. It was like drinking kool-aid with bubbles. GAH! A mouth full of sugar. When I looked at the ingredients I discovered it contained aspertame. Blech! I don’t like aspertame. I find it overly sweet. I ended up dumping 3 bottles of the stuff because I just couldn’t drink it. I was so bummed. I really felt that the product should have been more clearly labelled.
What’s this got to with writing? A lot actually.
A while back I bought a book that sound very intriguing. The title was about vikings. The cover showed a viking. The back cover blurb talked about vikings, ships and characters from different worlds falling in love. Yay! I was going to read a viking story. I settled in and within the first chapter was introduced to a “space bridge”. Wai … what? The “ship” turned out to be a space ship. The “other world” turned out to be outerspace. Now don’t get me wrong, I love science fiction stories. I read them all the time. Heck, I’ve even written a sci fi erotic romance. But I didn’t lead the reader to believe they were picking up a contemporary romp. The cover for A Touch of Lilly shows a planet with three moons and one of the guys has red skin … red skin. There is nothing that could lead a buyer to think they were picking up anything that didn’t include an alien of some type. Even if you never read the back cover blurb, you’re not going to think you’ve picked up a steampunk novel or an historical.
I felt totally jipped. The thing is, it might be a good book. I might even have enjoyed it, but I didn’t get past the second chapter before I set the book aside in disgust. It’s not what I plunked my money down for. I was looking for an historical romance and what I got instead was an eclectic mix of sci fi and historical which is totally awesome for the author, but not so much for the unsuspecting reader.
So how do you see it? Am I way off-base on this? Have you ever picked up a book you felt fell in one genre and actually turned out to be another? Did you feel like you got the old bait and switch? I’m just wondering if I’m feeling a little overly sensitive about this.