A year ago, I published "Teaching Tori" with a book cover that I liked a lot. But has the cover helped sell the book? And would I have to get a new cover to go with the book's sequel, "Teaching Tom"?
In brief, the answer to the questions are: 1. No, 2. Yes.
This is the book cover of "Teaching Tori" as I had it since its launch in July 2014.
I really liked this cover because of its colour scheme, the font and the girl. The landscape of Central Otago in the background plays an important part in this story, so I was very happy to have it as part of the book cover. I liked the font too.
One year on, I'm not so sure any more.
The girl looks a bit squashed under the title bar, the colours are rather flat, but most of all, the cover doesn't convey what type of genre this is.
Apparently, romance novels are among the best selling books on kindle, but mine certainly isn't. (Actually, I'll be honest with you - this is how many books I've sold last month: 0)
Could it be that my book cover does not attract the millions of romance readers out there?
So I set out to create a new cover for "Teaching Tori" (along with a matching one for "Teaching Tom", my sequel due to be published later this year). Most importantly, the new cover should convey that this is a love story to increase my slice (actually, I'll even take a crumb) of that lucrative romance market.
After reading hundreds of blog posts on the importance of book cover design, I launched a book cover design competition on a website called designcrowd.
So how does it work?
After creating an account, you launch a project by writing a brief and deciding on a budget. You can choose between payment guaranteed projects, or money back projects. If you go for payment guaranteed, you should get more designs submitted because someone will, eventually, win your competition and get paid. There is a bigger incentive for designers to work hard for you if they know that someone's design will be picked.
To make things easier for the designers and to get the look of the characters I wanted, I purchased stockphotos of a couple of people who I thought might look like Tom and Tori. (Hint: pick your stockphoto before you even start writing your book, or else you'll never find a picture of someone who matches the picture in your head!).
Anyway, I found a photo of a guy with pretty blue eyes (just like Tom's) who looked a bit lost, and bought the photo, along with a couple of background pictures that I liked as well.
After setting a timeframe, you launch your project and wait until the first design suggestions come in. This is the exciting part! You can communicate with the designers by giving them feedback and making suggestions for improvements.
Soon you'll find yourself swamped with designs and confused as to which one to choose. This is when you need to launch a poll after selecting your favourite designs, and send the link to as many people as possible, or share it on social media.
Then you will get even more confused because the design you love the most gets anything from a one star to a five star vote...
What I found most helpful though were the individual comments most people left after voting. This gave me a really good insight into how people reacted to a potential design.
There were two clear favourites in the design competition right from the start, and I ended up choosing the one that matched my brief more.
So drumrolls......here is the new "Teaching Tori" cover:
I like the fact that the girl and the landscape remain the same, but with a clear 'luv is in the air' font and colour. I'm glad the 'bar' is lost and Tori can breathe more freely now.
I've uploaded the new book cover onto kindle a week ago, and my question now is whether changing your book cover alone will make a difference in book sales.
I will keep you updated on my experience with this change of cover.
In the meantime, what attracts you to buying a book from an unknown author? Would the cover make a difference? Or do you go by the book description or reviews?