I had a conundrum last week. My regular and Special Editions of Into the Darkness were selling well enough, but when I reduced the price for a limited time to spur some sales growth, everything ground to a near halt. Since the price was the only thing that had changed, and my marketing copy seemed just fine, I reached out to a couple people to see if the price may be the problem. Some said it probably was, but several people brought up an uncomfortable truth: my cover was "nice", but it didn't grab their attention like a dark fantasy cover should. After some soul-searching, I realized they were right.
In a former life (also known as right after high school), I was an art school student. I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for about two years before I had a crisis of faith in my path to artistdom. And anyone who went to the Art Institute in the late 90s like I did is probably laughing right now, because mine is not a unique story. Before I dropped out, however, I was in the Graphic Design track, where I got a healthy intro to the world of desktop publishing, photo manipulation, and computer illustration. The last two were really just becoming a thing back then.
All this is to say that I feel comfortable enough in Adobe's products to tackle my own cover designs. And my covers were always nice (or at least friends and family always said so, and enough people purchased my books to also indicate this), but when I really looked at my cover for ITD, I realized it didn't say a darn thing about my book.
So, a week and a half ago, it was back to the drawing board. Literally.
This is what came out of that.
You tell me. Which says a dark fantasy novel about a darkness reborn and the quest to stop it - the old one or the new ones?
Moral of this story: think about what you really want your cover to say, and don't settle for anything less than your best. Or your designer's best.
Special ebook pricing on Into the Darkness is ending soon.