Happy (Third Day of the) New Year!

Today is the day I finally get to present the results of my book cover experiment and hope the research committee doesn’t get too disgruntled over my findings.

But first, I want to give a HUGE thanks to Helen (the Queen of Monster Making, Carrie Rubin (thriller writer extraordinaire), and Weekes (fabulous musician and soon-to-be actress) who helped with the experiment by retweeting (or trying to retweet) my book sale announcements. There’s a lot of noise on social media and I’ve got a quiet voice that rarely gets heard, so every little bit helps and is super appreciated!!

A Little Recap

As you may remember, I need new covers for my historical fantasy series, The Osteria Chronicles. At first I left it up to my blog readers to pick between a gob of covers. Unfortunately, you pesky voters turned my lovely survey into a five-way tie. Out of six covers. Sigh.

After a certain event in November 2016, it’s not that I’m not used to disappointing election results, but at least in this case I had another route up my sleeve to save the day.

Instagram to the rescue!

I posted the “winning” covers with the statement that the two with the most likes would move onto the next round. Thankfully, this time there were two clear winners who went onto the Smashwords Smash Up Round during which Cover 1 went up for four days and Cover 2 went up for four days. The cover that earned the book the most downloads would be declared winner and champion.


What’s This All About?

Ooh, do you like this teasing I’m doing to get to the results? It’s writing practice for increasing tension and anticipation.

This cover competition isn’t just a way for me to waste time designing cover after cover – although that is fun. It’s part of my plan to relaunch the first three books in the Osteria Chronicles and to move forward with a more cohesive look to the series when I release the final three books.

This relaunch will include not only a whole new look for the books, but also…

  • New descriptions (which are mostly hammered out, more on this as Relaunch Day nears)
  • New and improved front and back matter that will include sample (teaser) chapters from the following book in the series and links to join my new mailing list (again, more on that soon)
  • New titles for Books Two and Three so every book matches The Something of Someone/where format as in The Trials of Hercules
  • New marketing tools (more on this in a few weeks)
  • And, about a month before Book Four’s release (in May), a boxset (ebook only) of the first three books

Why the Relaunch?

From what I gather, people who read this series say they really like it without me even having to bribe them. But yet the books barely sell. As I’ve been listening to marketing podcasts and reading marketing books such as Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book and Chris Fox’s Relaunch Your Novel , I’ve had to face the hard reality that maybe my covers and my descriptions suck, or at least aren’t quite genre specific enough to draw readers’ attention.

This was difficult to accept. I really liked my old covers, I worked quite diligently on my old descriptions, I thought my titles were good enough, but after studying the books mentioned above and giving a look at other books in my genre (Greek/Roman historical fantasy) I realized it was time for a change.

The Timing

Over the month of January, I’ll be doing a “soft” relaunch as I hone the covers, format the descriptions, finalize the back matter, and get everything uploaded. The official relaunch will be in mid-February during which I’ll be trying out some ads and other scary stuff I’ve never dared before. (Skydiving using a parachute with my book’s images printed on it? Okay, maybe not that daring.)

I know this all sounds very New Year’s Goals-y, which it is, but this isn’t my 2018 Goals Post (goalpost?). I’m saving that puppy for next week because this week, I know you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for….

The Cover Winner!!!

Yep, with more than twice as many purchases compared to Cover 1, Cover 2 was the clear winner when put to the test of seeing whether shoppers were more drawn to a cover that matched what I found in my genre (cover 2) or a more unique cover (cover 1). While I do love Cover 1 (and I know many of you do too) and think it stands out more than Cover 2, the results are hard to ignore.

Sorry Cover 1 :(( Better luck next time.

Those of you in Team Cover 1, don’t despair. Cover 1 did get the most votes in the Instagram survey, so I’m not writing it off as a total loser. I think Cover 1 is super eye-catching (and is really easy to change for each book in the series), so even though the Cover 2 theme will be the primary look of my relaunch, I may experiment with Cover 1 again in a few months on other retailers’ sites.

After all, being able to change covers, blurbs, interiors, and prices and getting to experiment until you find just the right combination is part of the joy of self-publishing!

As I said, I’ll be back next week with a gob of goals for 2018. And, after his brief hiatus, Finn McSpool will be back on Saturday with a shopping expedition that turned into a potential world incident.




15 thoughts on “One Book Cover to Rule Them All

  1. Oh, you really had me on the edge of my seat with all those teasers! And although in was in Team Cover 1, Cover 2 was a worthy adversary… Honestly, how did I think rippling abs WOULDN’T win out at the end of the day? ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m glad it’s already doing the business, and introducing more readers to the world of Osteria. Now I’m excited to see what else you’ve got for us this year! And I won’t pretend I’m not intrigued by what mayhem Finn has been up to, too… ๐Ÿค”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My endless perusal of hunky man photos paid off! The other covers in my genre were full of bared-chested gladiators and I guess rippling abs were the way to go…although you will notice I did try to tone down the Fabio-ness by covering most of his muscles with text and darkening the picture. I can only handle a limited amount of man chest.

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      1. Yes, I think your research has really paid off… And I’m sure it was such a slog looking through all those images to find the right one! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ It’s worked well though – you’ve got a tasteful amount of ripple there, rather than going full-on “50 Shades of Hercules”! ๐Ÿ˜†

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      2. Yeah, I’ll save the Super Ripple for when I just give up and draft a horribly written S&M novel…set in Osteria of course (gotta maintain my “brand”). ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ™„

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      3. Hahaha! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Yeah, it would be a shame to miss out on this golden publishing opportunity ๐Ÿ˜ณ At least it should write up pretty quickly – without the irksomeness of proofreading, editing and an original plot, you should be able to cobble it together in an afternoon!

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  2. I thought cover 2 was better from a ‘buy this book’ perspective… although I’m really sad that the wonderful cover for ‘The Maze’ is going to go… they could all have looked like that for me!
    Anyway… happy new year! No goals for me in 2018, I’ve decided to go with the flow this year and not stifle my creativity with targets (which might mean I don’t do anything at all!!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you outdid yourself in 2017 so you deserve a break from goal setting. As for me, I’ve gone too long without having concrete goals and this hasn’t yielded good results. I find I simply work more diligently when I have a defined focus. Also, I’m too inclined to try everything at once and get overwhelmed. Planning out the goals has helped space my schemes out and keeps me eagerly looking forward to what’s next! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š


  3. Noooooooooo!!!!! Just kidding, I’m glad you had a clear winner. I GUESS. Probably all came down to my Twitter failure. I can’t help it that I prefer my men jaundiced and sort of ill-looking skinny artistic types. Seriously, though, I really really hope the new marketing scheme is effective! I think it’s great you’re trying different things about and being proactive… who doesn’t love a good makeover? Can’t wait to hear what’s next! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A makeover is always just the thing. I had thought of giving Herc a perm and some highlights, but a new cover will just have to do. I’ll save the perm and highlights for when they make a Lifetime movie out of the books. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜œ

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    1. I was worried about that, but hopefully I’ve got it categorized properly so it won’t appear anywhere someone might be browsing for romance. Plus, the description should clue readers in (one would hope) that it’s not a romance novel. Still, who knows, a romance reader might want to branch out ;)).

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