Is your book cover killing your sales? Mine is. How do you find out?
Recently I shopped with my niece for a black leather jacket. It’s spring in Holland, so parkas–Dutch for jacket– are in abundant supply at the shops. We’re gearing up for summer storms, cool mornings and evenings, and rain of all shapes, sizes and directions. The classic black leather jacket hunt followed the size, cut, and price criteria my niece set forth.
Some of us are also stock piling our summer reading list. The criteria for shopping will include favorite genres, authors, and prices. In the midst of the search though, the covers and blurbs tantalize readers to buy or borrow, to reach out with hand, to click the button.
The cover is not only a billboard for the book, but, in a sense, the first page of the story, because it is here that the book can communicate a little of the style and mood of the tale inside…A well-designed cover is the first assurance the reader has that the book is of a high quality, both in content and delivery. The cover can scare away a customer or lure them in. Bad covers, with pixelated images, watermarks clearly visible, text badly formatted or aligned, and so forth, suggest to the reader that the interior of the book will be equally sloppy. (More from Jo Linsdell at writersandauthors.info)
How do I know my cover isn’t working? Last fall I signed two books up for Reading Deals Reviews. The way their site works is that authors and small publishers pay $20 to list their book with a large community of reviewers. Reviewers get weekly offers of what’s available to read for free in exchange for an honest review. The listing is tailored by genre, so as a writer you know folks interested in your type of story are seeing your cover. The jacket fits and the price is right for the reader, will they click the button?
Each week an email revealed whether readers in the genre were lured in by the covers of the two book. Below is an update from November.
Here is your order update for your order of 10 reviews for the book Survive Little Buddy (Iron Curtain Memoirs 1-3) that was placed on August 26, 2015:
15 readers have requested and downloaded your book. (The requested number is higher than the number of reviews you ordered in order to ensure fulfillment of the order.)
7 reviews have come in so far.
Thank you so much for you order!
– The Reading Deals Team
Shortly after Christmas, all the reviews for Survive Little Buddy were in. Thank you very much.
Flash forward to this week and check out the update for my first novel.
Here is your order update for your order of 10 reviews for the book Cain’s Coven (Begotten Bloods Book 1) that was placed on August 26, 2015:
7 readers have requested and downloaded your book.
5 reviews have come in so far.
Huh. Kind of disappointing, to say the least. Worse yet, those 7 readers have had their downloads since (drum roll please)…November.
What I’m hoping is that when the book (series) get all new cover(s) (and series branding), I can change the cover with Readers Deal and see if that makes the difference. With one change at a time, first cover then blurb, I can experiment with the variables and report back to you.
Here are a few additional resources you might want to check out as you contemplate your next book’s cover or updating the one you already have.
Simple Tips for Hiring a Book Cover Designer from positivewriter.com
3 Foolproof Strategies for Designing Fiction Book Covers (with video tutorials for each strategy) from creativindie.com
24 Extreme YA Book Cover Makeovers from epicreads.com
Coming next…French Tongue Twisters, Scottish Poetry and Skat
Kristin King is an author and publisher. She is most passionate about her family and her projects with Future Hope Africa which is experimenting in crowdfunding Congo VBS. Check it out.