Yesterday I was perusing Pauline Gedge’s Egyptian novels at Amazon when I discovered something totally cool. You see, Gedge has authored the only traditionally published, adult novel on Hatshepsut (there’s a couple children’s books out there). Child of the Morning was originally published in 1977, but my copy is from SoHo Press’s release in 1993- it’s been hard to find for a while now.
This cover will grab someone like me simply because I’ll pick up anything that looks remotely Egyptian. But I think for a non-Egyptian fanatic it might be a little dry. Well, yesterday I saw a new cover. It appears that Chicago Review Press will be re-releasing Child of the Morning in April.
Snazzy cover, eh? I’m actually a little jealous- I love this one and I was surprised to find that this is the original 1977 cover. I’m thrilled for Gedge (and Hatshepsut, not that she’ll know it) that this is coming out again. Although I will admit that my initial response was more along the lines of, “Oh no! How many Hatshepsut books can the market hold?”
Yeah, I might have panicked a little.
But then my wonderful husband pointed out that Hatshepsut isn’t really a household name. A re-release of a book about her will probably whet people’s appetites to learn more about her. After all, if the market can sustain the glut of books on Henry VIII, surely there’s room for a couple novels on Hat, right?
So, if you can’t wait for my novel, I highly recommend you check this one out. I’ve read it a couple times- it’s pretty good!
What do you think? How many books on the same subject can the market bear? And how much do book covers matter to you if the book is in your favorite genre?
I do like the new cover – but I bet yours will rock!!
If a book has a unique voice, a fun approach, it doesn't matter at all to me if I've read another on the subject. Good writing sucks me in.
Stephanie, this is too funny. We appear to be going through everything identically right now– I saw a press release describing a book TRILOGY about a 2000 year old Druid who travels to the Desert of Arizona and discovers the Norse, Greek, and Celtic gods all alive and hanging out and almost had a heart attack. My husband wasn't nearly as wise in his response to my panic-attack as yours was, but I read that the trilogy was auctioned off and got a SIX FIGURE DEAL (Debut, no less!)– and if there were that many houses interested in that trilogy, I HAVE To believe that the disappointed ones will want mine. Right?
Also: you better believe I queried the agent who made that deal AND I now follow the author's blog.
I think there's certainly room for more than one book on a historical figure, especially when those books are novels. Never fear!
Oh, and I believe covers are insanely important. An awesome cover sells books.
I just read this book; inspired by my woeful knowledge of your subject. I wouldn't worry about it; the market on Ancient Egypt isn't exactly saturated.
Jemi- I think you're right. Good writing is the key. There are a gazillion ways to spin the same story- it's all in the execution!
Amalia- Now I'm dying to know who the author was. That is totally crazy and I can see how that sale would cause a freak-out session. Just think of it as priming the pump for your book!
Anissa- Awesome covers do sell books. I have several on my shelf that are gorgeous- ones I bought out of my normal genre simply because they were so pretty.
Elspeth- Yay! Gedge does a great job following the history. I hope you enjoyed it!
I wonder if there's a way to work this into the query letter. A re-release on the same historical figure, it would seem to me, would totally be a rung on the ladder of interest.
I'm with everyone on here about not worrying. If anything, you can do a minor comparison referencing the other book. Say it's on the same historical character, but mention what makes your story different from that one.
That first cover was dry – you're right. I would definitely pick up that second one, though. It reminds me of Wilbur Smith's River God series. 🙂
It think it will be beneficial, once interest is generated in an historical figure, readers will look for more to feed their need. More Hat!
Your book is the awesomer of the two, I'm sure 🙂 And yes, just because I've read one doesn't mean I wouldn't read another. She's a fascinating lady!
I think there is always room for another book. To paraphrase my agent: It's not the story but how the story is told.
Stephanie- Hmmm… Now you've got me thinking.
Matt- Good point. I'm going to wait to see how the re-release does. If it ends up the NYT Bestseller list that will be a whole different story than if it's a relatively small release.
Shannon- I'll have to check that series out!
Deb- I agree! The more Hat, the better!
L.T.- Thanks for the vote of confidence! She certainly is one cool chicka!
Paul- That's a great line to remember. I'm going to file that away for future reference.
It's all about how the story is told. I think there is limitless room for books on the same topic. I mean, how many books about love and coming of age exist?
I do not think there is a limit to how many times a subject is written about. No two authors write the same exact words. There is always a unique quality that sets it apart from every other novel. Definitely looking forward to your version of Hatshepsut!
The cover is what first draws me to the book and gives me that great first impression. Of course that does not always mean that the book will be great and many books do not have catching covers but are excellent reads. I think it really helps when the cover resembles the story within. There have been many time I pick up a book and read the back cover only to find that it has nothing to do with the cover art.