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The Cover Conundrum

February 5, 2018

You would think that my 7th publication would mean that I've gotten used to selecting titles or covers, but these two things remain a conundrum, especially covers. There are two schools of thought when publishing romance books: 1. Man-Chest or Manchest for quick writing, and 2. Objects or neutral cover.

When I first published Rebound, I took pictures of feathers in a black background. If you read the book or the series, you'd know that "feather" is a term that becomes part of the story. I didn't know it would be used throughout the entire series, but I thought I was so clever to think of it in advance of the remaining two books. I loved this cover. It's one of my favorites. Mostly because I composed it and added the font with a free online graphic design app. I owned the cover, it was free (well, save for a few crafting feathers and a black poster board). However, the cover was generic. It looked like an amateur cover. Why did I use a neutral cover rather than models?  I wanted neutral because there are some readers who don't like suggestive covers--for whatever reason. And being a woman who once snuck sexy romances despite having a mother who didn't read in English, I thought it appropriate that the cover be neutral. Some of my favorite books have neutral covers. I had a cover artist do a neutral cover for Stained Glass Shards, which is free on Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble until February 15th. If you've read it, please support by leaving a review, no matter your opinion. 

 

A change needed to happen, however. I wasn't seeing many sales with the neutral cover. It was too generic. It wasn't as eyecatching. I went to an Indie author workshop where the presenter, Liliana Hart, gave a comparison of sales per cover. When she had changed from manchest covers to a neutral cover, her sales nosedived. It looked like a cliff. Yet, when she changed them back to manchest, it rose up even higher than before the plunge. It was proof to her, and to me, that manchest works. 

But manchest didn't seem to be the answer for my books. My book was heroine centered. It's a romantic suspense novel, and many of my favorite novels in that genre usually have a couple. So for my re-release of Rebound and the remaining books, I used a couple. Thankfully, it was a series of photos with the same models and they were close in appearance to my hero and heroine. 

I love these covers too. I think they fall in line with the story I told. However, they've seemed to have peaked, and a new cover would give them renewed life. Yet, that means I must find a cover artist to select a new series of covers for the three books, hope they fall in line with the theme or the characters, and try to relaunch for a new set of readers. 

A problem persists, though. I have new books to worry about. I'm having a problem figuring out a title and cover for my new novella. I have three novellas that I want to release in 2018. I've written one and am working on the second. The only holdup on the first one is a cover. What do I want? Should I do Manchest to get more exposure? Do I use a couple who closely resemble the narrators? Do I do a neutral cover that reflects the theme? So much to think about. It's causing me much stress because I can't put out a book on preorder if I don't have those two things covered. 

So I'm working through those issues daily. I think I have a tentative title. As far as cover, I've had no epiphany. I'm hopeful that I will come up with a name by February 15, so I put the preorder out for the March 13th release. 

As soon as I figure it all out, I will either get a cover artist or buy a premade cover that closely resembles what I want. These are the times when I just want someone else to make the decision, but it's nice to be my own boss. 

 

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