by Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett
I've been an "indie" author for a little over two years now. Indie as in independent of traditional publishing. Make no mistake, my bread and butter is still writing cozy mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin USA), but let's face it, it's pretty hard to live on two paychecks a year. So, I became an independent author publishing my backlist, as well as new material.
Of course, I don't have all the same assets of traditional publishing at my fingertips, either. Namely an art department (or marketing, for that matter). So I've had to stumble along in that regard.
Take book covers, for instance. I had to come up with my own. I paid to have the covers made for my Jeff Resnick Mysteries, and I love them. But for my short stories ... I didn't know if they would pay for themselves (they did eventually ... but for the ones that don't sell well, it was a very L-O-N-G wait).
Here's the old cover for Cold Case. The truth be told, I never liked the picture. It wasn't exactly the same as the trike described in the story, but I couldn't find anything better at the time. And apparently it didn't matter; this is my second best selling short story (which is also the basis of the 4th book in the series).
Back when we did the original covers, most people were using the same tricks. A stock photo with a block of color and type. Eighteen months later, that doesn't cut it anymore. The whole e book explosion has a lot of people paying BIG BUCKS for professional looking covers, and this doesn't look the part anymore. How do you like the new cover (below)?
We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert, and they all missed. But I wasn't sure what to do with it. Since it's a holiday and holiday candy is involved, I thought of using chocolate on the cover. Unfortunately, while the photo is as sharp as a tack, when reduced to thumbnail size, it's difficult to tell exactly what it is. (And I won't elaborate on what it has been suggested it might be.) But even the font (as well as the colors) is all wrong. This is called experimentation.
Thanks to the generosity of other authors (and artists), I've learned a lot about cover design in the last year (heck, the last week). Here's hoping it does some good.
What do you think of the changes in these covers? Would they entice you to at least read the story blurbs?