A New Face for a New Year

PJ Sharon here wishing all you Scribe’s followers a Happy New Year!

We are so thankful for your support over the past year and hope you’ll continue to join us for fun, informative, and entertaining posts about writing, publishing, and all things books. You’ll be treated to an occasional secret recipe, guest authors, interviews with industry professionals, reviews of our favorite books, and tips on everything from  craft to the everyday pitfalls of trying to manage this crazy writer’s life.

As the first Scribe to post in 2013, I’d like to talk about the most important selling point of a well-written book–aside from it being well-written, that is.

In this day of digital publishing, when as many as 350,000 new books a year are put in front of readers, the burning question is, what will help your book to stand out in the deluge? I can’t help but think the answer goes back to the basics. Most of us judge a book first by its cover, then by the blurb, and then by reading the first page or so. Most readers, many who are buying from their e-reading devices, only see a thumbnail version of a book cover and often decide to look closer only if something about that tiny image pulls them in. Having a breathtaking cover, a well-written and captivating blurb (back cover description), and a grabber of a first line can only up your chances at being noticed.

As you may know, I had moderate success with a FREE promotion last week and I think the results prove my point.  After having my cover redone by a professional cover artist, downloads for Heaven is for Heroes outnumbered my previous bestseller, On Thin Ice, 3 to 1. You can read about my results here.  Since the only thing I did differently to showcase Heaven is for Heroes was a $5 paid ad on Facebook, I’m betting that the new cover had something to do with the increased numbers. My results tell me two things. Facebook ads do work, and cover art matters. Either way, I took the hint and had a new cover made for Savage Cinderella. **Incidentally, I did see a small bump in sales this week after my FREE days, so IMO it’s still worth hopping on the KDP Select gravy train if you’re looking for a boost in sales and visibility.

Although I’d had lots of feedback from friends and fellow writers who liked the original cover, the black and white just didn’t stand out on the thumbnail version. The title and author name didn’t “pop,” and the image didn’t really give a clear impression of the genre or the story, at least not when competing against the cream of the crop with their photoshopped masterpieces.SC SW cover

One of the benefits of independent publishing is that we can easily adapt and change with the market. Young adult cover art has evolved over the past year or two, leaning toward “darker” images, bolder colors, haunted faces with intense expressions, and beautiful young men and women looking tormented but relatable on the covers. The tone of a book should be clearly expressed through the cover art, and there should be some hint as to what the story will entail via the title fonts, tone, and cover image. I’m hoping that my new cover does all of those things, perhaps even tapping into a new readership who previously may have overlooked the other cover simply because it didn’t stand out enough or they didn’t “get” a feel for the book.

There’s no doubt that I’ll run across those who would rather not see a face on the cover, preferring the character’s features be left to the imagination, but the idea is to make an impression–to grab a browsing reader and make them look twice. If you’ve read the book you’ll probably understand why this image is so powerful. If you haven’t read the book, you can find it on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords, or you can read a chapter a week for FREE on Wattpad.

As always, I’d love your feedback.

Savage Cinderella WEBSITE USEThis cover is the work of Melody Simmons, who also did my Heaven is for Heroes and Waning Moon covers. She is super easy to work with and reasonably priced, not to mention, fast. She had this cover and my HIFH cover back to me in a day or two, offering me several options from which to choose, and working with my suggestions to get to the look I wanted.

I hope you’re looking forward to 2013 as much as I am. I have a feeling it’s going to be a stellar year for the Scribes and we’d love for you all to share the journey with us.

Blessings of good health, peace, prosperity, balance, and harmony to all,

PJ

Do you have any exciting plans for the coming year? What do you think about trends in cover art? Too many faces on YA covers, or do you like to see those smoldering and desperate looks?

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26 thoughts on “A New Face for a New Year”

  1. WOW Paula, you are a compendium of knowledge. I have learned a great deal from your words and experiences. And that cover for Savage Cinderella is fantastic. Congratulations. Packaging is critical, no matter the product. I “like” your posts.
    Back to blogging for me this week, after several weeks of travel, exploring and writing.

  2. I LOVE this cover, Paula! It is more dramatic and really appeals to a more visceral side of me. The other cover by comparison (and I didn’t notice this until I saw the new cover to compare it to) feels more distant, if that makes sense, and you’re right, the new one does give a better feel for the genre. Visually, the old one is nice, and it works, but the new one really says more! I love that the house is there, too. Best of luck in the new year!!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Melanie. That “visceral” response is what we want when we’re designing cover art. I didn’t see it in the other cover either I see what you mean about the “distance” the image creates. I just hope that “fans” of the book don’t mind the change.

  3. I love the change. She looks savage. This should draw more attention. I changed a cover last month and it seems to have given me a little nudge in improving sales. I hope this works for you and you have a successful and abundant year in all things good.

    1. Thanks Huntley! I chose the stock photo of the cover model, related the story and tone of the book, and Melody worked her magic. We went back and forth a few times, but she came up with this in about two days and I knew it was the right look for the book.

  4. Just like in stories, details make the difference in book covers too. Good luck with it.
    You are a wealth of info and I’ll know who to contact when I reach where you’re at. : )

    Best in the new year.

    1. Glad you like it, Joy. I’m happy to share the info. It’s so much more fun than going through the journey alone:-)

  5. L.O.V.E the new cover!! I hope it really helps sales of this wonderful book! :) I’m also revising my cover for Rising Above to add a couple so it says more ‘romance’ than…”What is this about??” Fingers crossed it works for both of us.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I appreciate your feedback. I loved the old cover too–mainly because it was different than most of the covers you see and I think it stands out for that reason. It also stands out as an Indie cover, though, because it is so different. I honestly don’t think readers care whether something is Indie-published. but I’d rather not draw attention to it since many people have had bad experiences buying indie books. If my books can compete in the mainstream, they need to be able to do so all the way around. Great cover, well-written stories, and professionally edited and published books are the only way to get noticed in this business. Add a little luck and some good timing and I think I’ll have a recipe for success.

  6. Love the new cover! Of course, my Kindle copy will always have the old cover, which is nice too. :)

    You made a great point about making sure that your cover looks good not just at full size, but thumbnail too.

    1. Thanks Julie. I still love the old cover too, and folks getting/having those either as an e-book or hardcopy will now have “collector’s editions.” I still have some paperbacks available with the old cover, so I’ll use those as contest giveaways or library donations. They’ll be good to send as review copies as well.

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