Tag Archives: cover design

Testing new Covers for Chameleon in a Mirror

Since I’ve recently had rather disappointing click-through rates for Chameleon in a Mirror, I decided to try testing some cover designers through Fiverr, just for fun. I wrote about the option in my book Starting Out as an Indie Author, but I had never used it myself. There’s a saying here in Germany, “Probieren geht ĂĽber studieren.” (Trying is better than studying.) So here I am trying! Here are the cover designs I got from my first Fiverr foray into covers:

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

CIAM cover

For the sake of comparison, here’s the present cover:

And here’s the very first attempt:

What do you guys think? I have to admit, I had the feeling the new covers stood out better in thumbnail for sure, but I’d love a bit more feedback before I finalize. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!

Covers and Book Description for “Starting Out as an Indie Author”

I’m almost there! “Starting Out as an Indie Author” is nearly ready for publication. But first, I need some feedback on covers and the book description I’ve come up with. The first cover is based on the graphic I’ve been using for this series for some time now, with stock art I’ve already purchased, so it is more finished than my other two designs. The others have more the character of mock-ups, since I thought it would be fun to attempt something more playful as well. And as you can see in the covers, I haven’t purchased the art yet. They might be too playful, after all, and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it to purchase the art.

Starting Out as an Indie Author

And here’s the book description I came up with:

Have you written your first book and are considering self-publishing? Perhaps you have started looking into the possibility and are feeling overwhelmed by all the options, all the things you need to do and learn in order to become an indie author? Or maybe you aren’t even sure yet whether self-publishing is for you or not, and you want to find out more of what is involved before you decide.

STARTING OUT AS AN INDIE AUTHOR was written for beginning self-publishers and covers the basics on where to sell your books, formatting for eBook and print, and developing marketing strategies. It includes a number of step-by-step instructions for everything from cover design, to setting up eBooks for various distributors, to creating ads with Facebook and Amazon Marketing Services. In addition, there is advice on any number of topics: eBook pricing, using distributors, how much to spend on self-publishing, and writing blurbs for your books.

With this sanity-saving book as a guide, you will have a much better grasp on what is involved in self-publishing and will be able to approach the task realistically and with eyes wide open.

Part I: Is Self-Publishing for You?
Chapter 1: Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
Chapter 2: Potential Self-Publishing Mudholes
Chapter 3: The Costs of Publishing as an Indie Author

Part II: Getting Ready to Publish
Chapter 4: Why Editing is Important – and Who can Probably Skip the Expense After All.
Chapter 5: Preparing Your Manuscript for eBook Retailers
Chapter 6: Cover Options for Indie Authors
Chapter 7: Writing Blurbs and Descriptions for your Books
Chapter 8: Amazon Delivery Fees and Reducing the File Size of Your EBook

Part III: Publishing Your Book
Chapter 9: EBook Pricing
Chapter 10: To KDP Select or not to KDP Select
Chapter 11: Using Distributors for Getting into Online Bookstores
Chapter 12: The Importance of Keywords
Chapter 13: Formatting the Interior of your Book for Print
Chapter 14: Creating a Wraparound Cover for your Print Book

Part IV: Marketing
Chapter 15: The Big Challenge: Becoming Visible
Chapter 16: How to Develop a Strategy for eBook Promotions
Chapter 17: Alexa Rankings for eBook Ad Sites
Chapter 18: Advertising Sites
Chapter 19: Social Media and Cross Promotion
Chapter 20: Newsletter Basics

Part V: Final Thoughts
Chapter 21: Why “Write the Next Book” isn’t Enough; Or: What to do if your Books aren’t Selling
Chapter 22: Rolling with the Changes

Do please let me know what you think!

Testing a new cover: Looking Through Lace #free until Dec. 29

Before things got really crazy around here, I tried to get various marketing gigs scheduled, among them a short free run for Looking Through Lace to test the cover. It’s free from Dec. 27-29 — and I think I can already declare the new cover by Lou Harper a huge success. I have done absolutely zilch so far in the way of promotion, and as of this writing, it already has 232 downloads. Those are numbers that I normally spend money to get. *g* I do have one Fiverr ad scheduled for tomorrow, for the sake of comparison, since I regularly use Bknights for free runs, as cheap and effective as it is. But Looking Through Lace with the new cover is getting the same kinds of downloads without any advertising whatsoever that I get for my short story collections with ads.

So while we are all admonished not to judge a book by its cover, it seems very obvious to me that if you want to sell a book, you have to make sure the cover is the best you can possibly get. 🙂

Anyway, you still have two days to nab my linguistics-in-space novella for free! If free and the lovely cover isn’t enough of an argument for you, here’s the description:

As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place?

What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.

Originally published in Asimov’s in 2003, “Looking Through Lace” was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

Feel free to share!

And the winner of the new cover for Looking Through Lace is …

After running various versions of the cover designs for Looking Through Lace past Facebook, my blog, and the cover voting site I’ve used before, we have a winner: looking through hair and stars! *g*

For those curious, here’s a breakdown of the various voting results:

Facebook: Hair – 9; Eye – 3; Hair with Grid overlay – 1

Voting site: Hair – 5; Eye – 2; Hair with Grid overlay – 3

Blog: Hair – 4; Eye – 4; Original cover – 3

I find the differences pretty fascinating. The readers of my blog never saw the hair variation with the grid overlay, since I never got around to uploading it, but there was a strong anti-hair lobby. Everywhere else, however, the hair won hands down.

Despite the various objections to the hair, I’m really happy with the result. AND I will now soon have a paperback version of the novella! One has actually been out for a long time, but it’s in Italian. 🙂

I’m very pleased with the job done by Lou Harper, and have already asked her to do the second book, Beyond the Waters of the World. And with all that investment, I should finally get back to the series … If only I didn’t have about a gazillion other works in progress already …

And the winner of the Chameleon cover contest is:

New cover for Chameleon in a Mirror

I have tweaked the cover a bit in accordance with some of the comments I got here and on Facebook, so it isn’t exactly the one you voted on and/or rated, but it is still (for the most part) the winning design.

On the Help Me Choose My Book Cover site, it barely won, and on Rate Book Cover it comes in a little behind design A — but it also has more ratings, none of them negative. And on Facebook, this design won hands down. So when I count that feedback in, things look much clearer than on the two sites linked to above.

But when it comes right down to it, all of the new designs rank better than the cover Chameleon in a Mirror has now. Thanks very much to everyone who voted and rated! Of course, I won’t know if it actually helps until I do a promo of the book with the new cover. I will of course keep you all posted. 🙂

As to progress, that has been limited the last week. For most of the week, the apartment was Very Full. My niece’s boyfriend left Friday evening, my niece Saturday morning, and my daughter and her boyfriend today. I was able to keep up with my self-imposed translation schedule; writing not so much. From Monday to Saturday, I only wrote 1100 new words. But with the exception of one especially full day, I did manage to get at least 100 words on Shards of Glass written a day, so that it will at least stay in my back brain until I have more time to get back to it again.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive week!

Cover creation advice according to genre, via Freebooksy

Freebooksy posted an interesting visual analysis of successful book covers by genre today:


Unfortunately, fantasy is not one of the genres for which they provide examples of successful covers. And in the “paranormal” category, they throw in Steampunk, which wasn’t exactly paranormal last time I checked. *g*

Despite that, the article is definitely worth a look. Even if using their advice is no guarantee of success. Example: according to the article, successful SF book covers are orange, black and white. May I present you with the least successful of my SF titles?

From Earth to Mars and Beyond

Plenty of orange, black, and white there, I think. 🙂

Nonetheless, I think it is very solid advice to study covers of successful books in your genre before you either create your own or start consulting with a cover designer as to what you want.