Much to my utter, utter, utter, utter (is that too many? No, you can never have to many utters), utter disgust, I am having to change my book cover. Again. Before I launch into my rant (I’m ramping up as we speak), I apologise as I’d promised I wouldn’t talk about writing books too often as it might bore the non-writers. But you see, I can only post blogs about the things I do. And it’s either this or divulge the story of the day the milk went off and we all had to eat toast instead of cereal. Although, thinking about it, that story was fascinating and is fantastic blog-fodder. I’ll have to use it next time. So you see, it’s like this; I changed the book cover before Christmas. I had to; CreateSpace (Amazon’s paperback publishing arm) were unhappy about the resolution or something of the very first cover picture (I don’t know, I don’t listen). So I created a new one from their stock images. And now, well…I don’t think it’s any coincidence, but the book appears to have stopped selling…
Right, here’s a pic of the first book cover pre Christmas:-
And here’s the updated cover post Christmas:-
I was a bit sick of the first cover and personally quite liked the second one, but I guess the stats don’t lie. The book-buying public do not agree with me. I can only surmise, what with the ambiguous title, people now think my book is actually about foreign affairs. Which it isn’t. And who wants to read about foreign affairs? Well, not me – but each to their own…if that’s your bag. I fear some hapless politics teacher or enthusiast may well be in for a shock if they accidentally purchase a copy.
But you see it highlights an interesting point, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or, in my case, you really shouldn’t because you could be quite wrong. Choosing the right cover for your novel is evidently far more crucial than I’d given it credit for. I have never in my life bought a based on the artwork on the front ; it’s always been through recommendation. But I suppose it’s not the same for everyone. Like I say, the cover you see above with the building and the plane is an Amazon-own. But I guess it’s not romantic enough. Or pink enough. Or cute enough. Or sickly-sweet-couple-embracing-half-naked-making-me-want-to-throw-up-in-my-mouth enough.
Even if I’d never embarked on creating a paperback, I’d grown tired of the original cover. It appealed to the romantic-genre market, perhaps, but it didn’t seem to do justice to what was written on the actual pages. The book should be in the romantic genre, sure, but I’d felt it to be a little more gritty than the cover implied. But what do I know? Abso-sodding-lutely nothing, clearly.
I first realised there was a problem in late December/early January when the sales stopped dead. Obvs. But then I made excuses, I thought, well we’ve just had Christmas and nobody has any money and meh-meh-meh-meh-meh-meh *said in whiny voice*. But the book costs less than a regular-sized cappuccino in any coffee shop so surely it couldn’t be that. So then I started doing a little investigating on Amazon. If you click on my book (particularly on the US site), you can scroll down and see what other customers who viewed the book are also looking at. And this was the type of thing:-
International Relations: A short introduction of a post 9/11 world.
Global Affairs: A very boring look at political analysis and other things you don’t especially care to read about.
OMG, what had I done?!! My book was supposed to fall into the romantic-genre (albeit a rather witty, edgy and gritty romance, if I do say so myself) but now it was moonlighting as something it clearly was not! I’d put a big-ass plane and a building on the front! A big-ass plane and a building!! And everybody knows that that evidently represents political tedium all wrapped up in a glossy 6×9 shell!
Something had to be done. Or rather, something had to be done by my long-suffering husband who went back to the drawing board, muttering, ‘I told you so‘ (he hadn’t) under his breath. The book in its initial pink and hearty guise had sales that had been gradually building; perhaps even a buzz was growing. And I had inadvertently suffocated that; suffocated it, punched it in the face, put a pick-axe in its head and buried it. So my only option was to go back to the original cover design and rework that into something a little more slick, with a higher DPI resolution or something. Or rather, my husband had to. Those things are completely beyond me. Know your limitations, that’s what I say. The new cover had to be recognisable from the book in its infancy to try to reignite the buzz, but also be more refined. And that is the picture you see at the very top of this blog (and in the next paragraph). Behold the new cover. Ta-dah!
I really hope you like it. If you don’t’, perhaps keep that to yourself as we don’t want to hurt my poor, hard-working husband’s feelings. I could still take or leave the ‘hearts’ if I’m honest (I’d asked my husband if there were any hearts of the barbedwire variety available but he said there weren’t). Perhaps it isn’t going to appeal to the majority of males out there, but you can’t ignore the stats. The book-buying public evidently wants pink. And lots of it.
So there you have it, the old saying appears to be true; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or if you fix it, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I can’t think of any more fitting platitudes or metaphors. Not that those were especially fitting. I’m not a fool, a cover-change may achieve nothing, and I don’t suppose this change is going to set the world on fire, but I’m hoping to get back on track at least. And a note to other writers – as per many, many, many, many times before; I make these mistakes so you don’t have to. Don’t you just love me? Please don’t think I invent these silly stories just to have something to blog about; honestly, my ineptitude knows no bounds. And you couldn’t make this crap up.