Friday, January 25, 2013

Publishing A Novel: Cover Model?

It's been a little over three months since BAND GEEK came out on Amazon and I'm thinking of doing something very drastic: I'm debating whether I should change my book's cover.

I'm very, very torn about this because I spent a lot of money to have my cover professionally designed. Moreover, I absolutely LOVE the cover. The designer, Damonza, did an amazing job and came up with something that's fun, mysterious, cool and interesting. It's received many compliments from readers and is definitely different than many of the young adult book covers that are out there:

The problem is, I don't think that this cover is attracting the audience I really want to get: teen/20-something girls.

While browsing online and on Kindle, I realized that most of the best-selling YA books have something important in common: they have people on the cover. There will either be a close-up of a girl, a shot of a cute guy or a shot of a couple. I doubt that this is what makes these books best sellers; a great story and writing is, of course, necessary, but I do think that the packaging helps. For instance, a really cute book that I recently read is Lacey Weatherford's Crush. As you can see, there is a smokin' hot guy on that cover; he really does get your attention! And based on many reviewers' comments, this is what made them purchase the book. Don't get me wrong; it's a great story and many readers agree with me, but many also admit that it was the cute guy who drew them in. Weatherford must be aware of this, too, because her soon-to-be-released sequel, Smitten, has yet another close-up of the same hottie.

I shouldn't be too surprised by this because now that I think about it, most of the teen books that I've read do have people on the cover. Judy Blume always had a pensive or happy girl (or boy in some cases) on the front of her books. The Sweet Valley High series featured shots of the twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, or their friends. The Alice series always has Alice the character front and center. Even the Harry Potter books have kids on the covers. In fact, the only seriously popular YA books that I can think of off the top of my head that DON'T have cover people are The Hunger Games and Twilight. But they cross over into other genres. BAND GEEK falls right into the contemporary fiction/romance slot where cover people dominate.

People seem to be enjoying BAND GEEK; it's getting great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and most of the bloggers who reviewed it during my last book tour gave it positive write-ups. Right now, it's at 4.5 stars on Amazon and 4.09 stars on Goodreads, for which I'm very proud. But despite the good press, it's not selling as well as I'd like and I suspect that I chose the wrong type of cover for my coveted audience.

As of now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. If I switch up my cover, I'll have to once again plunk down a hefty chunk of change and I can't guarantee that a new cover will indeed boost sales. On the other hand, if a change DOES work, it could be worth it. I don't know. But I do know that with my next book, there will definitely be a face on the front.

Please read and review REVENGE OF A AND GEEK GONE BAD.

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