Book Covers

New Book Covers

Book Covers are an interesting thing. Everyone has an opinion on what makes a book cover ‘good.’ A fact that has recently been underscored by the feedback I’ve gotten about the new covers I’ve done on both Bridgefinders, and Bridgebreaker. Some really like them, some say they are to simple and plain, some say the old covers were better, etc.  Now I did get some actual input that was useful, clarify the fonts, make the title stand out more, etc. I took those to heart, and those were useful.

I should first say WHY I made new covers. I want to start off by saying that the cover guy I had been using, S.A. Hunt is a great and very talented guy. None of this is a reflection on him or his work. I think it’s a far safer assumption to say that I didn’t know what I wanted, so I just went with whatever he came up with. And he came up with some nice stuff. Very nice. The issue however was that over time I realized that the direction we had taken wasn’t what I really wanted for the covers. I made a list of what I like in covers of books I enjoy…

  1. Simple – I don’t like covers with a bunch of stuff going on. I want it to have a central ‘theme’. Interesting, but doesn’t give to much away.
  2. Must give a hint however of what the story is about. – While I don’t want to give away the farm, I hate covers that look interesting, but when you read the story you can’t find any connection to the actual story or characters.

That was it, not much of a list, right?

With that limited criteria in mind I decided I wanted new book covers for the first two books in The Echo Worlds series. But it’s the holidays, money is a bit tight… so paying someone to make new covers wasn’t going to be easy. On top of it I still wasn’t sure what I wanted.

Then it hit me, I would make the covers myself! Then self-doubt hit me, I don’t know a single damn thing about graphic design, how Photoshop or whatever other program people use actually works. I thought it about, vacillating between knowing I could do it, and thinking it would be a total disaster. That being said, I finally decided to get a trail version of Photoshop CC, watch a bunch of YouTube video’s on how to do stuff in Photoshop, and see what I could come up with.

My first effort, while not in use and not very good proved to me that I COULD do it, and that I really needed to know what I actually wanted.  After brainstorming, I went ahead and got the 9$ a month subscription, and started trying things.. and slowly, surely I had new book covers. I think they both show what the book is about, without hitting you over the head with it.

I’ve submitted the changes to Amazon for the eBooks, Createspace for the paperbacks, and ACX/Audible for the audiobooks. The changes are propagating through the systems, so the new covers will be showing up across the platforms, soon. And oh.. here’s the new covers!

Cover for Book 2

Cover for Book 1

Busy times

Bridgefinders cover and Marketing.

Bridgefinders

Bridgefinders

Cover time and Marketing! I’ve release this on Facebook and Twitter, but hadn’t done it here on the blog yet, which in retrospect, I should have done it here first, and then on twitter and Facebook. Drive more traffic here, right? Next time!

Anyways, I’m really happy with this cover. The creator of the cover is the talented @authorsahunt. Very easy to work with, asked the right questions. Highly recommend, and I will be working with him again for the sequel (in progress!) for Bridgefinders. I’ve got about a week left till I get my manuscript back from the editor, the also talented @brianawrites. She’s finishing up copy edits, and she wanted to format it as well, so more’s the power to her on that! 🙂

Which leads me to the next subject, something I’ve not taken overly seriously until now, marketing.

See, like a lot of folks who write, I have some issues with putting myself out there and flogging the book. While I used to do a lot of theater (had a very nice scholarship for it back in the day.) I’ve gotten away from that over the years, and found myself somewhat uncomfortable with selling. I like to sell my books, don’t get me wrong, the money is nice as a reward for the work. However like other’s who came into this over the years, I seemed to suffer from the common delusion that writing was easy and once I got it done I’d just put it for sale and then make money.

This, however, is grade ‘A’ total fantasy.

  1. Writing is harder than it looks.
  2. Marketing your books is totally 110% necessary if you actual want to sell any of them at any volume.

Now, if your writing and just putting them out there for family and some friends to buy, great! Have a wonderful time doing so, but don’t really plan on getting any real money out of it. Yes, there is I guess some slight slim chance you’ll get ‘discovered’ and do well. But the odds, frankly, are against it. You’ve got to try to push the book. So this time I’m going out of my way to do so. And yes, that means I may have to spend $$ to make $$$.

So what you ask am I doing?

  1. Facebook ads. Yes, really. The fact is, Facebook will let you target your ads in certain places. But I’m not all that good at that. So I’ll be using a service I already had to help get those ads out.The service is authorRise. authorRise has a neat tool that allows you to make free “book flyers” for your book to share on twitter and other social media sites. They also offer targeted Facebook ads to help drive sales, so I’m going to try it. The cost is minimal but there is a cost.
  2. theBookPromoter. Another book marketing service. Also costs (but again, not breaking the bank, and has a money back guarantee. So there’s that. Includes twitter traffic, mailing the book to a list of book reviewers, and more.
  3. Targeted traffic for the first two weeks of sale. This means quite simply, I’m flogging the book for the first two weeks at a discounted rate (.99 cents vs 2.99) and calling in every favor I can to get family and friends to buy the book and review it. The goal, to get on Amazon’s ‘Hot and New’ list for my genres. Going to try at least. Doing so gets you a TON of exposure.
  4. Picking the RIGHT genres. I’ve been working out exactly which lists or area’s I’m going to place the book in. I think I have a good plan now but I’m going to leave this one a surprise.. for now 😉
  5. Bookmarks. wait, what? Yeah Bookmarks. You can get them cheap off Vistaprint, some alluring cover art, a QR code that links to the book on Amazon (going through an affiliate sales link to boot.) Leaving some at libraries, bookstores, coffee shops. I’ve also seen people offering to leave bookmarks out places if authors will send them some. I’m down with that. (Idea: Twice a year bookmark sharing hashtag, authors send bookmarks to each other to be placed where they live. Hmm…..)

I’m really proud of this book honestly. It was born out of a bunch of idea’s I had jotted down over a few years that I hadn’t been able to make work on their own. I had been working on a different book that is still unfinished (It wasn’t very good, and still isn’t.) when the idea for combining some of these things came to me. I actually blasted through the first draft in a month and a week, which is pretty damn fast for me. Revision, editing, and cover stuff has taken almost twice as long as writing the first draft. But I’m forcing myself to take my TIME this time around and not rushing it. Hard for me, but working on it!

So in the same way I reported on my free book promo, I’ll report on my marketing efforts about a month after launch. I’m expecting book launch to be the first week in April, which means the end of April for a follow up post.. I’ll keep you updated!

 

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