Human creativity never ceases to amaze me — as opposed to dolphin creativity, which is frankly old hat and I don’t know why they even bother anymore.
Hehehe. All kidding aside, my friend Audra (or am I supposed to keep your identity secret? TOO LATE!!!) linked me to a very cool article about a new book marketing concept they’re trying in Australia (and possibly elsewhere). The idea is that … well, I’ll borrow the image from the article to give you an idea:
Basically, they wrap up books in brown paper, write vague details of what the book is about, and add a price tag. It’s a book blind date! Instead of being swayed by author name or book cover or whatever, you judge the book entirely based on the five keywords.
Now, obviously this could allow for you to pick up a lot of duds, especially if you’re a picky reader. But I think it sounds kind of fantastic. I can only imagine how many really amazing books I’ve missed out on because I didn’t like the covers (and I’m very much a judge-the-book-by-it’s-cover kind of person).
I’m not sure this concept can really be applied to self-published ebook authors, but … still a neat concept, don’t you think? And if anyone does come up with a way to exploit this idea in the ebook scene, feel free to let me in on the secret!
So now that I’ve finished the first edit of Chasing Nonconformity, it’s time to start seriously thinking about the future of my series — namely, what I’m going to do with it. Obviously I will not be publishing the sequel through iUniverse (ha!), so it will definitely be self-publishing for me. I’m thinking of going KDP Select, at least for the first few months, because that sounds like a really cool program and I’d love to see how it works out.
Now, this brings us to the question of what I do about Imminent Danger. I don’t remember the specifics of my contract, but I believe I can basically opt out of the contract with iUniverse any time after the first year by giving them 30 days notice. So then after 30 days they would de-list the book and it would disappear from assorted websites (well, probably not the print copies, because apparently online retailers like to keep listing books years after they’re de-listed, but whatever).
I’m thinking of de-listing with iUniverse a month or two before I release Chasing Nonconformity, which would give me time to format it and re-release it with the sequel — and I would probably offer it for a lower price as well, to try and get people interested in the series. But all this rambling is not relevant. What is relevant is …
Cover Art for Teen Books — Simple, or Fancy?
I guess what I’m really trying to figure out is what direction to go with my cover art. The cover art for Imminent Danger I have right now is fine, but it’s not really … exciting, you know? It’s got the space thing going on, which is cool, and then it’s got the silhouettes, which don’t actually look anything like my characters, locked in a passionate embrace … but that does nothing to capture either the “imminent danger” part of the title, nor the humorous element implied in the “and how to fly straight into it” part of the title.
So clearly I will need a new cover (not to mention I’ll have to pay iUniverse $700 if I want to buy the rights to their cover). Which leads us to the question: for a YA/teen book, what’s better — simple, or fancy?
Here are some examples of simple covers:
And here are some fancy covers:
So, as you can see, two very different styles. Now, if you consult this list of the best YA book covers, you’ll find that the vast majority of YA covers feature the female protagonist in a pretty/cool outfit doing something dramatic. So there’s another point to consider. But then, Twilight and Hunger Games are both insanely successful, and they have super simple covers, so … yeah.
Another thing I’m considering is hiring an artist to do an illustration for the cover. I’m thinking either just Eris (the protagonist), on a starry background, floating dramatically toward something just off-screen, perhaps shooting something with her laser gun. Or possibly Eris and Varrin (the space pirate) doing something that bespeaks their romantic relationship while at the same time being exciting and awesome. I don’t know. I spoke with an artist yesterday who will do the cover art for Imminent Danger and Chasing Nonconformity for $800 each — which I thought was a lot, but apparently (according to my mother) is quite reasonable for such a thing.
OR I could go the stock photography route and do it myself. OR I could hire a cover designer to do it for me. OR I could … I don’t know … sacrifice my teddy bear to the graphic design gods and hope for a miracle.
As you might have noticed, I have absolutely no idea how to proceed. So, any and all thoughts / opinions / suggestions / graphic design god contact tips would be greatly appreciated. Ooooh, I should also make some polls, because clicking buttons is fun. One second …
Notice that I didn’t put the teddy bear sacrifice option on the poll. That’s because this is a serious matter, darn it! Plus, I need my teddy bear to guard my apartment from looters and vagabonds, so sacrificing him should be a last-resort option.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally here. My cover, that is. It’s been quite the process, and a frustrating one at that. But all the silliness and incompetence is now behind me, so let’s focus on the important part — the book cover reveal!
I therefore present to you … the soft cover of Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It!
Not too shabby, right? There are still little nitpicky things I would change, but overall I think it looks pretty good. I mean, ideally I would have liked to have a graphic designer create silhouettes of the actual characters, including all their unique physical characteristics and whatnot, but the silhouettes I ended up with are good enough.
Here’s the hard cover:
Aaaand here’s just the gorgeous front cover:
So that’s that. The cover is done, and the book files are now being whisked away to the printer to be … well, printed. That should take a couple of weeks, and then hypothetically the book will be available for sale. Yay!
Unrelated image of the day:
Since adorable baby Chewbacca went over so well, I have concluded that you people like cute things. Therefore, here is my gift to you:
So to get the big news out of the way, iUniverse sent me my book proofs yesterday. These would be electronic proofs — don’t do physical proofs for some bizarre reason.
Anyway, here are my initial thoughts on the cover/interior:
title looks super cool
spine looks super cool
back cover looks professional
interior is freaking awesome
they randomly stretched my author photo sideways so I look oddly disproportionate
the back cover text they tweaked from the original version I gave them is poorly written
the silhouettes on the front cover are terrible – the girl is fine, but the guy looks like an overweight balding man – plus he randomly has a shiny silver pistol (this is a sci-fi story, people! they don’t have pistols!)
As you can guess, I am fairly concerned about “The Bad”. Most important to fix are the silhouettes, obviously, since they are on the front cover, but most annoying to me is that they stretched my author photo. What could possibly possess them to do that? If they needed it to fit a certain width, they could have just cropped the top and bottom. It makes no sense. Did they think no one would notice?
Anyway, this is just the first draft (I get one more), so I will make up a list of all my revisions and send it to them. And then the cover will be perfect! Or else!
Moving on to the real reason I called you here …
So as I mentioned above, the back cover text they “revised” is mediocre at best, so I had to re-write it. I’m going to share with you myversion of the back cover text, so please let me know what you think! I haven’t sent it in yet, so changes can definitely be made if you find something you don’t like.
High school junior Eris Miller thinks she’s having a bad day when her roommate’s boyfriend catches her stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. Then she gets abducted by aliens, and her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse.
After being forced to drink a vial of glowing blue liquid, Eris is knocked unconscious. When she awakens, she discovers that she is imprisoned on a spaceship. Her abductors are menacing six-armed reptiles with a strange fondness for the color blue, and their captain is straight out of Eris’s nightmares. Her only solace is in her fellow captive, a wise, fluffy-haired alien named Miguri. But just as Eris begins to fear she will never see her home again, fate lands her in the arms of Varrin, a handsome space pirate who promises to deliver her safely back to Earth. He claims to have her best interests at heart, but Eris soon discovers that her rescuer has a devious hidden agenda.
Join Eris on her thrilling journey across the galaxy as she struggles to save her planet, her life, and her heart from the clutches of imminent danger.