Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Successful Book Needs A Great Cover

Books don't survive today without a great cover; no exceptions. It's no longer the wild wild west of publishing. We've domesticated the pastures of Kindles, Nooks and iBooks. And I'll be honest, I wouldn't be selling as steadily without a good cover.

What's in a cover? Covers are not meant for the writer, they're meant for the reader. It's to the reader's benefit they get a beautiful piece of artwork to associate with a (great) story. They can put a book on their bookshelf, and a friend or family member will be interested in their collection, like having nice art on the walls. It makes a book easier to recommend when it has an attractive outer appearance.

Why is it important for an author to have a good cover? There's a very simple reason for this, it shows that the author cares. When I go out, I like to dress in nice clothes. If I walked around in sweat pants everywhere, as comfortable as that sounds, I would be judged according to our social norms. I think Seinfeld put this best,

Getting a nice cover for your book is like dressing nice to go out in public. 

Believe it or not, I still see people who make their own covers. I don't get it. We have access to countless talented artists who make great art for sale, whether it's pre-made or custom order.

Take my cover artist for example, Melchelle Designs. I literally fell head over heels in love with the cover of The Dragon's Tear. It was around midnight or so when I stumbled across it, and I was so worried someone else would take the cover, I emailed Melchelle Designs the very next afternoon to buy it. The response was swift and professional, and since then, I bought another cover (The main image. Hint hint, wink wink, that's a cover reveal!).

None of these resources are hidden away. Take a look at the pre-mades by genre or clearance covers. I'm always surprised when I view pre-made covers and how accurate the work can be to my stories. It almost feels as if some of them were custom made for us.

When I first launched The Dragon's Tear in November 2013, It sold well enough that first month to enter the Top 100 of Dark Fantasy. I saw as the "Also Bought" and "Also Viewed" filled up. It wasn't because of me. I had no readership with a first book. It was because of the phenomenal cover art I had put on my book.

To reinforce this idea, I relaunched The Dragon's Tear last December with a second edition. I wanted to do it after what an upsetting year 2014 was to me on a personal level. I just wanted my story out there, so I set it free for five days. I was in the Top 100 Free for Dark Fantasy each day.

Sure, the book description, first 10%, and the fact that it was free helped out big time, but it was the cover that got eyes on any of those. And since then, several copies are sold every week since the relaunch, even though I've done no marketing.

It's a tired old saying that we would do better without, but we can't seem find a replacement for it; we all judge books by their covers. Make sure your book looks as good as possible.