I went to my local Barnes & Noble yesterday to pick up book 18 of the Aubrey–Maturin series, The Yellow Admiral. While there, I looked around just to see what else was available. I’m a sucker for great cover artwork and have bought many books based on my initial reaction of seeing the cover. And I’ve also gotten burned doing that. It happened with Every Which Way But Dead, which turned out to be the third book of a series. I went back and bought the first book, but didn’t like it, never tried the second one, and thus ended up with a pristine copy of book 3, that I’ll never use.
It happened again yesterday. I saw an excellent cover on Endgame by Kristine Smith, so I picked it up. I read the back cover and it sounded interesting. So I bought it. Later in the day, I looked it up on Amazon, just to see what people were saying about it. That’s when I found out that it’s actually the fifth book in a series. I picked the book up and read every single word on both covers and the spine and there is absolutely no indication that this book is part of a series. I’ve still got the receipt, so I’m going to take the book back and see if I can swap it for something else. There’s a chance I might swap it for the first book in the series, but more than likely I’ll go for the 19th Aubrey-Maturin book.
Note to publishers: I don’t like feeling tricked. I don’t know if this was an oversight or an attempt at deception, but it’s certainly cost you this sale, and it may have soured me against the entire series. Be honest with book buyers about when a book is part of a series. You know if it’s part of a series or not, so how about let us know before we buy. You’ll get more sales in the end.