Jeanne: Looking for Mr. One-Click

As regular readers my know, my first book continues to win prizes but it’s not not selling like I’d hoped.demon_wins_1500--POD

Feedback from experts suggested that my original cover wasn’t working for me.

A local bookseller had an issue with the snake. “People are afraid of snakes,” she said. “They won’t pick up something with a snake on it.”

Hmm.

A couple of author friends who sell a lot of books had a more basic criticism. “Your cover doesn’t say romance.”

And I never did like the fact that it was so hard to read the title.

When I had that first cover made, a marketing friend who had read an early draft suggested going with an “object cover”—that is, a cover with an object rather than a person—with the intention of trying for cross-genre sales.

But after working with a romance editor, the final version of the book was absolutely and unquestionably romance. In fact, I recently got a four-star review from a guy who liked the book—he said: The characters are the star of this book, the plot of which could almost be lifted from a twelfth century passion play. They are all well defined characters who do the things they do for reasons which are or become apparent over the course of the book. Nobody steps out of the character they really are in order to advance the plot.

But he also said, In my opinion, it would be a better story if the author used the sexual chemistry less and other mechanisms for achieving the same end more, but it’s a worthwhile and enjoyable story as it sits.

And that’s the problem with trying to go cross-genre when your book sits very solidly inside a single genre. Readers pick it up with expectations that may not be met.

With what is now close to a year’s experience of selling books, I have a much better idea of what sells romance novels. For Historical, it’s women in pretty dresses. For Contemporary, it’s cute little towns (or ranches), happy-looking couples and dogs. And for dark paranormal, it’s hot guys.

So, I went looking for a guy who was a one-click (for me, anyway). Once I had a cover model, I asked Sarah Andre, whose covers rock as much as her books do, for a cover artist recommendation. She suggested Paper and Sage. They made this:

demonwins-estridge-ebookweb

The ebook went up on Amazon over the weekend. The paperback will be available on the Zon and B&N shortly.

What do you think?

12 thoughts on “Jeanne: Looking for Mr. One-Click

  1. Fantastic! I thought your first cover was a wonderful piece of art, tied into the themes of the book well, and was very memorable. But I think you are right. It’s not an advertisement, and it doesn’t seduce one to impulse-buy if one is looking for a romance. And let’s face it . . . cross-genre is great and all, but romance is the genre with the biggest market.

    I love your new cover, as well. He’s hot, and the way hell’s gate looks like a fallen angel’s wings is really, really cool!

  2. I think this cover works a lot better for your book than the first one. The colors are brighter, the message is clear, your name stands out. Everything just sparks. Good job! It will be interesting to see if your sales pick up, too. But even if they don’t, I bet the people who do buy it will know what they’re getting, their expectations will be met, and potentially your reviews will improve even more.

  3. I love this cover, Jeanne. It definitely says “romance.” And while I’m generally not a fan of bearded guys, this guy is definitely clickable. I love his glowing eyes, too! He spells trouble…the good, sexy kind.

    I also love the tie-in between the flames of hell and the text as fire, as well as the wings (or wing-looking things…looks like wings to me).

    I think you and your designer knocked this one out of the park. Do you plan to redo your second book cover? Will you carry this sort of theme moving forward? How do you plan to differentiate the books throughout the series? Different color on each book? (That’s what I’m doing.) Or will you do the fire thing throughout?

    • Book 2 (and future books, I hope!). That’s an interesting question. After the debacle with the last designer, I decided to go into this business relationship a little more cautiously, so I only ordered one cover. After I saw the design, I asked her what she’d do about future books.

      She said (reasonably) that she generally likes to know if there’s a series up-front, so she can plan for that. But, she also said she didn’t think it would be a problem. And (non-visual person that I am), I can see a series of covers in different colors and with different (but equally hot) guys working really well.

      • I agree…I think she can make a series out of this. And there’s no shortage of hot guys, although they are devilishly hard to find on Deposit Photos. LOL. How long are you going to wait before working on the second cover? Are you looking for an uptick in sales to see whether this one is working?

        • I was planning to wait, but the response I’m getting to the new cover is so positive that I think I’ll go ahead and order.

          Now to dive into pictures of “handsome young men in suit jackets” on Shutterstock, because sometimes we have to make sacrifices for our art.

  4. VERY nice, Jeanne!! Glad you went with Christa, she’s remarkably gifted. Well, I still have your old cover, which will be a collector’s item once you’re famous. 😉

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