Monday, July 5, 2010

What's in a cover?

Covers sell books.  As a traditionally published author, I have little to do with the covers on my books.  I have been asked what I'd like to see, and sometimes I get what I want, but more often than not -- I don't.  (Same goes for titles.)  Big time publishers have whole marketing departments that study what people like.

Brown_Kitteh For instance, my cover for A Crafty Killing is very nice.  It's pretty, and it's got a nice logo at the top right-hand corner.  But it's not what I envisioned, mainly because the cover artist painted something out of a New England village, and my story takes place in Western New York--two very different regions.  Will that matter to the average reader?  Probably not.  But it also features a ginger cat, when the cat in the book is a brown tabby.  Through the magic of Photoshop, one of my readers changed the cat -- whoa!  I wonder if my publisher can do a little Photoshop magic as well.  (I think I'll ask.)

I've put several of my short stories on Amazon.  One of them is doing really well.  (I've talked about it before here.)  The others?  Not so good.  And I think it's the covers that are holding them back.  Or at least, that's what I HOPE is holding them back.  So it's back to the drawing board time.

What I did for love I thought the cover for What I Did For Love was kinda neat.  Sweet.  (It involves a woman falling for a man accused of rape.)  But apparently it's also boring for the reader.  Heart-handcuffsI'm thinking of changing it to see if sales pick up.  Here's the current cover on the left.

I'd do something with this picture for the proposed new cover.  What do you think you'd like better?

(And if you need to make the decision based on the story itself, you can read it free here -- just scroll down the page to find the link.)

And while I'm on the subject, my friend author Doranna Durgin has the same dilemma and you could help her out, too.  Check out her blog post on the same subject.

Bottom line, how much influence does a cover--and the title--have on your decision to buy a book?