Should You Ever Change Your Book’s Cover?

This is a very difficult question for authors, and for me specifically. I have no design eye. It’s why every wall in my house is painted “cream” or “off white” and our style of decoration is a touch above IKEA. To put some color in the house, I simply chose to add artwork, knick knacks and area rugs from the “fall hue family.” Meaning, if it’s an autumn gold, a deep green, a navy, a rustic red, or a mustard I’ve used it and hoped it all sort of meshed together.

So, when I am posed with creating a cover for my books, I’m clueless. My first published novel, FLYING TO THE LIGHT, was published by Cool Well Press. This was the cover they made for my novel about a young deaf boy who knows about the afterlife and now people are after him for the answer. It was dark, really just a few muted colors, but we loved the image of the little boy looking towards the light and the wonderful birds in the background. flyingwebresize

When that publishing company closed, I was given the book back. It was agented, but he couldn’t sell it. He suggested I change the cover and self publish it to get it back out to market. I sought out LLPix Photography and here’s what we came up with. We wanted something brighter… and to scream thriller, to show the relationship in the book between the two brothers and not just have it be about the little boy. And, to show that this book is still dark. I think the mood she created was really nice and spoke to that.
Flying to the light FINAL

I had polled a lot of readers on Facebook as to which cover they liked better. It was a very mixed review. Some folks who have already read book #1 liked that first cover, though they did feel it may have been too “religious looking.” Many new readers felt Cover #2 had a much better vibe.

My problem is that I always want too much in a cover – the entire kitchen sink, so it’s important, for me, to seek out a professional who can scale me back. But, the going consensus in the industry is that your cover is EXTREMELY important. It is the first thing a potential reader sees and if you can’t grab them immediately, you’ve already lost them. If the book isn’t selling, and you are certain it’s a good book, it doesn’t hurt to try a new cover.

So, which cover do you like? Would you pick up the blue cover or the dark cover if you saw both sitting on the shelf?

And for those interested in purchasing the novel, here is the link:
Book #2 in the series is going to be called FLYING TO THE FIRE and it’s with beta readers right now. Then back to an editor, a proofer and it will be in your hands. If you would like to get on my mailing list for announcements about new releases, please do so here (fyi – I will never give out my list to anyone or sell your name to anyone).

Of course, before I do anything for book #2, I first have to make the cover! Don’t get me started on what I want in THIS one!

13 thoughts on “Should You Ever Change Your Book’s Cover?

  1. Ignorant when I first published, I did so with a microsofty pitiful cover. Almost immediately someone suggested a professional cover image. Whew! yes, there are times. Ha!

    • My first book I self published has an extremely busy cover. Part of me wants to change that too, but I figured I’d just let it go. My feeling is, we learn as we go, right?

  2. I like the dark cover, but I think that’s because I read a lot of crime/thriller/genre fiction that generally has dark covers (and dark themes inside), so I probably subconsciously pick darker covers over more colorful ones for that reason. 🙂

  3. Book covers are very important since they ARE the first contact between you and a new reader. I like the new cover but think the original has more impact. Maybe it is the darkness. If I were to use the first cover, I’d change it to have the silhouette include the older brother, if only 2/3 of him at the extreme left side w/ his hand over the younger boy’s shoulder. Don’t know why but if I were to pick up both books, I’d probably go with the black cover vs the blue cover.

  4. Ahhhh… the book cover. It is SO important! I think it’s the beauty of being an indie writer – the ability to try new things with our work when something doesn’t seem to be working. As for my pick… Well the darker one looks more like “Flying into the Light” whereas the cooler one looks almost frozen to me. I don’t see a lot of light to fly to (though it’s there, it’s just clouded). Hmmm… If I saw both sitting on the shelf, I’d still want to read the about section of the book (back cover) to see what it’s about before I bought either (which I would do anyway). Now that I know it’s a thriller, I almost want to see the blue one but even darker… like a dark alley vibe (in that same photo)… Honestly, I didn’t think based on the title or the covers that it was a thriller. It wasn’t until after reading your post that I knew that…. I’m HORRIBLE. LOL!!! Never ask me! I want the kitchen sink too!!!! HAHAHA

    • It was told to me by my old literary agent to change the cover from that dark one to something with color – what do I know – just like my post, I can’t tell what’s good or not good. I liked the dark one too, but I didn’t love how the title and my name were at all. I do like the mood of the second one a lot though.

  5. I agree that covers are critical to selling your books. I also agree that one of the great advantages of being independent is that you can keep changing your cover until you find one that works. I’ve changed most of mine several times. Some changes were subtle; some were dramatic. In the on-line marketing world, the challenge is to have a cover that will catch someone’s eye when it’s the size of a postage stamp and still look good at full size. When my sales drop off on books that are selling or never take off on new books, I’m quick to change the product description or the cover or both. If you have the cover art, it only takes a keystroke.

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