A few weeks ago, I attended a webinar organised by the wonderful Alliance of Independent Authors, in which Joanna Penn said we shouldn’t be afraid to rebrand our self-published books as we begin to understand our market better.
Shortly after that, I came across her article On Changing Book Titles And Covers: My Own Experience And How You Can Do It Too, and those two things got me thinking about what I’ve learnt about my market in the months since I published my most recent books.
I think what I may have learnt is that choosing a cover and title isn’t about what I like, but about telling the customer exactly what they’re going to get, in the couple of seconds they’ll spend glancing at it in amazon or wherever.
I’m not sure, which is why I’m blogging – I would really value your feedback.
Here’s the cover my editor, designer and I came up with for my YA novel about sibling suicide, Drift.
The rationale behind this choice of cover was that most current YA top-sellers seem to involve artwork rather than photography, and art is one of the themes of the book.
But does that image really suggest sibling suicide/angst/grief and depression? Are there really any clues as to what kind of story it is? And does it have a real impact that makes you feel curious to read inside?
I like the cover, but I’m not sure it works. So last night I mocked up a completely different one in canva . I don’t like it as much, but I do think it might do the job better – here’s the sketch so far.
What do you think?
The other book I brought out last year was When a Writer Isn’t Writing: How to Beat Your Blocks, Be Published and Find Your Flow. I’ve typed that title enough times to be starting to feel it’s too long! Besides that, before I published it, an author friend of mine, Kelly McCain, said she felt a more positive sounding title might be more appealing.
I think she was right, and I’m leaning towards re-titling it something like Writer’s Block: Beat it, Be Published and Find Your Flow or How to be a Happy Writer: Beat Your Blocks, Be Published and Find Your Flow. Which title would you be more likely to buy?
Although it pains me, I think the cover image might not be helping the book either. I like it a lot – I love all Hilke MacInyre‘s work – but I’m not sure it tells the reader in that one-second glance, what kind of book they’ll be getting.
The rationale behind this one was that I wanted a brand-look with Writing in the House of Dreams – I thought the two might help each other in the market. But I’ve discovered that most readers who have read both seem to have liked one but not the other (that’s me reading between the lines – my readers are too nice to actually say it!)
Writing in the House of Dreams isn’t your run-of-the-mill writing or dream book, so I guess the cover image is probably OK, but most practical books on writing like When a Writer Isn’t Writing have covers with more text and smaller/plainer designs.
Neither of these books have sold a huge number of copies, so what do you think – worth a revamp? Or should I give them a little more time, just as they are?