Advice Needed: Do I Change My Book Covers… or Don’t I?

The Book Cover is the first thing a prospective buyer sees when deciding if they want to pick up your novel. And sometimes, it’s the one thing a writer will not invest the time and money on. I’m in a dilemma with one of my series and maybe you can help.

I have written 7 novels. Five of them are “selling right now.” Some more than others, but I’m seeing at least one sale of each of these five during the month.

And then there’s my Dark Fantasy series, THE WORLD OF KAROV and THE RUBY AMULET. I haven’t had a sale of these books in months. The question is… why? Am I not promoting them enough? Are they too dark? Or, are the covers not compelling enough? I’ve got a healthy 27 reviews for Book #1 with a 4.4 rating. It has to be something else… Here they are now:

Original Book Covers

Original Book Covers

You see, when I first started indie-publishing, THE WORLD OF KAROV was the first book I did on my own. I was a “newb” in every single sense of the word, from working social media, to uploading on KDP and Createspace, to creating a website, to… well, everything. So when we were creating the cover I was so excited and had a thousand untested ideas and I wanted the ENTIRE KITCHEN SINK included, which I’ve since learned is a newbie mistake. I didn’t need the entire book represented in the book cover. The twins, the animals, the mountains, the ruby amulet, the powers, the blood – you see what I mean. I have a great book artist but, it was my first time working with her and she really gave me everything I asked for and I LOVED IT. But, then I started publishing other books are realized that “editing” the entire kitchen sink is important. So, Book #2, THE RUBY AMULET is much more sedate and we simply kept the green/red theme. The problem is, they don’t look like a series, nor possibly something compelling enough that you’d want to pick up.

Here’s the blurb for THE WORLD OF KAROV:

Adam and Alec look like identical twins, but their personalities are as different as possible. Adam is gentle and kind, whereas Alec is the essence of nightmares. Always jealous of his twin, Alec does everything he can to destroy his brother’s happiness, including kidnapping Adam’s fiancée on their wedding day and disappearing with her deep into the Canadian mountains. Adam searches for them for months, but he never finds them. Just when Adam is at his most grief-stricken point, a stranger appears and offers him a chance for a new life in a land filled with magic, gems, and powers unimaginable; a world mysteriously led by a special tribe of children who have hidden themselves away from a great evil that is seeking to destroy them. Adam takes the chance and goes with the stranger, but his past is never far from his mind. Eventually, reality comes back to haunt Adam, resulting in a final showdown with his brother…. and this time, only one will win.

And the Blurb for THE RUBY AMULET

In this suspenseful sequel to The World of Karov, a ruby discovered in a mountain stream transports Joshua, and his best friend Sean, to the war-torn world of Karov. They are immediately caught up in a violent struggle between the people and their treacherous king, who is determined to find the legendary four-pound ruby hidden deep in the emerald caverns. But time is running out. The king is closing in on Joshua and the gem, and the boys must help the Karovites find it before the king does. For if the king gets to it first, he will become the most powerful being in the universe and the Karovites will be enslaved… forever.

So, what do you think of these covers? Don’t worry about being unkind, I’m a writer, I’ve learned how to take criticism… do you think I should invest in new covers and start all over?

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27 thoughts on “Advice Needed: Do I Change My Book Covers… or Don’t I?

  1. So here’s my opinion. First books are always full of mistakes. The covers are always the worse. I had an artist friend point this out to me with my first self-published piece, and he just gave me a new cover design because he felt so bad for me.

    Re-do the covers and re-do the blurbs and have a re-release marketing campaign, and that would be cool and maybe even bump up some sales. 🙂

  2. Your cover is the first thing that people notice after the Title. It needs to be a visual to the story inside the book. The World of Karov made me think it is about the war of good and evil between twins. Lamb and wolvesa story of a wolf in sleeps clothing. If this was that you were going for and that is what the story is about you nailed it. If not you may want to redo it. You might want to do silhouettes of the boys facing each other and show the magical land that you talk about in the book description spilling out with the good and bad of the characters and the magical land. It just a suggestion to spark your own muse to help you give the reader a sneak peek into the world inside the book. The Ruby Amulet is not inspiring me to want to see that the book is about. It seem from looking at the cover that it is a treasure hunt story. Pirates book maybe. I not into pirates tales so I would not look at it from seeing the cover. You might have the face and crowned king with evil eyes in the background and keep the amulet on the book with hands coming down under the amulet that are hand cuffed together to show their possible enslavement. But again it is just a suggestion to spark your muse to a great cover. I hope this help you in your quest to get your book seen and sold. Good luck to you Always. Your Fellow Writer, Michelle Reid~Hawley totzaon@hotmail.com Art in the Words Gallery http://artinthewordsgallery.weebly.com/michelle-reids-gallery.html Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2015 11:22:44 +0000 To: totzaon@hotmail.com

  3. As someone who is facing the same question, and preparing to republish one or two with new covers, blurbs and Keywords, I would say, Go for it. Something is nagging you, so try it and see what happens…
    Good luck!

  4. I’m about to re-release my first book with a new cover and some other minor corrections. Since it’s the first in a series, I’m going to make it similar thematically to the second. I got advice from a friend who is a graphic artist, which has helped immensely. I say go for it.

  5. In light of all that you wrote, I would change the covers. It could help sales.
    The World of Karov book #1 is too busy. There is just too much going on. Transitions between images are not smooth.
    I’d take a look at other books in the genre and pick ones that speak to you and then try to figure out what it is you like in them exactly. Check out: http://diybookcovers.com/ Stacy Claflin swears by them and she has some beautiful covers. She does all the design herself using their templates.
    Good luck!

  6. That’s a toughie. Not an expert on book covers – but the current ones look good, especially on the second one.

  7. I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion and often what one person likes, another will not appreciate. I tend to not want people on my cover so readers can use imagination to picture the characters but that is just me. Trust your own instincts on the covers….it reflects your work after all.

  8. I think you should change the covers, and make publishing the new covers a launch event. You could even take the opportunity to correct any typos or other errors in the books themselves (if there are any), so these could be new editions. As for what is on the covers, book 2 is along the right lines, but the image is redundant because the title describes it. From the blurb, the story is not really about an amulet, but about freedom of the Karovites and, I guess, the quest of the Joshua and Sean to find their way home again.

    Book 1’s cover is, as Ula said, way too busy. As you said, it has the kitchen sink in it. I would pick out a really good cover designer and give him or her one sentence that tells what the book is about. I’m guessing sibling rivalry, but you might have a more important theme in mind.

  9. I agree with Scott and Ula. When creating a book cover (or any graphic) you want to direct where the eye lands…if the background or graphic elements lead the eye away from your book title or author name, you have a problem. You want people who see the cover to remember your name or at least the title.

  10. When I look for a new book to read the cover is what draws me in. If I like the cover, I read the back of the book, if I like that I read the first paragraph, if I’m hooked I buy the book. Looking at your books, I love the 2nd one, but I’m not crazy about the first one. I, too, agree with Scott, Ula and Lisa, it’s too busy. Perhaps if you focus on one items rather than trying to incorporate so much it might be more allluring. These books sound like GREAT books though! The story sounds captivating!

  11. I just updated the three covers on mystery series. I decided to add pretty girls to each cover but kept the scene central to the books. I’m seeing better sales on book 1 of the series, but figure people see it’s a series and want to start with that one. I’m happy with the new covers and feel excited to market them. I think you should redo the covers, give the two boys more prominence in book 1 and add a handsome young man to book 2 to draw attention. Backgrounds should reflect the story if possible.

  12. In thinking about a favorite series that I read, the covers have changed a few times over the years. Yet, the covers changed as a series, not as individual books. As a reader, I want the series to be uniform in its look. In marketing, there is an adage: Less is more. It’s true in writing, too. As writers we know that we strike a balance between how much we reveal and how much we leave to the reader. Your second cover draws me in as a potential reader. The first cover is too complex. As a series, yes, they need to look more similar in style. Thanks for inviting feedback!

  13. Onisha stole my comment! More than once I’ve been attracted to a book by its cover only to realize I’ve already read it, just with a different cover. I don’t know much about books in this genre. I go to bookstores now & browse books in my genre to see what is out there, what I like, what I hate. Often, less is more, especially of you have a great blurb.

  14. Adding my $.02 into the fray… For the first book cover – have a ring centered to mirror book 2. Make sure it is an angled view, not from the top down – we want to know it is a ring. I love the lettering – which ties the books together but when you look closer you realize book 1 is all caps and book 2 is not. Also, get rid of the rest of the clutter on book 1. As I learned about book covers – there are 3 basic focus points – 1) image, 2) title, and 3) author. Decide which order you want the focus to be. If title – make it larger, if author, make it more noticeable, if the image, bring it on. Just make sure to decide which order you want the reader to focus on your cover. Book 2, I think it is the amulet, the title and very close, your name. On book 1, the title sticks out more and your name and then maybe the twins and overall, just too busy. And yes, most definitely, RE-LAUNCH!

  15. The thing about covers: Less really is more. The function of a cover is to entice the reader to stop and check out your book page. To pull them in just enough to read the blurb, then want to click through and read the preview. I agree with the other comments that the first one is way too busy. But the second one is too generic and doesn’t really have much to grab the eye.

    Look at the covers of successful fantasy series, and you tend to see a trend: a captivating image that stimulates the imagination without telling too much. You want your prospective reader to think, “Hey, that’s cool. I wonder what that book is about.”

    With respect to the blurbs, there’s too much summary in the first. Again, you’re trying to pull the reader in to read the preview, not give them all the plot points up front. The second one is better but could be tightened up. A good blurb is a cliffhanger making the reader want to see what happens next.

    • I think you’re right on all counts – thank you so much for commenting – after I put this anthology out, I’m going to attack these covers and do a relaunch – appreciate the time you took.

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