Friday, August 7, 2015

Judging a book by its cover

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

One of the great things about being an indie author is that you have total freedom.  That doesn't mean you do everything right the first time, but you get to experiment.  One of the the most challenging things for me is coming up with a cover.

I have a short story called An Unconditional Love.  That wasn't its first title, but with the help of former Cozy Chick Heather Webber and a bunch of Facebook friends, we came up with that title and a cover concept. 
The story is about a mother with a special-needs
child, and how she sacrifices everything for her
little girl. The original cover shows a Mom and
daughter at the beach. I really liked the picture,
but it didn't do much to sell the story, so we
revised it when we started playing around
with "branding."  It didn't do much to sell
the story, either.   Live and learn. 

So I had another one made.  I love it.
Does the story sell a LOT better? 
Not so much, but it's prettier!

I'm going to be experimenting with
a new cover for my cookbook,
Recipes To Die For (a Victoria
Square Cookbook).  So far I've had
two covers, neither of which I've
liked very much.

The original cover.
Coming up with cover ideas isn't as easy as it seems. I asked some of
my Facebook friends for suggestions.
They came up with some very good ideas, but none of them felt right.  So I'm still pondering what I should do.

Since Victoria Square has "signature" gas lights, they would seem to be a good thing to have. But Katie's dream has always been to open a bed-and-breakfast in a Victorian mansion ... so maybe that should be on the cover.  Should there be recipe cards? Should there be a lovely table set with her cats Mason and Della comfortably sitting and waiting for dinner?  Should the table be on the mansion's porch, or should it be sitting in the middle of Victoria Square?  And, could I find the kind of pictures I'd need to help the cover designer pull off my vision of what the cover should be ... when I'm not sure I have a vision?

The 2nd cover (with branding).
See the problem I'm having? And why the rush to change the cover RIGHT THIS MINUTE?  Well, I'm running out of Victoria Square bookmarks and need to reorder.  I really don't want to have 2500 bookmarks with a cover I plan to replace.  So ... this weekend I need to make a decision.

What do you think?