There are a lot of reasons authors change the covers of their books. I don’t change my covers often, but I do change them and for a variety of reasons.
Last year, I changed covers on an entire series to give it greater eye-appeal and to draw in new readers. Changing a whole series is an expensive endeavor though and not something I plan to do often.
I’ve also changed book covers because a sales channel (or two or three) have at times refused to allow the one I was trying to use. I cannot speak to what you might or might not see in other book covers on any particular channel. I can only say that I personally have gotten dinged. Honestly, I don’t blink these days if a sales channel tells me my cover contains “inappropriate content or graphics”. This is also known as showing too much cleavage (see cover 3 in the AOL series graphic below). I couldn’t get a marketing ad approved for Carved In Stone because the cover with cleavage was rejected.
The end result–now known as attempt number 4 and Carved In Stone’s current cover did meet my target goal of increasing downloads of the series starter. I’m happy with it despite the curvy road I took to its creation and the money I spent to keep changing it.
This was not the first time I changed Carved In Stone’s cover. The original 2011 blue cover looked nothing like my other work at the time. I thought it was clever to make the second series stand out, but the blue didn’t carry well to the rest of the series. The minor refresh with the red hearts added was an attempt to fix my branding to “red” on the contemporary books and to visually connect the Art of Love series to the pristine, unchanged covers and colors of the Never Too Late series.
Does this make you tired just thinking about it? Me too. Like I said… I’ve changed covers for many reasons.
Here is my most epic branding fail. The first time I changed the cover of this non-series book was after it had experienced a year of very meager sales. As you can see below, my first cover was not so great… and it was totally my fault. The cover artist, an incredibly talented person who did covers for over half the books in my 60+ book catalog, humored me in my “objects only” cover request. The result of her compliance with my suggestions was a book cover that looked like it was a story about a police person paying for french fries instead of a comedic romantic suspense story. Branding wasn’t even in the picture.
I kept the original version to remind me not to be too directive about what I want in covers. They’re artists, not interpretative mind-readers. After producing 30 amazing covers, my cover artist would never have done this kind of cover without me directing her to do so. Attempt 2 in the graphic below was me finally saying to her “please make me a cover that looks like a romantic suspense story”. Bingo. Done. Much, much better. She even tucked in the red which I have used in most of my contemporary books.
I used the second book cover for several years. The last time I changed this particular book’s cover was when I spun off a trilogy from the story. I wanted this great little story to start its book life over being connected to the new series I was planning. I also did something that I’ve only done once in my 60+ books history which is that I changed the name as well. It was indulgence more than necessity, but I’m glad I did it. Since previous sales had been so meager, changing the name and cover one last time didn’t really seem like an enormous risk… and it did increase sales. This book has lived happily ever after being named Morgan’s Mistake.
Changing covers of existing books is sometimes bittersweet for me. I’m both excited by the chance to do them over and yet sad to be stripping away their former identity. My emotions go both directions at once. These books are my creative children and I care about what happens to each and every one of them.
My latest cover change was prompted by leaving Love Spells, a cross-promotion group of light paranormal romantic comedies. The covers I used for the Jezibaba Saga while the books were part of the group promo were great covers and they completely matched the group’s branding theme. However, the covers did not match any of my other light paranormal romance books.
While the marketing experience was very, very positive for me, being in the group created a branding dilemma. So when my time with the group ended, I made a change to the Jezibaba Saga’s covers that now connect them to the original Baba Yaga Saga series that inspired the Jezibaba Saga spin-off.
Will the revised covers increase visibility and boost sales? I’m hoping so since I invested in the work–LOL. There is quite a bit of faith involved in such decisions. In a few months, hopefully, I can answer that question with data.
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