The Importance of a Cover

If you haven’t guessed, I’m an indy author with one small book out on Amazon. It took me a while to decide to make the leap. Fortunately, Betsy DeVos urged me on when she upped my student loans. So here I am. Throwing my hat in the ring.

Manuscript? Check

Book Cover? Check

Fear of Goodreads reviews under control? *bites nails.* Sure. Yeah. Check.

I uploaded, crossed my fingers, said a prayer to Amanda Hocking, patron saint of indy writers, and pressed publish.

So far I’ve sold six copies. Yay, six!! I had a free weekend where nearly a hundred were downloaded, which was super awesome and exciting.

But since then, nada.

I’ll be honest, I’d like to maybe sell a few more. So I asked my good friend and beta reader what I’m doing wrong.

“That’s easy,” she replied. “You have the wrong book cover.”

Huh? “What’s wrong with my book cover?” I asked.

“It looks like an Amish – slash – Christian Romance.”

I was confused. “It does not. It’s old fashion fairy tale-y.”

 

“No, it’s not,” she answered.

“It is, too! I found this awesome old postcard, something outside of copyright, and poof! Photoshop powers activate.” I showed her the book, in case she was thinking about some other cover that wasn’t mine. “It’s pretty, right? I mean you got to admit, it’s pretty.”

BTW, that’s it right there. Looks good, right? (Say yes, even if you don’t mean it. I’m good with it.)Violet Amazon

“Sure, it’s pretty.” She paused. “It’s Amish Christian Romance-y. But it’s pretty.”

“It is not!” I exclaimed.

“Is, too.”

“Well, I don’t see it,” I pouted.

“I do. So does everybody else.”

“Shut up!” I pointed at her. “Fibber. You’re a fibber!”

“I am not.” She patted me on the back. “Sorry, buddy, but that cover reads like a story about a girl name Violet and her angst-y, unrequited love, and active prayer life with Hezekiah, the farmer next door.”

Okay, nota bene here. I have nothing against Amish Christian Romances. I’ve read my fair share, and they can be absolutely beautiful. But my little story is not an Amish Christian romance. There’s a whole lot of swearing, cursing, and cheating, and loads of other shunful things that one doesn’t find in the Amish Christian Romance genre. Unless one’s on rumspringa… I’m digressing.

Getting back to my conversation.

“Are you sure?” I asked, still skeptical. “I think it looks old fashioned fairy tale-y.”

“Positive.” She pulled into our local Starbucks. “Let’s get a coffee and I’ll explain it to you.”

Once she got her Iced Venti Soy Latte and I got a glass of tap water, she went on. “It’s reader expectation, Liz. You have to color in the lines here. When people look at a cover, they expect to be able to get a sense of what it’s about. They’ve been pre-conditioned to see a certain type of cover and link it with a certain type of story.”

I nodded. I knew what she was talking about. “YA running girls.”

She pointed at me. “Exactly. You see a book with a girl in a long dress, all blurred out just enough to skirt copyright, you know it’s some first person paranormal girl meets vampire/werewolf with a definite love triangle.”

“Or she’s in a dystopian hell where she has to compete to marry, or runaway from a forced marriage, or is kidnapped into marriage — ” I paused “– I’m forgetting something.”

My friend waved her hand dismissively. “It doesn’t matter. You get it.”

I glanced lovingly at my book. “But what is it about my book cover that looks Amish Christian Romance -y?”

“Old fashioned, no girl, old font… the general vibe.” She shrugged. “Sorry, buddy. Want to hit Old Navy on the way home?”

After dropping some bank that I couldn’t afford at Old Navy to sooth my emotion pain, I got together with another beta reader. “Love the book, Liz!” she squealed. “Look at you, all making the leap! You’re all published and everything!”

I got to the point. “What do you think of the cover?”

“Oh, it’s gorgeous… kind of threw me off because I thought it was an Amish Christian Romance, but then, no. It wasn’t.”

I fell to the floor, dead.

Okay. So the book has the wrong cover. Darn it. I had to change it.

Fortunately, I got me some photoshop skills. I set about finding a free image to use and went from there. It took a while to get inspired, but today I came up with something.

Without further ado… Violet Blue, rebranded.

Violet Blue New Final

I hope this works.

*Goes to kitchen to make ramen noodles*

 

 

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