This Valentine’s Day I’m showing my fantasy series a little love. I’ve forgone the box of overly-packaged, overpriced chocolates and sappy cards, and have instead opted for a little makeover…not for me, but for my books.
What in the world am I rambling on about? Cue drum roll……
The first three books of the Osteria Chronicles have now been officially relaunched!!
This process began last November-ish with admitting the books really needed a boost, then moved onto the cover design showdown over the holidays, and just wrapped up last week with an unexpected decision about the content of the books.
So what changed and what remained the same during this makeover?
Big Change Number One: The Covers
The first big change, as you can see below, was a cover redesign. The old covers, while I tried to give them a similar color tone and font, just didn’t have that “series” look to them. My goal with the redesign was to tie the covers together with similar imagery, tone, and font so the series has the same style across what will eventually be all six books.
This sparked plenty of debate, surveys, and even a giveaway to see what style of cover people liked best. Although it was a close call, eventually the style you see below took charge and became the clear winner.
I still can’t believe I resorted to man chest for the new design, but people seemed to prefer the gladiator look over a more abstract style. And for those of you who were fans of that abstract style…you may be seeing it again soon, so stayed tuned!
This was the first time I’d tried designing on Canva.com and, while there are some aspects of the site that are completely frustrating (moving objects around, font styles, the search function), I have to say that overall it has loads of options that can create some terrific effects and the designs are VERY affordable.
Big Change Number Two: New Titles!!
As you take a gander at those covers, you might notice a couple books have brand spanking new titles. Again, to tie the series together, I wanted all the titles to be “The Something of Something,” so The Voyage and The Maze needed a little work to push them into that mold.
You’d think this would be easy, but I spent plenty of time debating over the new titles, brainstorming words and themes, testing them out on Mr Husband, walking around the house muttering them to myself. Once the cats started hiding from the Crazy Mumbling Lady, I thought it was time to settle on the new titles. And a big thanks to an article from The Creative Penn about the steps involved in loading new book titles!
Big Change Number Three: New Blurbs!!
Since I don’t want to bog down this already-getting-way-too-long post with all three of them, you’ll have to visit the books’ pages on my website to see their new descriptions. I tried to create a “hook” to grab readers’ attention, worked in some comparable authors, and hope I gave the blurbs a little more kick. Fingers crossed that the new descriptions will entice book shoppers, but as I see how things progress, I’ll probably continue to rework these all-important bits of text.
Not-So Big Change Number Four: A Little Chapter Swap
Although the books themselves stayed the same, I rearranged a couple chapters in Voyage and Maze. Since readers seem to enjoy the stories (and since I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to do a full rewrite of these books), I figured that part of the book equation should be left alone.
However, I did swap a few chapters. In Voyage, I just didn’t like the long prologue that tells my version of the tale of the golden fleece’s origin, so I moved this to later on when the crew of the Argoa are biding their time and one of the characters entertains everyone with the story. The book now jumps right into the meat of the plot.
When writing Bonds (book four), I start off exactly where Maze (book three) leaves off with the same character narrating the chapter. (For those unfamiliar with the series, the chapters switch between various characters’ points of view.). I wanted Maze to start in the same way, right where Voyage (book two) left off, so I switched two chapters to make that happen. These were two small changes but I really like how it gave the books another little dash of cohesion.
A Big Thanks to Chris Fox
Although I read a few articles and listened to a handful of podcasts regarding rebranding your books, most of the advice I received was from Chris Fox’s Relaunch Your Novel: Breathe Life Into Your Backlist. I even reached out to Chris (very scary since I hate emailing strangers) to ask him a question about the relaunch process and he responded within only a few hours. So, thanks Chris!!
Final Steps And Thoughts
There is one final step in this relaunch and that is to create a box set of Books One though Three. The box set will be electronic only for now and will be released in early May just a few weeks before The Bonds of Osteria (Book Four) comes out in late May.
The relaunch has required some tough decisions at times, but I really love the new cohesive look for the series…even if I did have to resort to a bit of man chest on those covers! I’m not sure if this will have any effect at all on sales, but even if sales remain stagnant, I did learn a lot during the whole relaunch/makeover process and have come up with a product I’m much happier with!
I’d love to hear what you think about the new covers, the new blurbs, or any aspect of the relaunch, so don’t be afraid to comment!!
So, Happy Relaunch Day and Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ll be back Saturday with a little Finn McSpool mishap and next Wednesday I’ll tell you all about working with KDP Print! See you then!!!
Oh, and I nearly forgot, I’m celebrating the relaunch with a 99-cent price tag on The Trials of Hercules through the end of February.
And, just in case you miss them already, here’s a final peek at those old covers….