So I asked for advice last night about my particular failure in marketing my books. I got some really great feedback and responses, so thanks to everyone. Shelby, a fellow author who went out of her way to track me down and send me a very informative email, mentioned something I forgot to mention in last night’s post.
My book covers suck. I designed them.
I was already aware of that particular problem, but a part of me forgets that SO MANY PEOPLE do judge books by covers. I mean, I really feel like my novels are living proof. The design of them is simple, but Shelby was exactly right. The covers say NOTHING about the books.
I was a graphic designer in my former life. I also used to dabble in amateur photography (very amateur). My first design did include a photo, but it, too, didn’t say anything about the books. Honestly, I have no one to blame but my lazy self for taking the easy way out on them. I didn’t have any photos that suited the characters, and I’m a pretty big anti-stock-photo-snob. I also cannot draw. At the time of the creation of the current design, I didn’t know how imperative it was to have a cover that said more than a title and an author’s name. I know this now.
I met with a friend (and awesome illustrator) of mine last month about redesigning the covers. I have no money, so she’s doing the first one for free so she has something for her portfolio. We’re starting with LOST AND FOUND, and we’re supposed to meet this week to see what she’s come up with. I was hoping to do a re-release before the holidays… but I’m honestly concerned that it will confuse the general populace. Why? Because people DO judge books by covers. What if they say, “I’ve never seen that bad-ass cover! I want to read it!” and then realize it’s the same awesome book they already read that was dressed in an ugly black and white outfit? Ugh. The stupid situations I put myself in.
The redesign poses a certain problem, though, that goes hand-in-hand with last night’s post. If it’s romance, does it need a woman in a ripped bodice standing in front of a shirtless sex-god* in order to sell? (As a side note: this image would not suit the story, which again leads me to believe it’s not really a romance novel.) If it’s just contemporary women’s fiction… yikes… it’s really got to stand out. (Summer, sorry, I know you’ve got your work cut out for you, but I have faith in you. Your work STANDS OUT.)
Anyway. Any thoughts on the re-release with a new cover? I mean, I honestly think that it will be better in the long run. After all, I really couldn’t sell FEWER books than I do now. 😉
And as an aside to Shelby, it meant so much for you to send me that email, and I do NOT think of you as a know-it-all. You had awesome ideas that I’m going to work on this week. You may even see yourself referenced in future blog posts, because you’ve really got me thinking.
Also, a side note to my dear friend Noel, thank you for pushing me to get back to the blog. You’re, like, so wise. 🙂 You always impress me.
* I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with covers like this.