Evolving Book Covers
The cliche we use about people is to “not judge a book by its cover,” but we all know that for books themselves, we generally ignore that admonishment. And that, combined with list price, can often dictate whether we bother with a book. For years, I’ve hated the cover and list price I was able to get from Lulu, my publisher. I recently discovered a competitor that, while has limitations that can frustrate me at time, could at least help me do a better job with the two things I hated most about my books to date.
Take for example, my first novel. “Reunion at University Avenue” is a mystery/thriller about satire and the reactions we all have toward jokes made at our expense. It was first published in 2005 and my fellow UF alumni have enjoyed it as it conjured memories about our shared history there. This is the cover from 2005:
Grainy, the title and author are hard to read, the back cover is atrocious, and it even shows a list price that wasn’t used. Worse yet, UF’s campus newspaper made fun of the fact that the picture (which I took myself on a disposable camera) doesn’t depict University Avenue (which in reality is a pretty uninteresting road). Here’s my 2008 update:
The photo itself is cleaner and brighter, the text is easier to read, the back cover is much improved, and there is a disclaimer on the copyright page explaining the pic as use of literary license. But the front cover was still pixelated and pretty uninspired. Fortunately, my new publisher came up with this for the 2013 re-release:
A smartly dressed guy behind a microphone. Is he a politician? What event is he attending and why is he speaking? So many questions can be evoked from this cover and the quality of the design is much improved. This cover is also just one of the changes my new publisher is making: a new round of editing including a revised first chapter and a brief afterword, the trim size for the book is closer to typical paperback size (reduced from 6×9 to 5×8) and the list price has changed quite a bit (from $17.98 in 2005 to $14.95 in 2008 to the $7.99 or $9.99 you will be seeing in 2013). I am quite pleased with the result. What about you?
You can support independent authors like me if you buy the 2013 edition on Amazon right now, currently selling for $7.59 (5% off).