Book Covers, Instagram, and the Scientific Method

I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats anxiously awaiting the results from last week’s book cover survey. Unfortunately, as most US election officers will attest to, trying to cajole people into casting their ballots is not a simple matter. To top it off, those of you who did vote (THANK YOU!) ended up putting four of the five designs into a four-way tie.

What’s a writer to do? Make decisions for myself? Gadzooks! No way!

Luckily, this writer has a background in science and is using her scientific wiles to move her book series makeover/relaunch into the research realm of hypothesis, methods, and results using the laboratory space known as Instagram and Smashwords.

Hypothesis: One of These Covers Is “the One”

Since last week’s post, I’ve had time to absorb the information left in comments and used this to narrow down elements people liked and didn’t like. I also had time to play around in Word to come up with another cover design (because, you know, I needed to throw another specimen into this barrel of monkeys).

The candidates include these four rough designs from last week, and the new mock-up below…

My hypothesis is that one of these cover styles (minus the watermarks) will be the clear winner if only I can get enough people to see them and “vote” on them. That hypothesis will be tested using two methods: Instagram likes and Smashwords downloads.

Methods: Pick Your Cover, Not Your Nose

The experiment falls into two stages: #1 = The Instagram Stage and #2 = The Smashwords End of Year Sale Stage.

In the Instagram Stage, I posted all five covers with a short comment and a gob of book-related hashtags. Instagrammers who see the covers will hopefully “like” one of them (some pesky people have liked every cover…not helpful). This stage will last through the end of today (Wednesday 20 December).

Whichever two covers get the most likes will move on to The Smashwords End of Year Sale Stage.

This second stage couldn’t have been better timed for this experiment. The Smashwords End of Year Sale lasts for eight days. During this time The Trials of Hercules: Book One of the Osteria Chronicles will be available for free to reduce any impediment to readers (aka “test subjects”) downloading the book. This means their decision to get the book or not will be based primarily on how well the cover can lure them in.

This second stage lasts from 25 December through 1 January, and will have two parts.

For the first four days the book’s sale page will have Cover One (top Instagram pick). For the final four days the book’s sale page will have Cover Two (the other top Instagram pick). Whichever cover attracts the most test subjects, I mean readers, will be the style I’ll pick for the series makeover and relaunch.

Results: You’re Going to Have to Wait

Since the Smashwords Sale will be going on through next week, I won’t have the final results of this experiment until 3 January 2018. I will however have a Sale Announcement post on Christmas Day and mid-way through the sale in which you’ll see the designs that made the final cut.

So, now that I’ve got my research project sorted out, it’s time to get my science on…oh, and if anyone wants to throw a big research grant my way, I won’t complain one bit!

So, if you’re on Instagram, please head over there and tap the like button on your favorite cover! If you’re not on Instagram, you can still let your voting voice be heard by telling me which cover style is your top pick in a comment below!

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18 thoughts on “Book Covers, Instagram, and the Scientific Method

  1. Sorry I missed your vote. Just stumbled on this post. Personally, I like simple or minimalist covers, so I prefer the red one without the man on it. But that’s just me. Now a question, did you make these covers yourself?

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    1. That one is winning out on my Instagram survey, which is nice because it would be quick and easy to change for other books in the series. Yes, I did these myself using Canva…book cover design is simply not in the budget at this time.

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      1. If you get a spare moment and feel like playing around, check out Canva.com. It’s a little tricky to manipulate at first but there are a lot of book cover templates to get even the most design challenged person started.

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      2. I use Canva, but for other stuff. I made my Facebok banner on there. And just made a business card, though I am having trouble finding a printer who will ship to me. Covers, though, are a but too important in my mind. I’d rather trust a professional with that.

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    1. Yep, I’m there. I mostly hate it because I like being able to social media-ize while I’m on the computer and Instagram just refuses to let you do that for some jackass reason. Plus, I hate that stupid 2003-esque keyboard on the app and the fact that you can’t use it in “landscape” mode (aka “turned sideways”). Seriously, how much advertising revenue are they raking in and they can’t pay an app developer for an update? Ah well.

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      1. Oh Tammie Tammie Tammie! I think you downloaded some off-brand version of Insta! You CAN post in landscape and my keyboard looks like it’s from 2017! But on the other hand…. I struggle with the hellscape that is Twitter. You should have seen me trying to reply to both you AND Helen in a thread – ‘Will this reply to them both? Or just Tammie? Or am I just tweeting myself? HOW DOES IT WORK.’

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      2. No it’s the real thing. My husband has a new iPad and got on Instagram and his is the same. Maybe the uk has some magic Instagram that’s better than everyone else’s…the queen probably demanded it, “We are not amused by this retro keyboard!” As for Twitter, it’s my favorite for “conversations” (another thing I find a pain in the ass on Instagram…why do I have to click so many things to reply to a freaking comment!?)

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      3. Whaaaa??? Madness! Yeah, you’re really good at Twitter. I just can’t wrap my head around it! iPad might be different from phone for Insta. On my old iPad the app only did some of the functions that are offered on the phone… But that was many moons ago, so you’d think they would have made the app iPad compatible by now! Elizabeth, get on it!

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      4. Liz is such a slacker. I mean how can she dare go on her Xmas holiday knowing that there’s suffering in the world like mine!? As for Twitter, I don’t think I’m very good at it since I feel like a shameless slut every time I mention my books, so I rarely do…which kind of defeats the purpose of using it as a marketing tool. Ah well, I’ve “met” some fun people on it and isn’t that what counts (gag, barf, get out of here Pollyanna! I told you to stay the hell away!! Stupid tart.).

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      5. Hahhahahaha bleck, go away Pollyanna! You’re not wanted!!!! Everything is terrible and ridiculous! There is no social media silver lining! Especially when you’re a shameless book/music slut!

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  2. Oh CRAPOLA! My recent social media laziness (and just general laziness, come to think of it) has made me miss the Instagram vote! Do I at least get a free pass this time because I voted in the first round? 😆 I’m glad to see from the comments that my cover of choice is in the lead though, even without my help! I think your scientific methods sound… um… sound, and hopefully the people will help you pick the best cover for the series. I’ll be sure to swing by on Christmas Day and see which designs made it to the final!

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    1. I’m glad I can use science as a way to make up for being indecisive. As for your lack of voting, don’t worry, this is an American election and has probably already been hacked by the Russians, so you’re vote would have counted for naught anyway. I’m sure Fox News will have a story on it soon.

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