Thursday, December 24, 2015

Trigger Happy Publishing a Book with the Wrong Cover

Hello folks, I was at it again yesterday. Spent the whole day creating a cover for one of my books, posted it on Facebook for opinions, and then overrode sanity and published the book on Amazon with the untested cover.

And then the feedback rolled in...

And I realized maybe I should have waited for that feedback.  So, Avalee and the Dragon is again unpublished pending a more patient development and crowd testing of the cover, and I am reminded of why I asked for feedback in the first place.

So, here's the cover I made. Not going to pretend it doesn't exist, but I figure it might be a good reminder to myself and an opportunity for others to learn from my mistakes.

I like this cover. I think it's pretty and bright, and the picture is something I took, so no worries about anyone else having it on their covers. Sure, and that's why I did it. After all, if you don't like the cover you come up with it is definitely out. The point is, your own opinion as the creator of the book and as the creator of the cover (if you're both) should not be the only one you consult.  I almost did this right, sharing this with friends and asking for opinions. So, how did I come to the conclusion that this cover wasn't right? Well, here's what I got from my friends (and I know they're good ones because not a one of them told me this was fine).

1. What's the significance of the flowers or the yellow? This is called Avalee and the Dragon, right?

I'm paraphrasing this feedback from a few posts from someone whom I know is not afraid to give some good feedback. What this reveals is perhaps the most important flaw of this cover. It doesn't really reflect the title, and since the title does reflect the story, it doesn't really reflect the story either. The cover really needs to communicate what the story is about, give a feel for it either in details or symbolism that is closely related. If someone is asking what your cover means, that likely means your cover isn't ready or just plain isn't right for the story.

2. One generous offer from another author to help me tweak my covers.

Paired with number one, I was beginning to see that perhaps I'd missed the mark. If someone offers to help you with your covers instead of saying, "That's a good cover," you have probably missed the mark, especially if that someone has designed some rather awesome covers of their own for books that are actually selling. I asked for some advice instead, and I got it. Makes me appreciate this guy very much, that's for sure.

3. An enthusiastic reference from one family member to talk with another who is an amazing artist.

Yep, all the signs are there. That cover is totally wrong for my book. Again, no "that's awesome" or "wow, great cover." But a suggestion to get some assistance is similar to what number two's response indicated. I either need help, or I need to put a heck of a lot more thought into this cover.

4. Silence and silent likes.

No one came out and actually said that cover was terrible, but I can connect the dots. Particularly since, other than the tactful and helpful feedback and offers from one through three, no one else said anything. I got a couple of likes. But no one outright said they liked it.

So, here's what we have, a pretty cover that I like, but it confuses potential readers and, to other authors and even family, screams, "I need help."

I'm glad I asked. :-)

(Now that I look at it again, that's awfully yellow, isn't it?)