Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Write the Darn Book! - Part #7


 5. Find a good cover artist - again someone who's recommended. And get rid of the picture you have in your head about the exact way you want the cover. Most times it’s impossible to do, and if they try, which most artists will try, it’s not going to help sell your book. The best idea is to see what others in your genre have chosen for their cover, authors who are selling really well. Then show those to your cover artist and let him/her come up with ideas. Chances are they have a better vision than you do of what’s popular.


This is a really important step. Think about it! The very first time anyone finds your book it is the cover they see. That cover can make or break your sales. If you think I’m exaggerating, you can find many authors who either made their own covers to save money or found someone else really cheap. And then wondered why their sales were dismal. Do your homework and scroll through Amazon pages and see the books with plain, mediocre covers and what ranking they sit at.

Don’t think the readers can’t tell. They can!! Very seldom do you see a best-selling book with an unprofessional looking cover. They’re there, that’s true, but somehow those authors have managed to promote the book past the cover mattering. And unless you have such a huge following waiting to pounce on your masterpiece the minute it’s published, I wouldn’t take the chance. Not only must the cover be brilliant in the large size, it must show well in the thumbnail size that Amazon uses to put in its queues. Now the queues I’m talking about are where Amazon has a line of other book covers on your book page and it says “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought...” You want everyone to be able to see your cover as clearly as possible here so it will intrigue them enough for them to click on it.

This will bring you sales, and that’s what it’s all about…right!!

Again, my suggestion for you as a newbie that if you're looking for a good cover artist, ask on the Indie loops. Many will refer you to their sons, daughters, friends, etc. and if they're talented—great! But whomever they do refer, it's up to you to check them out. References are fine, but you need to do your homework. Ask to see the covers they've produced. Decide if they work in your genre and represent the type of work that pleases you. Don't waste their time or yours.

There's so many to choose from that it is rather difficult. I've had that experience. But a cover is the first thing about your precious baby that the rest of us will see. It's very important that it makes an impression. It needs to grab attention, please the eye, and captivate a reader's interest.

What's even more important—don't let your cover tell a lie. If your book has a light sprinkling of horror, don't try and sabotage the reader with a kick-ass cover that promises page after page of tingles. You won't like the reviews and the reader will most likely drop you. On my romantic suspense book "Roll the Dice", the first cover my guy came up with was cool!! Dark night and a dangerously sexy, meaning-looking chick holding a smoking gun, leaning against a wall and staring towards a police car in the background. Ohhhhh-kay! Sent it to my promoter and she asked me one question. Have you written this book in your regular humorous voice?

Got it! She knew that cover was a lie. When I sent her note to Steven Novak, the genius who does the covers for my series, he picked up on her message straight away. Next cover he sent is the one on the left. You see—the truth is—I had given him the information for the cover that I saw in my own head. And he'd delivered. I had made the mistake, not him. I had thought a romantic suspense cover should be dark and dangerous. Except for one thing, I'd forgotten that I don't write dark.
Have you ever bought a book because the cover promised you a type of story you thought you’d enjoy? To make matters worse, the back blurb added to the deceit. Then you began reading… What a let-down. If you want to keep your fans, maybe it’s not such a good idea to mess with them!!?

So my advice is to look at other books in the genre you write. If your voice is light and humorous, don't try and hide that fact…celebrate it. Many readers like lighter romances.

Search the Amazon Best-sellers and find whatever you like. Then put them on one page and hunt for what it is on those particular covers that drew you…maybe a color scheme, or the way the page is set-up. If you're writing a series, try and find one kind of image that you might like to put on all the books to brand them. Maybe with just a small change for each one like the overall color or one type of font that can be used so reader will recognize the cover as being one of yours. Could be a sentence you've chosen. On my Angels with Attitudes series, each book has the line Angels Love Romance written in gray on the covers.

As I mentioned above, choose the type of cover that not only tells the reader about what the story is about, but also, the style of writing he/she might find between the pages. And if you can’t think of something appropriate, hell – you can always fall back on a symbol. Like maybe a rose! 

Once again I'm involved in the Yuletide

His Devious Angel
is Free
for Dec 12 & 13th

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