Can changing a book cover make people laugh and increase sales?

My intent was to write a book to make people laugh. I love murder mysteries, so I thought I’d go with that genre, with a humorous twist. Since I worked for almost forty years in the medical biotechnology and drug industry, I used that venue as the backdrop for the series. I created the biotech murder mystery, a new subgenre that explores the humorous side of what can go wrong with medical biotech development. Comedy of the absurd has always been one of my favorites, so I went with that. I wanted something that was fun to write as well as to read.

The first book in the series is PLEASURIA: Take as Directed, published by Koehler Books. Two publishers who read the manuscript got back to me and told me the book contained laugh-out-loud comedy. The book contains adult comedy, a lot of silly sexual situations. One of the publishers mentioned that they had never seen an author write a book with sexual content that was so funny, without being at all offensive. This made me happy.

The story is about a new product for treatment of depression that is supposed to make the patient happy. Well, due to some unusual drug side effects the people are becoming a little too happy. These side effects include repeated spontaneous climaxes in women, and silly sexual hallucinations in men, and it is a murder mystery. To find out how that works, you’ll have to read the book.

Examples of those silly sexual situations include the following. A NASCAR driver hallucinates a very friendly sexy blonde in the car with him. At 200 mph, he decides to pull into the pit so they can go get a room. This does not end well.

Then there’s the 75-year-old man who wakes up in the middle of the night to the sounds of his wife having multiple orgasms, without him. Upon further investigation, he discovers that no one, including herself, is touching her. Her condition appears to be happening spontaneously. At first he suspects this is the work of a ghost. Worried about his wife, and unhappy that he is being left out of the experience, he dials ‘911’ and explains that his 75-year-old wife is having multiple orgasms. What should he do? The ‘911’ operator tells him that this line is for emergencies, not an old man who wants to brag about his sex life.

The book sales got off to a slow start. That makes me sad. I want to make people laugh. The reviews have all been good, 4 and 5 stars. I submitted the book to the IBPA awards, and received one good and one great review (ranking me 4thamong all the entries for humor), but the judges didn’t like the book cover. They agreed that the original book cover was too ‘busy’, contained too much information. One of them even commented that it was difficult to tell whether the book title was PLEASURIA or HAPPINESS. Both judges indicated that the book cover took away from the overall appeal of the book. So, it would seem that a book cover can make a difference to judges in a book contest. I actually liked the original cover, but I’m no design expert.

Based on this information, my publisher has decided to change the book cover for PLEASURIA to one including an attractive woman in a classical ‘little black dress’ sitting on a giant pill bottle. This book cover clearly focuses on key points included in the book. The book cover change has only been in place for a week, and I have already gotten comments on Facebook such as “this cover invites you in to read the book”, and “this cover is a lot more fun than the original”.

I wrote PLEASURIA for three reasons; because I love to write, I wanted to make people laugh and I am donating all of my after-tax profits from the book to two children’s charities, Holly’s House ( and Darkness to Light ( I am hopeful that this change in the book cover will help ramp up book sales, because I would like to donate as much money as possible to these two wonderful organizations.

I am doing this in honor of my younger sister, who had a rough childhood, grew into an amazing woman, and then tragically died at the age of 45. My intent is to bring laughter to as many people as possible, while giving to these charities so that they can prevent other young girls and boys from going through what my sister did as a child.