What a difference a cover makes! The idea of people actually judging a book by its cover can be an appalling thought to a writer. However, after years of writing, editing and enduring the hard slog of promoting and selling as many copies of what was my first novel, the realization finally dawned on me. Yes, people do judge a book by its cover. No matter how defiant they are in trying to convince you otherwise.
The proof of this flaw in our thinking, lies with the recent success of my 2007 release, The Long Way Home. Six years after the self-published release of my debut novel, sales figures had reached the point where it had simply stopped selling. Despite the fact I was still touring up and down the east coast of Australia with it, and my two more recent releases. Sure my latest novel had a catchier cover, but The Long Way Home was still, in my opinion, a very good book. So what could I do about this?
It just so happened at the time, that I was shifting my platform as a writer from being a mainly print published author, to focusing solely on eBooks for my future releases. The Long Way Home had never, up to this point, been available in eBook format. So rather than press ahead with an eBook release using the same cover, I sought out a professional cover designer to give the book a much needed face lift, resulting in a completely different cover designed by Laura Gordon. The new cover I felt was more polished and to the point in seeking to capture the 2 second attention span afforded to most shoppers perusing page after page of eBook cover thumbnails. If they thought it looked like the kind of book they would normally like to read, they would surely stop, read the blurb and decide that $1.99 was not a lot of money to risk on buying a book by an author they were yet to read. So did they? Yes, and in droves.
In the six weeks following the release of the book with a new cover (new cover on the left, old on the right), I had a 500% increase in sales compared to what the book had slowly accumulated over the past six years! On eBook store Kobo, The Long Way Home reached as high as number #3 on the Fiction & Literature, drama, continental European best-sellers list, (although I'm still wondering how a suspense drama novel set in Sydney, Australia is considered European, any help readers?). Sure a lot of things including timing, price and availability on eBook for the first time may have contributed to its surge in success, but it does go to show one thing. People really do judge a book by its cover. No matter how defiant they are in trying to convince you otherwise.
The Long Way Home available from only $1.99 through the following retailers