Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nice image, shame about the marketing

It is generally agreed that the covers to the three books in my Maliha Anderson series are very nice indeed, and get steadily better. I agree too, I think they're great.

See. You can see the consistency of design, the common elements which communicate that this is a series (not just the silhouette but the cloud shapes), and there's the Art Deco styling which tends to place the period. Apart from that the stories are something about a boat, a city and an airplane.

All good stuff. Well, no, not really.

There is an excellent article that has passed through my stream a couple of times about book cover clichés - and why you should have them.

Yes, you read right (and I wrote right): Why you should have a clichéd cover.

What's the genre of these books? Well, okay the title is a bit of a giveaway on the first one. There's a murder, the second says something about blood and the third ... ? Who knows.

There's probably a woman in the stories as well, and it's a reasonable guess it's the same woman in each.

But what we actually have are murder-mystery/steampunk mash-ups. Do these covers say "murder mystery"? No. Do they steampunk? Again, no. A cover is part of the sales tools of a book. These covers, no matter how pretty they are, are not pulling their weight when it comes to telling the potential reader what sort of book it is.

Of course if the series was selling well I wouldn't be bothered. But sales are a bit flimsy, though the reviews are generally good, so I'm looking at ways to improve the sales. And one way is to change the cover to something that will work for a certain type of reader.

In order to do this I have decide which genre I'm going to target. The steampunk in the stories is pretty lightweight and the murder mystery market is much bigger so has better potential for sales. So I'll target that group with just one cover as a test.

The cover is going to need to communicate several things: The period, have the usual "murder weapon and blood" elements, plus put across the steampunkness in some fashion, even just some metalwork would be sufficient. Oh, and they are usually photographic rather than drawn.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, results I get from that.

You can read the original article about covers here.

What's on the turntable? "Rubycon, Part One" by Tangerine Dream, from "Rubycon"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how much difference a cover can make. J.F. Penn is a big name in the indie world and she had covers which, like yours, I really liked. They were artistic while still giving some idea about the stories. Unfortunately, her sales weren't quite as she'd hoped, so she changed the covers to something more fitting and the sales jump was huge! Fingers crossed you get something similar =)