I have heard many authors say that your book cover is what sells your book. True, to a certain extent. The cover has to reflect the content in some way and be the branding image for your books, especially if they are a series.
These were my book covers after I changed them when my publisher closed down. I was in a rush to get them out so as to keep my reviews. The one that really stood out for me was A Silence Heard.
Now, I really don’t like most of the book covers I see. However, I do realise why in some genres, the images are the way they are, to attract a specific fan base. That would mean for example, that these days a YA Dystopian covers will almost always look something like this.
Yeuk, as far as I’m concerned, but I am not the target reader.
Dystopian with a strong female protagonist, such as Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The hunger Games Suzanne Collins, also my genre for The song of Forgetfulness series, take a more abstract approach to their cover design. They sell a lot of books.
After delving into the some of these books, the content is pretty much the same, so yeah, the covers reflect that.
I have noticed recently in the Dystopian genre a huge trend in favour of the fantasy style covers with images of pretty girls on them. They all look like romance books to me.Yet they are listed as Dystopian.
My problem is that my story is different, my narrative style is very different. If I were to choose a cover similar to the ones above, then the reader would be disappointed with the content, perhaps. At least, it would not be what they expected. That is if they bought the book solely on the merit of the cover.
With that in mind I decided to choose covers that were very different in style from those in the same genre, yet reflected the content in some way. I want to attract readers who will like my quirky style of writing by using a cover design that would stand out from the others.
In the words of the late, great Umberto Eco. “Eco discussed his approach to writing in an interview at a Guardian Live event in London in 2015. “I don’t know what the reader expects,” he said.
“I think that Barbara Cartland writes what the readers expect. I think an author should write what the reader does not expect. The problem is not to ask what they need, but to change them … to produce the kind of reader you want for each story.”
I have been told by a few authors that I am wrong to do this and that I should get a cover like one of these.
Will I sell more books if I use a design like the ones above?
I’ll never know because I will never have a cover like that.
I want to stand out.
Have I ruined my chance at selling my books because I dare to be different?
I took a chance with the narrative style of my book and it worked, so why not the covers?
To my delight, I have gotten some excellent reviews often praising my slang-based language. Echoes from the Lost Ones was even used as the basis for a graduate thesis by Mattia D’agostina. You can read the blog post here: https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/translation-can-it-work-for-every-book/
So, I think I’ll see how these new covers work when I start to re-market my books.
What do you think?
Am I right?
You can purchase any of the books from The Song of Forgetfulness series on Amazon:
For more information about The Song of Forgetfulness series, please go to the website: http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/