A lot of you would know a few years back I wrote a book with my sister, Ros Baxter, called Sister Pact. It was a great experience for both of us and we loved it so much we’ve written a second and are on to our third.
The book sold out its print run which is good but over several months, not in one or two weeks which makes you a superstar. It’s now OOP – out of print :-( BUT thanks to the digital platform you can still get it as an e-book.
And from today you can also get it as an e-book with the original cover.
The original cover was the one both Ros and I loved. Harper Collins truly outdid themselves with nailing exactly what the book was about in one piece of art and we were ecstatic – absolutely over the moon.
Look at it – isn’t it gorgeous?? (if you click on it, you'll get a lovely big, readable version!)
But then the marketers and the books buyers got involved and were not very nice about our cover. They didn’t like it, they wouldn’t buy many copies. It was too chick-litty and didn’t we all know that was “publishing death”?? It seemed it was too reminiscent of those covers that defined chick-lit for many years – cartoon martini glasses and red stilettos .
So our beautiful cover was ditched and we got a more generic women’s fiction cover which everyone who knew stuff about stuff agreed would sell better.
Now there’s nothing wrong with this cover – it’s perfectly fine. Except it has nothing to do with the book whatsoever...
The first cover tells the story in one glance. The second cover tells you nothing. In fact, it looks like the women in the story are the best of friends and they’re going to ride off into the sunset together (or possibly star in a Libra Fleur commercial) which is so not what happens, so not what the book is about.
So you can imagine how ecstatic we both are that the lovely peeps at Harper Collins have decided to out the old cover back on the e-book AND have reduced the price from $12 down to $4.48 in the US, 2.99 pounds in the UK and $4.99 here in Oz!
We finally feel like we have our book back!
And because I’m so damn excited I’m going to give away a digital copy with the new cover to someone who stops by and leaves a comment. Tell me, which cover do you prefer? If they were side by side in a bookshop which one would you pick up? Do you buy on cover alone? Do cartoon covers turn you off? Does it annoy you when the cover doesn’t match the content?
Amy, I'm with you. I really enjoy the cartoon style cover, which does tell so much about the story. I often wonder about how much the marketing staff do 'know' and how much is guess work. It must be so hard choosing the right cover when what appeals to one reader is a turn off for another. Congratulations on getting your old cover back!ReplyDelete
Thanks Annie! We're dead chuffed :-)Delete
I know covers are one of publishing's biggest issues but I still reckon they don't give readers enough credit!
Absolutely agree. Cartoony covers imply the book will be fairly light and funny even it deals with a more serious topic too, which is harder to do with models.ReplyDelete
The women are laughing in the second one but then so do models in any ad you care to name from tampons to cat food. They certainly don't look like feuding sisters!
yes, a good point Elisabeth! Cover A tells you a lot about the tone of the book too - and that's not an easy ask!Delete
Ah, Amy- the endless cover debate. Blessings or banes in our lives! I would buy the first one without a shadow of a doubt, however members of my book club (who don't read chick lit but do read women's fiction) would buy the second. This book is still on my TBR pile!!!ReplyDelete
Well pull it out, dear Louisa :-)Delete
I wonder how many of the people who bought the book with cover two were confused/annoyed by the disparity between the cover and the content?
I love that book! And I totally agree that the cartoon cover suits the story and the characters so much better than the women's fic cover. Glad it's getting its moment in the sun!ReplyDelete
So am I, Rach. So am I!Delete
The book wouldn't be as good without your invaluable input before it was even published - thank you again!
Well, fine, I'm going to be the voice of dissent. I like the first cover, but I love the second cover. The tag line tells me about the story, while the cover gives me hope that these two sisters will find their way back to each other. Just my two cents.ReplyDelete
That said, congratulations on the new edition…not to mention the new, you-beaut price! Hope it flies off the e-book shelves. :-)
There's always one, Michelle :-)ReplyDelete
It'll be interesting to see the percentages of yay's to nays at the end of all this!
I do so love the cartoon cover :) and agree that it tells more of the story but I don't buy books on covers although they are what makes me pick a book up in the first place :)
I think you hit the nail on the head there, Helen. Covers are what make people pick up the book. Which makes them so important and why there's always so much debate/angst over them :-)Delete
I haven't read your book (although I plan to now, just to see which cover works best.)
However, I am a bookseller and I will say that, in my town at least, the second cover would sell 10 copies to every one of the other. Why? Because the "pink cover/cartoon/champagne and stilettos" covers are being ignored as readers are going for the more "mature" covers like Cathy Kelly, Jodi Picoult, Sheila O'Flanagan and Elizabeth Noble.
Personally, I prefer the first. The other has a bad mix of image and text: the sure don't look like "Two Feuding Sisters."
Ooh, sale! :-) Actually, if you'd like to contact me via my website, I can arrange itDelete
Thank so much for commenting, Paul. I'm so pleased you did. It's always good to read different perspectives.
What I'd like to know is how skewed is that data, though? I realise you're talking about your experience but I'm just curious. Do people really prefer those covers of do they just prefer those big name authors? Would they really buy a Cathy Kelly/Jodi Piccoult-esque cover from an author who wasn't either of those women, who wasn't so well known? Wouldn't a Jodi sell just as well regardless of the cover because its a Jodi? Doesn't it also help that these authors all have their books displayed at front of the store and are displayed on the shelf face out instead of spine out? Is it really a covers fault if the book doesn't sell or the lack of publishing house "push" behind them?
Having been in this biz for a while, I guess you can call me cynical and jaded :-)
I do love the cartoon cover, but I think the other cover is just beautiful and if I had to choose between the two I would pick up the non-cartoon cover.ReplyDelete
I still remember seeing a stack of these books in Big W and it really stood out with the yellow. It was so striking. I was proud to point it out and say loudly that I knew one of the authors.
Good luck with ebook sales!
Thanks Claire :-)Delete
The books sold out in Big W I believe in no small part due to the fact they were on an end display, a stack as you say, and also part of a special.
A lot harder to get noticed when you're just a spine on a shelf.
Amy, I love your original cover. Why don't they let us have some input? I'm sure we know what matches our stories better than any one.ReplyDelete
Blast! Blogger Just ate my comment! (sigh) Serves me right for accidentally clicking on one of the other comments!ReplyDelete
Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I like the original cover and how perfectly it suits the story! Glad they're using it for the e-book that's available now!
Interesting to read Paul's comment about covers - and your thoughts about cover vs author name skewing the sales data.
Sorry if I am really late getting back to you on this question: holidays make one forget certain things...
Anyway, to try and answer your questions:
Covers vs big name authors: I think if you put an "indie"* cover on a Jodi Picoult novel, then it wouldn't sell. I think there is a correlation in people's minds between good quality outside equating to good quality inside. If it looks like someone has spent half hour on Photoshop to put a cover together, then that may be just how long they put into the novel as well.
As for the way I display my books - if they are new into the store (bearing in mind we sell new and used), then I have a few display spots available for that. However, that could also be authors that have just released their debuts, indie authors who have got something in print, or household names as well. We don't discount anyone from sales displays - for us, we are after turnover so the more books we can sell, the better. We can't rely on Jodi and Cathy to sell books - people did that with Danielle Steel and Wilbur Smith and they eventually stop selling!!