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Covers Matter...?

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  #1  
Old 05-15-2015, 12:29 PM
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Default Covers Matter...?


Recently, I checked in on the sales of my two novellas. The first, still selling fairly well, and even garnered a couple good reviews. The latter… terrible sales, and honestly, it seems much better than the first. I was confused for all of two minutes until I started looking at it.

I hated the cover!!! I didn’t before, but the more I looked at it the more I hated it.

Got a new cover, and wham! A lot more sells. Well, not A LOT, but more than before. Anybody else have a learning experience such as this, or did I just go full retard?

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Old 05-15-2015, 02:53 PM
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For the most part, a cover just needs to be simple, clean and easy to read. And I'd spring for a nice stock image, instead of trying to cut corners. If you do it yourself, or if you get someone to design it for you, it just needs to LOOK professional. If you don't have the eye for design and layout -- just ask someone for help.

So yeah -- if it's self-published, I do judge a book by it's cover to some extent. It says a lot about how much the author cares about his book. If the cover sucks, I'm going to immediately lower my expectations.
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:11 PM
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Yeah I definitely don't have an eye for design. The first one was too... Well, (sorry I can't spell parochial) religious looking. So, I actually splurged for a decent cover.
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Old 05-15-2015, 04:24 PM
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I've come across writers who say, you don't need a designer -- look at my covers! And they're the worst.

I knew this one guy -- his whole thing was, ANYONE can design a cover. He was always offering advice and tips on cover design. But his covers ranged from mediocre to plain awful. He just couldn't see it. Some non-designers can put together a decent cover -- but from what I've seen that's the exception.

I'm a designer -- I don't do as much hands-on design as I used to, so I thought it might be fun to do covers for people -- but it turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:15 PM
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Cover design is way harder than it looks. If you can't do as Joe says, make the cover look professional, invest in the services of someone who can.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
If the cover sucks, I'm going to immediately lower my expectations.
Exactly this.
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:21 AM
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Agreed, and I know it's stupid that I didn't realize it before. Definitely spend for a professional, or at least someone who legitimately knows what they are doing.
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:28 PM
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People do judge books by their covers. Even me - I'm a sucker for a good cover in a bookshop, I'll stop and take a look, read the blurb, maybe even buy (maybe not - I still have to like the book).

If it has a shitty DIY cover I assume contents match.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:45 PM
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Default Covers matter!

Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
Recently, I checked in on the sales of my two novellas. The first, still selling fairly well, and even garnered a couple good reviews. The latter… terrible sales, and honestly, it seems much better than the first. I was confused for all of two minutes until I started looking at it.

I hated the cover!!! I didn’t before, but the more I looked at it the more I hated it.

Got a new cover, and wham! A lot more sells. Well, not A LOT, but more than before. Anybody else have a learning experience such as this, or did I just go full retard?
I spent quite a bit of money on my cover. I had to make sure it looked attractive. I made $10.00 in royalties on the self pub. thingy.

It's worth it to spend a little extra money on covers to make more money.
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:40 PM
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Is that gross or net?
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:12 PM
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A cover should reach out to the reader and capture in simplicity the essence of the book without being to obvious
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:16 PM
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A cover catches the eye. The blurb sells it.
Everything else is BS.
Do NOT clutter the cover. It detracts.
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Seedy M. View Post
Everything else is BS.
Except possibly the bits between cover and blurb?

You can't sell a pig no matter how much lipstick you apply.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:30 AM
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We were discussing covers. A gold plated cover on the garbage pail won't make the garbage attractive.
A cluttered cover makes, me, at least, think what's inside is going to be incoherent babble. A test of covers in two bookshops in San Francisco made us rethink several things. Romance and erotica can have cluttered covers, just so long as they have a sexy or handsome half or more nude person prominent. Historical, a scene with a building or ship, technical, depending on the subject. SF dark with splashes of bright contrast. Murder and detective, surprisingly, not so much detail.
The "modern" blow up everything is sight, AK-47 carrying thug/drug, fast car crap depends on a lot of clutter, but it ain't nowhere near literature, anyhow.
Colors are important. A bright cover on a table full of dull colors always gets picked up first, as a dull cover on a table full of bright covers gets first attention.
We did learn one important thing: Title, sub-title if there is one, author, period, pass me a beer, except on technical or instructional.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:35 AM
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An addition: printed books, be careful of the spine. That is the first thing a potential reader is going to see in a library shelf type of display. It has proven effective, certainly is series work, to have a solid color with contrasting text color. Black or green on white is effective, but it should complement the cover colors.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Seedy M. View Post
Romance and erotica can have cluttered covers, just so long as they have a sexy or handsome...
Etc

Over here in the UK (I presume it'll be the same in the US) You can tell the genre from about 20 feet away. Romance/chicklit all have pastel colours, swirly artwork, similar fonts, etc. In our local supermarket (the most powerful woman in UK publishing currently is, surprisingly, the buyer for Tesco, our biggest supermarket chain - more books are old in supermarkets than in bookstores) all books are displayed cover-out, so you can see from the end of the aisle where the book you want is likely to be.

Incidentally Michael Moorcock once said that whenever he put a book out with a sword on the cover there was always a big spike in sales.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:30 AM
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Several things came out in that test. Romance novels with a horse on the cover were better sellers. Put a dog on the cover and you get sales - but put both on the same cover and your sales fall. A cat on the cover of a mystery can increase sales a small bit.
A pistol or sword as a small logo on the spine can increase sales of mysteries and (get this!) fantasy.
A snake on the cover of a paranormal work used to be effective, but not so much now.
Snake and cat pictures have to feature the slit-pupil eyes to be effective.
You run into trouble when you use too much. You have a cluttered cover that tends to confuse. In mystery, a single notation over the title Mystery and suspense on a single color pattern is better than any amount of clutter.
Catch the eye, give absolutely minimal information on the front, and leave some mystery in the blurb on the back cover. The front cover is there to make the reader look at the blurb. The blurb makes the reader look inside the book.
Even in the blurb, do not hype your own work. If you can put a review/critique on the back cover from someone else, good.
A "best seller" note on the cover used to be good, now it means nothing. There have been too many best sellers that were nothing but hype on Oprah and such, that were garbage, to the point nobody trusts that anymore. On eBooks, you can easily get a best seller rating by offering it free for a short period. Thousands download a free promo, it's a best seller, even if it didn't sell a single copy. People are onto that.
It breaks down to: Front, catch the eye. Back: make people open the book.
After that, if it's garbage, it belongs in that gold plated garbage can.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:08 PM
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I made my first cover myself and thought it was great at the time. Sales were ok but partly due to the subtitle I noticed it was appearing in lists of diet books (as in customers who bought this item also bought this) which wasn't the genre or market I intended at all. In the end I did a complete revamp with a professional cover design and new subtitle and things have been much better since.

I look at the old cover now and wonder what the funk I was thinking! If I'd drawn it for my parents I doubt they'd have even stuck it on the fridge.
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