Tuesday, February 2, 2016

IWSG: Cover Fear


"Don't judge a book by its cover."  But in the book business, that quote is totally wrong.

Nothing is more important in grabbing a reader's attention than a powerful, flashy, or gorgeous cover.  It's the first thing they see, before they read the blurb, and long before they may choose to sample the first pages.

That cover bears 75% of the responsibility of selling a book (unless the author has name recognition and a big following). 

I'd decided to hire someone to do the cover of my upcoming book.  But the designer friend that I trusted with my life -- I mean my book's life -- found herself overwhelmed with new job, new city, new life and doesn't have time to do it.  She gave me other names and I've looked at a bunch of cover sites but haven't found anything I loved... at least not enough to spend $200-400 on (which equals my monthly expenses in Egyptian money).  If someone told you that you'd have to spend a month's salary on a book cover, you'd think twice too.

So I'm coming up with some covers myself -- and I'd love to get my awesome and artistic blog followers (and maybe some FB and Twitter peeps) to help me choose one of them. 

Here's my problem -

How to set up the "Pick A Cover" post?

Do I just put them on a regular post along with my Celebrate hop and book giveaways?

Or do I make a separate page for them ('coz -- *blush* -- there are gonna be about 10 of them) and have my blog visitors click through to a page devoted to only the covers?  Or would that just confuse people?

What about the voting? Should I download a "Poll" app so people can click a number and officially vote (which would be anonymous)?   Or should I just ask people to put the "winning" number and opinions in the post comments?  Would people read others' comments and change their minds?

This is sooooooooo important to me, so any advice on how to run a "Pick the Cover" poll and get a good number of voters while not annoying anyone would be great.  :)


This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.

46 comments:

L.G. Keltner said...

Getting a cover ready for a book is stressful. I definitely can't shell out that kind of money for covers, though I understand why people charge that much to make them. When it takes that much time to put something together and it helps pay the bills, it makes sense. It's just hard for those of us who can't pay that much for it.

If there are that many covers to choose between, it may make sense to set up a separate page. I'm not sure what would work best, though. I'm definitely not an expert on this.

Andrew Leon said...

That a cover is so important is actually disheartening.

Yolanda Renee said...

The app sounds good, but I'm not tech savvy so I'd use the comments section. I've tried my hand at designing covers and I've failed miserably. I wish you nothing but luck - may an angel bless you with the help you need! Maybe you could batter something in exchange?

Ann V. Friend said...

The poll app is my vote. Blessings Lexa!

Kate Larkindale said...

It's so important! If I were you, I'd use a poll app and have a separate page set up. I think people can be too easily influenced by comments, so keeping it anonymous is a good idea.

Denise Covey said...

I found a cover designer who offered to do an ebook cover for free, then a small amount for a print book cover. However, we had trouble agreeing on everything. I'm arty, so in the end with my techie husband's help, I designed my own. But owning a great photo editing program is essential. Good luck!

Around the $300 mark is common for pros to charge. And it is so much work I understand the cost! Took me ages!

Denise :-)

Sue Bursztynski said...

I'd go for the comment section. Depending what your book is going to be, I can show the covers to my students, but they are teenagers. And you're absolutely right that covers DO matter, no matter what anyone says. The first thing that makes you pick up a book in a shop or the library is the cover. After that, the blurb, then the first pages. But first the cover.

Have you considered going for public domain photos? They might make your book end up looking like a Penguin Classic, but they're free! ;-) Again, it depends what your book is about.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't do the poll. The one Blogger supplies lets people vote multiple times. Comments are better.

JeffO said...

I'm not sure which one you should do, but I can't wait to see the covers!

Sean McLachlan said...

I say go for the poll app. Oh, and check out http://lousybookcovers.com/
It will make you feel better abuot whatever cover you decide on.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

I understand about the expense. I say make it its own post, have a poll, and encourage comments. Sometimes people will like parts of two different covers and you can pull those together--or they may like one, but think the font it too hard to read.

Do check out the site Sean recommended, too.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Is there a college or art school near you? I haven't got a clue as to how you'd set it up. But I am sending positive reinforcements to you for a job well done. You'll figure this out, Lexa. You always do, right!!?

Loni Townsend said...

I say go with a separate page. And a poll would be cool. Have them vote for their top three maybe? You will get an amazing cover, I know it!

Annie said...

That is nerve-wracking! I understand. I'd go with a post, not a page, so your normal blog readers get the notice about it. (If it's a page it won't appear in my RSS reader, for example.) And I think a poll would work fine, or just letting people express thoughts in the comments!

Jacqui Murray said...

I just did a 'pick a cover' post. It worked stunningly. I posted the covers and then a poll and asked for people to vote. I guess they did vote, but mostly added comments explaining their choice. It was 90% for one of the covers. I'm so glad I asked for help.

Linda Kay said...

Sounds like a great idea! I've known several people who have done their own covers and feel quite comfortable with them. Good luck with your poll.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A separate page with the covers would probably work better, then we could focus on them. The poll or comments would work, whichever you prefer. I think you can do it. Your artwork I've seen is great.

Julie Flanders said...

I like the idea of a separate page. And like Beverly above me I think either the poll or comments would work, whatever works best for you. I am excited to see what you have come up with! Your art is always fantastic.

Laura Clipson said...

I think a poll would be best; if people also wanted to comment, they could do that too.
I have to admit, I always judge books by their covers. If the cover doesn't interest me, it's likely that I won't even read the blurb.

Stephen Hayes said...

As a professional illustrator, I ALWAYS judge books by their covers. I painted several of them.

Rachel Pattinson said...

I think a separate page sounds good, especially if you have lots of covers to showcase. You could always put a deadline at the bottom of the page, and then either disable comments after that date, or discount them? Professional covers can be so pricey :(. Best of luck!

Rachel Pattinson
February IWSG Co-host
rachelpattinson.com

messymimi said...

Setting up a separate place to vote might lessen the traffic, i don't know. It would be nice to make it anonymous so people would give their own opinion and not know what others were saying. That way, also, if you got a lot of votes for one cover, you'd know it's the right one.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Separate page and a poll would be perfect. I'm sure it will be awesome!

Sharon Himsl said...

Polls are fun, but comments might be better. You'll learn more in the discussion. Can't wait to see the selection :) Is the public domain really free for a book cover? Someone mentioned and I hadn't thought of that before.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

You make a great point about people reading the comments and changing their opinion. I know I try not to do that, but sometimes find another comment influencing my inner voice. (Gosh, that was such a writer excuse.) I'm here to help you in any way I can! Here on your site or privately. I know how important this is to you. ((hugs))

Cathrina Constantine said...

This picking a cover sounds awesome!!! I'm computer stupid, but if you can put up a separate goggle page so people can pick that'd be cool.

And I definitely agree with you about book covers. I always so for a book with a cover I like. I'm not saying it was always a good choice, but if I love the cover....

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The covers are important. I know some authors who love doing their own covers but I would be really stressed out by something so important.

Lynda R Young said...

Covers are soooo important. So very important. Yet so many people get it wrong. Feel free to email me and I'll give you my honest advice and maybe a little extra.

Chemist Ken said...

I think you should put all the covers on one page. It makes it a lot easier for your readers to compare and choose between them.

Kim Lajevardi said...

So sorry your friend can't help you out. I will be happy to add my thoughts to whichever of the cover-picking methods you choose. I personally think posting ten ideas in a blog post and having people answer a poll about which is their favorite sounds the easiest, but I will seriously do anything that helps you. Don't make it too hard on you, please.

dolorah said...

Book covers are important. When I like a cover, I'll read the back of the book. If the blurb doesn't match the cover though, I put it back, no matter how flashy or intriguing. I'm no help for cover advice. I wouldn't want to put out that much money on a cover either. Unless I was independently wealthy - then it wouldn't matter, lol.

Good luck with your search Lexa.

Cathy Keaton said...

I'm all for sticking all the covers on one page and putting in a vote counter, but you should do what is easiest for you. We'll manage, I'm sure, as long as we can see the covers somewhere and comment on which ones we like best.

Hope everything works out!

Heather R. Holden said...

I agree, covers are incredibly vital, so I'm not surprised you've been obsessing over this. The "Pick A Cover" post sounds like such a fun idea! It might be best to give it its own page, since a post featuring that plus other content would get overwhelming. As for voting, the poll gets my vote. You wouldn't have to worry about tallying up the results yourself! At the end of the day, though, you should do what's most convenient for you. It'll all work out one way or another in the end!

Brandon Ax said...

I think the poll would be smart. It gives you an easy way to look at what attracts people. I myself have been going through this. I recently lost my cover artist and have two books I plan to have out this year. It is a struggle indeed.

Juneta Key said...

I'd say make easy on yourself and readers. Most people going to blogs won't spend a lot of time there, so the easier and quicker the better. Do a blog post put them all on there. Comment voting would be easy for reader, but a poll would make it easier on you and it also does not put reader out if it is on same page easy access as your covers-Anyway that is my 2 cents worth, lol.

Love the theme of your blog. It looks great. I use free pixler (https://pixlr.com/editor/), which lets work with photos free. There is also free GIMP, which is more complicated but comparable to Photoshop abilities. You can find tutorials for it on youtube and udemy. You may already have something you use, but thought I'd throw it out there.

Don't know if anyone has ever told you about fiver.com, but they have services some as cheap as $5. You can find artist and graphic artist there. I know authors who have used them and been happy with the results, They normally have website and examples of their works and terms. https://www.fiverr.com/

You can also put your work up for hire there too for other people to buy your services. It is pretty cool for freelancers and artist.

Anyway, hope some of it help and best of luck,
Juneta Writer's Gambit

Madilyn Quinn said...

You're right. Covers are so important. I'm reluctant to read books with crisp, professional looking covers. I feel like a jerk for it, especially because I know how self-published authors sometimes have to pay for a really nice one, but still. Eh.

I'd say, create an anonymous poll. People are typically more honest when anonymous. Though, then they couldn't give reasons why or why not, if that's in particular important to you. Hm.

Medeia Sharif said...

I'd love to see a poll with choices. Covers are very important and they need careful consideration.

T.F. Walsh said...

Covers indeed a crucial... a poll is perfect as it's easier for people to vote:)

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

I know how you feel. I'm in the middle of Book 2 cover design right now. I came up with the design myself, but I'm not skilled enough with Photoshop, etc., to make it look professional enough, so I sent my rough mock-up to a pro designer for polish. I'd say use a separate page so the cover choices are easy to find. A poll would be good for anonymous voting so no one is influenced by others' comments, but then you don't get actual feedback which would be useful. Is there a poll that allows comments, too?

rhondaalbom said...

I think a separate blog post with comments would be best as people can give more in depth feedback on covers than they could with a simple poll.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

On Facebook you could just put the covers in an album that you post and let people comment on the one they like best. As for the blog, you should probably put them all in one post and have people vote in the comments.

Of course, saying this, I see the opportunity for people to vote in both places and skew the vote.

I'll just stop talking now ...

M.R. R. said...

I would say make a separate post or page. You can leave the comments off if you decide to go with the poll.

In any case, best of luck.

Ravyne said...

I wish I had some experienced advice for you, Lexa, but I've never had a book published or done a cover reveal. For my personal taste, I would go with a separate post of only the covers. I would ask my readers to pick the one the liked and tell you why in the comments. Good feedback is always helpful and a generic poll won't give you that. Good luck! ~Lori~

Michelle Wallace said...

"Nothing is more important in grabbing a reader's attention than a powerful, flashy, or gorgeous cover". Definitely!
I'm a sucker for great covers!
"Pick the Cover" poll? I shall be watching this with great interest.

DMS said...

I agree with you that covers are very important. I know we shouldn't judge a book by the cover, but we do all the time.

I would love to participate in a poll. It looks like you have been given lots of great advice. :) I would say that the vote should be its own post or have a separate page for voting so that it stands out. Good luck!
~Jess

Huntress said...

Dont dither. Just post and allow comments. I want to see them NOW!
Or blogger still does surveys, don't they?

Yeah, I'm not too knowledgeable huh.

I think it is what you are drawn to, the definition of subjective I reckon. Dark,uncluttered covers draw me. I greatly dislike pastels and run like hell from anime or unprofessionally drawn pictures.

But that's just me. It's all *sigh* subjective.

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