Monday, October 7, 2013

Virtual Book Tour for Killer Image by Wendy Tyson

Join author Wendy Tyson on her Virtual Book Tour for Killer Image, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, from September 30 – October 11, 2013.  Please leave a comment or question for Wendy to let her know you stopped by.  My review is running late - it will be posted by Wednesday(sorry - still recovering from the flu).

Guest Post : What’s in a label? By Wendy Tyson

In a recent interview, I was asked to describe what category my book fell into and whether I thought there were advantages and disadvantages to the label.  It was a good question.  It made me think about all the rules we apply to fiction, rules that are geared more, perhaps, toward marketing the book than anything else.  Know your audience, they say.  And knowing our audience is important.  But I wonder if we don’t sometimes sell our audience short. 

Like most authors, I set out simply to write a good story.  I wasn’t focused on what category my mystery fit in or whether I’d adhered to the spoken (or, in some cases, unspoken) rules of my genre.  My intention was to tell the tale that had been hounding me for some time, to make it come alive for my readers, to inform and entertain.  But after the fact, after the book had been edited and proofread, given a nice blurb and a pretty cover, I heard rumblings.  It wasn’t quite a cozy, they said.  It didn’t follow the rules.

Had I written a cozy? 

Indeed, the book meets many of the “rules”:
  •   There is an amateur sleuth (Allison is an image  consultant) who gets involved for personal  reasons.
  •   Most of the violence occurs off-screen and is  relatively bloodless.
  •  There’s limited sex and coarse language.
  •  We know the killer is one of a limited cast of characters.

But KILLER IMAGE does touch upon some serious issues: 

Alzheimer’s, trafficking, bullying, to name a few.  It’s fast-paced (so I’m told), and there are a few sex scenes, although nothing gratuitous.  Do these characteristics preclude the cozy label?

I received an email not long ago by a savvy reviewer.  She suggested that KILLER IMAGE is really a psychological thriller, and that maybe a cozy label was somehow an easy go-to category because of the female protagonist.  Interesting point, and one I happen to agree with.  Books can have so many facets, deal with so many issues, how do we determine which ones belong in which category?  Does it sometimes come down to the default of the gender of the main character?  Woman equals mystery; man equals thriller.  Is my book any different whether it’s labelled a psychological thriller versus a traditional mystery versus a cozy?  Still the same story.  Different wrapper.

I remember early on, when I was seeking an agent for KILLER IMAGE, one kind  woman told me she liked the book, but it was too hard to label, so she wouldn’t quite know how to position it with publishers.  She passed.  I thought at that point about revising the story to make it less edgy, more traditional.  Tamer.  This way I could go a safer route.  I’m glad I didn’t.  My current agent, Fran Black, and Henery Press were more concerned with the story content than the label.  They were willing to go beyond the easy-to-position and take a risk.  I’m thrilled.

Which brings me back to my original point: if it comes down to marketing, then we, as readers and consumers, need to think about our own expectations.  Consider music.  Every so often, we go through periods in the music world when everything seems canned and prepackaged.  An artist has a major hit and the music industry big-wigs fight to find the next Musician X.  Before we know it, every other song on Radio Station Y has the same sound – Musician X’s sound.  It’s safe.  The music industry knows it will sell.  Happens in the book world.  We can both think of numerous examples when one author makes a big and unexpected splash by breaking the rules, and the next thing you know vampires/wizards/starry-eyed S&M novices are the next rage.  Has what was once an envelope-pusher become safe?  Salable? But what does that do to us, the readers?

So I vote that we take a collective step back from labeling and open our minds to the fact that there are some terrific books out there that remain homeless because they defy easy classification.  That doesn’t mean they’re not groundbreaking books.  That vampire/wizard/starry-eyed S&M novice may have been groundbreaking at one point, too.  If we become less focused on categories and subcategories I think the industry will follow.

So when you read Allison’s story, consider the genre of KILLER IMAGE.  Is it a cozy?  Is it a psychological thriller?  Is it simply a mystery you enjoyed – maybe one that even made you think (which would be my hope).

I’d love to hear your thoughts about labels. 

Killer Image
By Wendy Tyson
Allison Campbell Mystery, Book 1

Publisher:  Henery Press
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Genre: Mystery
Length: 316 Pages

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: 

As Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own after a scandal nearly ruined her. Now she moves in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics.

When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from her own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what’s real from the facade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.

Buy Links: Amazon KindleAmazon Paperback

B&N Nook  B&N Paperback

About Wendy Tyson

Wendy Tyson wrote her first story at age eight and it’s been love ever since. When not writing, Wendy enjoys reading other people’s novels, traveling, hiking, and playing hooky at the beach – and if she can combine all four, even better. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. She and her husband are passionate organic gardeners and have turned their small urban lot into a micro farm. Killer Image is Wendy’s first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

Author Links:

Tour Participants

September 30 - According to Squenn Review & Guest Post
October 1 - Books Are Life - Vita Libri Review & Giveaway
October 2 - Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Review
October 3 - Rantin' Ravin' and Reading Review & Guest Post
October 4 - Mommasez... Review & Giveaway
October 7 - Brooke Blogs Review & Guest Post
October 8 - Queen of All She Reads Review & Guest Post
October 9 - readalot blog Review
October 10 - Melina's Book Blog Review & Giveaway
October 11 - The Self-Taught Cook Review & Giveaway

If you want to enter Wendy's giveaway - you can enter here


  1. This book sounds really great. I get the best romantic suspense recommends from this site.

  2. Book sounds great and rules aren't all that important anyway.

    1. Thanks Victoria! And I appreciate the tweet! (And I happen to agree with you about rules . . . )

  3. Thanks for having me on your blog! Feel better!

  4. Hope you feel better soon. I will check back tomorrow!!! :)