Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Confessions About Book Covers

True confession time: When I got the approval copy of the cover for Beauty of the Beast from the publisher, my initial reaction wasn't pretty. The cover photo had nothing to do with the book. The woman on the cover is clearly a 'beast,' and in the book, the beast is the man! She has weird 80's hair, and the book is set in 1950. She looks clinically insane, and in the book she's a respected journalist.

After about 30 seconds of outrage, my brain clicked. Way to go, publisher! This cover will SELL BOOKS. And it did. The paperback sold out in six months, twice as fast as anticipated. At one point, copies of the $6 paperback sold used on Amazon for over $120. Fantasy Impromptu, my second novel, is on sale today for $136.88! Woohoo! I like to think the books sell because they're fun and well-written, but the covers clearly helped get them into readers' hands.

The huge lesson I learned back then is that the cover is only there to get the reader to pick up the book, whether in person in the bookstore or digitally on the Internet. From there on out, it's the author's responsibility to capture the reader with the actual words on the page.

The Cover for Twelve Nights

I forgot that essential lesson over time. I have the rights back from the publishers for my five previously published novels (getting your rights back is a post in itself!), but the covers belong to the publishers. Can't use them! When I started to prepare the first novel for digital re-release, the cover the designer and I created for Twelve Nights was exactly what I wanted and reflected the book perfectly. Trouble is, as Cassandra pointed out in a comment on the previous post, it won't sell. Ooops! Thank you a million times, Cassandra!

The big reveal on the new cover for Twelve Nights is tomorrow. I promise to post it as soon as it's ready, and you can all weigh in on its market potential.

Create a Brand Identity

If you plan to release more than one book, think in advance about the overall look of your first cover. You want to create a brand identity, so that hopefully when your faithful reader sees your next cover, they immediately recognize it as yours.

Using the Beauty cover as an example, you might want to replicate the border, though not necessarily in the same color. You might go with a centered photo, with the title and author name below. You could still use a different title font for each book.

For the new releases, I've decided to go with one main photo on each cover. They're each a little suggestive, but not over the top sexy with abs and boobs. The position of the book title varies to suit the photo, but my name is always at the bottom of the cover. The words Sexy Fun Erotic Romance tie the titles together and serve as a brand identity. At least, that's the plan!

Two Cover Designers

Here are two book cover designers who've befriended me through Twitter. I've checked out their pages, and the covers they design are beautiful and, more importantly, effective.

Generally you can get premade or custom made covers. They cost less than you might think - premade from about $45. If you're not sure about designing your own cover, or don't want to invest in the imaging software, look at the work of several designers and choose someone you are comfortable working with.

So, bottom line. The cover gets the reader to pick up the book. It's marketing, only marketing, and nothing but marketing! Write your incredible, beautiful, beyond words awesome novel, and then put a cover on it that will SELL!

Thanks for joining me here on the blog. I look forward to your comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment