Thursday, 19 June 2014

Decisions, decisions

Hi all,

The decision over what cover to use for the book has been causing considerable angst - and not just for me. A friend offered weeks ago to help design a cover - she didn't want payment as it would be a good project for her and some other students to work on.

She (and I) spent a lot of time trying to get it right and incorporate all of the elements of the plot into the cover. However, and this is where I am very much to blame - I just don't have a clue when it comes to design, fonts you name it. Certainly don't ever ask me to help choose a colour scheme for anything - it would be a car crash.

We ended up with something that I thought looked pretty decent and that we could use. But I needed to be sure so I got hold of an alternative cover from another source. What many authors do is buy pre-designed covers from websites. How this works is that a site such as the one I used, http://selfpubbookcovers.com/ allow artists to upload covers that they wish to sell. There are 1000's on there. You go on, put in a search term e.g. Time Travel, and up come the results.

If you choose to buy one of these it becomes your exclusive property - no-one else can use it, you pay the site and the artist gets the royalty. The prices vary from a few dollars to hundreds.

I decided the best way was to ask my audience what they preferred so I put the two covers side by side on Facebook and asked people their opinions. The majority preferred the one from the website so in the end I decided to use that. But encouragingly there were also some positive comments about the one we'd designed so it was definitely worth doing and an education if nothing else.

I do feel very sorry for my friend as she worked very hard on the design, as did I, and it is disappointing to see all that effort go to waste. I think where we possibly went wrong was me trying to tell her what I wanted when I didn't really know myself. I should have just given her free rein to use her imagination. I didn't handle the whole situation very well if I'm being honest with myself - and I'm man enough to admit it.

I guess at times in life we all end up in such scenarios where it is impossible not to hurt someone's feelings. I think Julie is really dedicated and good at what she's doing and the fault was entirely mine for giving her erroneous instructions. I wish her every success in the future - she is also a very good photographer if you are looking for one.

The other thing that swayed me in my decision was thinking about my target audience. Again I hate to use phrases like "romcom" and "chick lit" because it's putting things in categories but the book is very much not a hardcore sci-fi book. If it was then the first cover would probably have been better. My book is light-hearted easy reading with a time travel twist. I have listed it in the "Time Travel Romance" category on Amazon. Hence the pocket watch cover - it's more in keeping with the genre.

However - I could be wrong? Who knows. The beauty of self-publishing is you can always change things. I've changed the covers on two of my other books and they seemed to do better afterwards. And publishers produce second editions etc all the time. So we'll see what happens - I will keep an open mind.

The book should appeal to young and old alike - I have a little teenage coming of age romance in there as well as some involving the older characters. I'll tell you more in the Q&A blog tomorrow.

Thanks to everybody by the way who has offered opinions over recent days - your feedback is invaluable to me.

Jason

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