Monday, 1 February 2016

Judging a book by its cover

Judging a book by its cover.

This last week has been trying. Why? Because I am trying to finalise the front cover for The Body in the Bath - The second book in the Chupplejeep Mysteries. The book is not finished - it's a long way from completion. If I'm lucky I'll get it out in time for Christmas but I wanted the cover for my website and I also wanted to deal with the stress of agreeing the front cover now...instead of during the publication process when I am stressed out! See, that's a good bit of forward planning stress reduction! There is a reason why they say with experience comes wisdom.

But it's tough this front cover malarkey because everyone has different, sometimes extreme opinions. Perhaps I asked too many people. I asked my writers group first and they were all pretty supportive with some good suggestions. I had actually failed to make it Goan in the first draft which one writer pointed out - that would have been a big faux pas.  Then I asked H, the family and the inner circle (they are my besties). These people don't hold back and they are opinionated. This is probably the main reason why we are friends and it was tiring listening to people and their views (Sorry, if any of you are reading this). Of course I needed to hear what people think and I know because of some of the comments  the cover is going to look fab...  but getting there has been an effort.

I haven't listened to everything they have said... it would have been impossible and quite frankly not worth the trouble. But I listened about colours and textures etc and the resultant product is perfect (to me). I will put it up on this blog later in the week when I get the final.

I'm also starting to look at front cover ideas with my publisher for Poison in the Water (remember this name people - this book is going to be huge!). This I think will be a different experience. Why? Because a professional is going to take the time to debate styles and ideas with me. Now I'm not saying self pubbed covers are not as good as trad published ones - that would be a stupid thing to say because it's not true.

The experience will be different for me because the burden is shared between the publishing house (who are paying for the thing) and me whose work it is and whose name will be emblazoned on the front.

And I think that is the difference,. It's not necessarily the quality of the cover, but your perception and your confidence. When you self pub you can ask a million people what they think but  when that book is published it's your fault if its good or not with a publisher I think you can share the shame!

The one saving grace is that when you self publish - depending on how you do it you can change the cover at any time. However, and its a big however, it really depends on how much time you want to spend on these ancillary matters. Do you really want to go back and change the cover?  Because after all if you are anything like me you want to spend minimal time on the cover and more time on the writing!

But hey ho, I guess if you get it right the first time your book will last forever, without the need of a facelift and it will work for you...on the beach (when people are reading it), on people's shelves. The possibilities are endless!

What about just an e-book cover? Well the cover looks great on promotional materials too so maybe we do need to take time, ask around and get it right.

However, on saying this I am also currently wondering how much is a cover worth these days? Most kindle readers I know never buy a book based on it's cover. I agree because I am in that category...but I can't deny that a good cover helps sell books. Maybe not directly, but indirectly. If you are attracted to something you will buy it. If you see a postcard with a pretty book on it you are more likely to remember the name so you can search for it on line later... Just a thought.

Until next time...

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