Cuba-first experience
July 21, 2016
LOVING SAN MIGUEL
July 21, 2016

One of the things writers worry about all the time, besides book content, is what the finished product will look like. I went to a meeting the other day of a newly formed group of people, all of whom are interested in how to publish on Kindle. So I guess you could call it the Kindle Publishing Group of San Miguel. Sounds like a good title. Whether the group will be called that permanently, I don’t know.The group leaders went around the room and asked each person what they wanted to learn–why they were there. Interestingly enough, some people didn’t know the difference between Kindle as a publishing platform and Kindle as a thing, an eReader on which one loads and reads a book. Many people were interested in marketing, as in how do I sell books or how do I sell more books. This may be pretty much the number one reason the majority showed up for the meeting. One woman expressed such an interest in marketing that it was surprising to learn a few minutes later she hadn’t even written a book yet. I’m not sure she’d even started writing it.

Many people wanted to know about book covers, including book covers on the cheap. Covers have changed a lot since the beginning of time. Since online publishing became popular, they’ve changed even more, and in several ways.

A lot of us will have books that will never be in a bookstore. The idea of having a book cover that is attractive front and back, is not relevant to many of us. No one will ever see the back matter which used to be so important. (Unless the author makes personal appearances.)

Readers can stop in a book store, pick a book from the shelf, examine the front of it, turn it over and examine the back of it, read the quotes and/or the excerpt on the back, and then flip to the inside to read the beginning. Not necessarily so now. In today’s world where about 60% +- of books are bought online, either there is no back or the back is so tiny you can’t read the print even if you click the fancy little link thingy on Amazon that swings the book around front to back.

Reports vary as to the number of books published in a year worldwide. The last number I heard was 4,500 PER DAY. So, for those books that are sold online only, or mostly online, the front cover is MOST important. A reader scrolls through pages in Amazon, probably starting with a topic search, looking for something that grabs his/her attention. First thing seen, book cover. Next, they can read the headline, then a short description, then they can read a few pages inside. If they like what they read, they click and buy or click and send to Amazon’s lending library. If not, they move on to the next book. This is the way of the world today, the way of book selling. So, keeping that in mind, many authors, myself included, are always thinking–always wondering–could we improve our chances of someone stopping and looking at our book, could we improve our chances of a sale, if we had better covers? (I learned the hard way that I should have listened to advice and not done my own ebook covers.) I’ve put my old covers and my new covers below. You be the judge…and if you’d like to leave a comment about them, please do.

First version–printed cover.

My first ebook cover, which I did myself. (That’s my gavel.)

New ebook cover. I really like the way it’s so clear and easy to read.

Original hardback cover.

Ebook cover. I did this myself. Am considering finding a new cover.
Original printed book cover.
Original printed book cover.

The first ebook cover, which I did myself.
New book cover for The Sweet Scent of Murder. This is the sequel to My First Murder.
New ebook cover for The Sweet Scent of Murder. This is the sequel to My First Murder.
Original hard cover and paperback cover.
Original hard cover and paperback cover.

Ebook cover. I like the Galveston sunrise I caught one morning. I don’t know if I’ll change this one.
Trade paperback cover.
Trade paperback cover.

Updated book, Heart of Divorce, with new photo. Much clearer than the last one.

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