One of the really cool things about being self-published is that you can change your book cover whenever you’d like. In the past, when a book didn’t quite capture the audience, we could not make changes until l we went to print again, as was the case with my book entitled Last Temptation:
Though both my publisher and I actually liked the first cover, it was determined that the cover was a bit too sultry (the lady looks almost naked) and that wasn’t working well with my genre (Christian fiction). Thus, the second cover. The cover for the audio book is different from the others because when an audio book is created, the “audio folks” don’t have the rights to the cover, so they’re on their own to make one that’s in line with the original cover. In this case, I think it’s a pretty good match.
I recently began experimenting with the covers for the Mama B series. In fact, there are now a total of nine covers associated with the three books (not counting the compilation). The first set of covers were adorable and I liked the fact that I found pictures of the same woman in different poses, so they would all have her face.
But I have to be tell you: I’m concerned that she’s becoming a trademark for the series, which is a “gray area” with stock images. Gotta watch that. Secondly, the wisdom of Mama B is universal, so I wanted to see what would happen if I took age/ethnicity out of the equation and focused on the fact that it is #1 a Christian book, #2 a book about good southern wit. Hence, the second set of book covers with doilies and wallpaper. (Doilies are a southern, country thing, right?)
I actually like the second set of covers better than the first because, to me, they do capture the essence of “Mama B” and all of her countrified ways. They remind me of the relaxing feel of the Mitford series.
One of my writing buddies agreed with me that the covers were super-Mama-B. (Yaay!) Another of my writing buddies called me and said, “Michelle, what were you thinking?” My husband was like, “Is that a book cover or a tablecloth?” Nevermind those last two people – LOL! But the biggest issue: the thumbnail images look way too busy on Amazon, and now this book is starting to look like it’s meant exclusively for a senior reading audience. Now, I love my seasoned sisters, but I want my younger sisters to read the book, too, so they can gain from the wisdom of a senior character. In other words: My target reader is younger than my main character (something I’ve never experienced before). In terms of sales, putting a new cover on the book did get the wheels rolling again. However, I did have a few more returns than usual because I think people got confused and thought there were more Mama B books out. (Sorry about that!)
All of that led me to this third set of covers, which I decided to make abstract. I wanted them to just scream “women’s fiction!” like some of the latest books by the dearly beloved, late Francis Ray. So, here’s the third set:
I really like the flowers and I think Mama B would approve. Only thing is: they don’t really relate to the content of the book. But I don’t know if this is actually a problem? After looking at the Amazon overall bestsellers in fiction, the majority of them don’t actually have people on the covers and seem somewhat generic to me. In terms of sales, I really can’t say if the second or the third set of covers is best because I’ve been doing a free book giveaway on book 1.
So, here I am – trying to decide which one is most appealing to those who haven’t read Mama B yet and which one actually “feels” more like Mama B for those who have. I have no doubt that Mama B’s wisdom is still getting around (the free book was in the top 100 of all Kindle free books several days last week-with both covers), to God be the glory. And eventually I will stick with one set of covers for Mama B. I know God will glorify Himself no matter what, so I’m not losing any sleep over it.
But right now, I think I’m too close to these book covers right now to decide which set is best. So, here are two questions for you: Would you, pretty please, tell me which set you like best and why?