My good pal Pat Ryan did a gorgeous cover for my fourth Jeff Resnick book. Heck, she did gorgeous covers for the whole series. But for some reason the short story that inspired the book, COLD CASE, outsells the book like crazy, even though there's a commercial FOR the book at the end of the short story. The short story's picture relates to the opening of the book. The book's cover picture relates to the stunning ending. I love the way the rope (BOUND) is pulling the word "suggestion down." It's a wonderful cover and one of Pat's favorites.
When Mr. L and I put the cover of Cold Case together, we had a hard time finding the picture. Neither of us was happy with it, and yet ... apparently it works because that short story outsells the novel by 60%.
That's a HUGE, WHOPPING DIFFERENCE.
I had a discussion with another of my indie publishing pals who's doing quite well. We looked at my numbers for the whole Jeff Resnick series and had to shake our heads. Why isn't that puppy finding an audience? It's got great covers, great reviews, and EVERY WEEK readers write to beg me to finish the next book in the series. Just not ENOUGH readers.
My friend's analysis: I need to find that series a new audience. But that's been the problem all along. I don't know WHERE to find that audience. Clearly a huge chunk my cozy readers aren't interested in trying something a little edgier. Or maybe they're put off by the word "paranormal" thinking it'll involve vampires, werewolves, and/or zombies.
No. My stories are and always have been CHARACTER DRIVEN. There's a paranormal element, but it's not a cheap gimmick. It's just part of who Jeff is.
But back to the question of finding that audience. I've tried. I've lowered the first book to 99¢. Heck, I've even given away more than 26,000 copies for free. I've priced it at $1.99 and I've priced it at $2.99 and $3.99. (It's currently $2.99) For those who say they will never buy an e reader, the books are available as a trade paperbacks.
What's it going to take for the books of my heart to find an audience?
I sure hope you've got ideas, because I'm fresh out.