BOOK NERD THAT I AM, I often overlooked the dusty old covers of the titles stuffing up our attic.
Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Dickens… classic authors whose books deserved better than a surface level skim or cursory glance. Timeless tomes that had survived not only the passage of time, but the mould and decay of our small attic space.
As readers, we’re often very quick to pass judgement on a book based purely on the cover. I’ve been guilty of it. We walk through book stores looking for something to leap out at us.
The massive online store that is Amazon makes standing out, especially for those who aren’t established authors without the platform or required marketing budget, virtually impossible.
All signs stress the importance of a book cover that practically rip the eyes from your head.
With changing trends and styles, publishers often change the covers of some of their bestsellers – adding a ‘freshness’ to an older book that could hook a new wave of readers.
The struggle is very real for indie authors. I forked out a lot of money for an ebook and paperback cover with a company which you can read more about here. At the time I was very pleased, but over the last eight months I’ve received feedback which has been quite critical about my cover choice.
Pathfinders was a story which took years to write, but it fell at the opening hurdle for many people because the cover wasn’t strong enough to hook.
My suspicions about the strength of the cover were confirmed when I asked others over at the Amazon Kindle Boards (thin-skinned need not apply), and I received the same, albeit more constructive feedback from thebookdesigner.com.
N.B. I actually really like the latter’s website and received an award for my cover edition of ‘Spectrum‘ which, coincidentally, cost $200 less than the image I used for Pathfinders.
I’ve run a couple of promotions for Pathfinders through a third-party marketing site, and the feedback for its lack of success in hitting the ‘guaranteed’ downloads was because it may have been categorised incorrectly or that the cover wasn’t strong enough.
I still have that receipt somewhere, right?
In any case, it just goes to show that you can, and people often do, judge a book by its cover. I think I’ll stick to the excellent, inexpensive covers over at goonwrite.com in the future – the place where I bought the cover for Spectrum.
Not only are they incredibly well executed and diverse, but just skimming through some of the categories has inspired some short story ideas – one of which – Crystal Clear – I’ll publish in the coming weeks.
I quite like this cover, but then again, I might be biased.