It’s official. I’ve caved.
And honestly? It’s probably going to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
Last weekend, after trying many iterations of ads on my sci-fi book, Gliese 581: The Departure, I realized something had to give.
Gliese is the strongest book I had written to date. It’s the one I’m most proud of. It had a decent cover and I had taken the plunge and paid for a professional book description and ads and nothing seemed to be working. No sales to speak of – maybe one or two in the entire month.
Meanwhile, my first book, Get Organized, Stay Organized is flying off of the shelves, selling over 118 copies in January. Something had to give.
So I emailed the service that had handled creating the ads and asked if they could look at the book description and ads one more time to see if there was any way they could be improved.
On Monday, I heard back from them. Their suggestion? To change my book cover.
Now this could be misdirection on their part. Perhaps. I was pretty proud of the cover – after all, I had designed it and I didn’t do a bad job at it. That said, it wasn’t selling and from the reviews I had gotten, the writing wasn’t the problem, so that left three possible variables:
- The title (Gliese is confusing and hard to pronounce)
- The cover
- The book description and/or ads
So I decided to take the plunge and change the cover AND the title.
Recently, when talking to a local writer I mentioned that I had heard some advice recently, “Make sure folks can easily read your title, don’t use unfamiliar words.” She astutely pointed out that I had the same problem with two of my books – Gliese and Schicksal.
Yikes. She had a point!
So I decided to change the title at the same time as I changed the cover. Instead of Gliese 581: The Departure, I decided it would be simpler to call it G581: The Departure.
I first googled “What is the average cost for a good book cover design?” The answer was sobering.
Book cover design varies. For covers that look like Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, and Pearson quality, you should expect to pay $500 to $1200. For something more affordable you can pay anywhere from $100-400.
I thought about it for a few minutes. I calculated how long it had taken me to write the book, agonized a little over the fact that I had been very proud of my book cover, and decided it was time I got serious and put my best foot forward. “Fine, I’ll swallow the pill and pay up.”
I did a few searches on good book designers and found myself at 99Designs, which had this fascinating approach – create a contest for $399 and get as many as 30 or more book designs submitted for me to review.
Frankly, I was a little nervous about it, but I decided that if I am willing to spend hundreds and thousands of hours creating a book, I should be willing to spend a few hundred dollars ensuring that the cover was attractive enough for people to want to read it.
An unread book seems rather pointless, after all.
The response to the G581 contest was rather intimidating. Here I was thinking, “Thirty designs would be so cool!” I received over 100 designs, folks! Going through that many was rather overwhelming, especially since I had thought, “Heck, I’ll start another contest on my first War’s End book and see if I can get that into shape as well!”
I’ve been bombarded!
I would love your opinions on these last nine options. Frankly, I could all the help I can get in determining which one to choose.
The designs for The Storm aren’t as cool as G581, and I’ve had to deal with some really shitty designs and occasionally a grouchy designer who objected to me not handholding him and explaining WHY I didn’t like the design. Note for next time Waldo Furry, don’t be an ass, take the licks and get on with things, I had over 145 designs to go through and I have a very busy life – otherwise I would learn how to design book covers and do it my own damn self.
Cutting Out the Time Sucks
I’m on a mission to create as many quality, immersive, “Oh my god I love this author” reactions from my now and future readers. This also means making a living at my writing and it means cutting out the things that aren’t paying off.
To this end, I have decided to cut down my blogging to one main blog – this one – and to only maintain The Cottages blog as things develop.
This is mainly my writing blog. That said, you might occasionally find gardening posts (when spring and summer arrive) and the odd cooking post. I’m human, folks, and I live a life full of more than just writing.
My hope is that, by focusing on my book projects and not blogging as much, I will take my book production schedule from one book every other year to 3-4 books every year.
Let’s see how that goes, shall we?
Closer and Closer
I have two full chapters to write and a third that is 1/3 of the way complete. I’m close, folks, real close, to officially beginning my first round of edits on Hired Gun! I’m very excited.
Once I begin edits on it, my assigned daily writing will focus on Better Choices, the perma-free back story of Shane Ellis. It shouldn’t take me long to finish it, I had made good progress on it prior to focusing on finishing Hired Gun. I hope to release a perma-free back story for each of the Hired Gun sequels.
At this time, I’m still shooting for a March 1st release date, but I may move that to April 1st. I’m coming close to pushing that out. My reasoning is this, I want to give my ARC team a chance to read it first and give me feedback.
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