Harsh, I know, but the truth often stings us in our most sensitive bits.
You know, right in our babies, our books, our belief that we have the BEST cover art EVER.
And, it’s all a lie.
Now, you have to realize this has ZERO to do with your cover artist. That’s right, zero. This problem has to do with YOU (and by you I mean me too) not being able to give your/my cover artist something to work with.
For instance, my book, Sundered, originally had a very cool cover. This one, right here. O I loved it, and felt that the artist captured a part of the story in the artwork.
It took TALENT to produce this cover, something I do not have. What I also didn’t have was an understanding of what I would NEED to have on the cover in order for it to sell to my MARKET.
This book cover is great, but it really doesn’t sell to my market, which is ZOMBIES and monsters, horror and gore. Much as there IS a romance in the book, that is just a bonus, and not the full scope of the story.
What I learned blew my mind. NO, really it did. As proud as I was of Sundered’s cover, it wasn’t helping me sell my book. It was scaring away potential readers because the book cover said one thing (erotic romance apparently) while the blurb said Zombies, Monsters and high action. A contradiction that scared readers off.
So I took Carolyn’s advice and had a second cover done. Again, a talented artist, but THIS time, I knew what I was looking for. Zombie, monsters, freaky looking. I knew my market better, understood what my readers were looking for and I gave it to them.
Now, what did the cover change do for me? It increased sales by 800%. Yes, you read that right. Because now, what I show my potential readers and what the blurb says MATCHES.
All because I finally had someone tell me the truth, as difficult as it was to hear. My cover art sucked because I didn’t recognize my market, and wasn’t able to then give the ideas to my artist. Those two simple things, were KILLING my sales.
What this means is that if your sales are struggling, it likely has very little to do with your writing. People, readers (myself included) do judge books by their covers. A sad fact of life, but a true one. How do you fix this? Simple. Don’t be so attached to your work, that you aren’t willing to make a change. Not every cover artist has the time to read your book to learn what it’s about. You as an author, need to be able to identify your market, what fits the mold of your market and what will make you stand out.
Once I learned to do this, when I went to my next cover, I was able to clearly identify what would work in the urban fantasy market I was aiming for, and what wouldn’t. Here is what we came up with.
Because I have learned the lesson about covers, I now move forward recognizing the three most important things about them. 1. Does it fit the genre? (YES)
2. Does it intrigue and excite the eyes, while making you wonder about the story? (YES)
3. Does it stand out of the crowd, while still fitting in the genre? (YES)
4. Am I so attached that I won’t be willing to change it at a later date? (NO)
If you can answer those questions, then you have a cover that is ready to stand up with the best.