Adventures in Epublishing: Changing Covers

I've been a little bothered by The Green's performance the last few months (all the months) it's been out.   Despite having some of my best reviews and being the highest rated of my books, it sells the least. I've pondered for awhile what to do to help it out. I've played with price. I've put it on a blog tour. It does have a one major drawback -- it's a stand-alone novel. It's not part of a series and never will be and as we've seen, series are the money-makers.

However, YA contemporary titles seem to sell decently despite that. So I looked at it a little deeper. And I thought about packaging. Quite simply if you compare The Green to the covers of my other titles, it looks the same. Same colors. Dark. Foreboding. My other books happen to be paranormal and not contemporary though. I think my original reasoning for going dark with the cover was because of the subject matter. It's kind of a dark book. Not nice things happen.

But at the end of the day, it's realistic fiction. We generally don't live in the dark, surrounded by dark clouds (all the time). And looking at other YA contemporary covers (think Sarah Dessen, John Green, Ellen Hopkins), they're bright, use lighter covers, even though they cover pretty heavy topics. And while I do appreciate my original cover, I figured it was time to try the opposite and see if that has any effect on sales. It certainly can't hurt.

I worked with Robin Ludwig of Ludwig Designs on the original, and she is the artist that has done my Into the Shadows and Bloody Little Secrets series covers. She definitely got across what I wanted. We have the red ribbon to show her shiny cheerleader-ness, the money to show, well, The Green, and a sporty-looking chick to represent our Ariceli. I think it's a great representation of the story and I do love the title font. It's awesome. But again, I chose dark on this one.

Here's the updated version with pretty much the same essential features. Cheerleader, red and white showing the school colors, and money. Also, you can see big, fancy Cambridge High School in the background. I think the bright colors and title are more prominent in the thumbnail as well.

It will be interesting to see if the cover makes a difference in sales. It could be that it will still suffer for not being part of a series. But we'll see. I might try one other promotional idea as well to see if the cover can really seal the deal. I have a sneaky suspicion based on my own stats, that this cover will do really well on Apple in particular. So we'll see.

I hope everyone knows that I did like my first cover, but in this business, you've got to be ready and willing to change things often until you reach your desired effect. I'll keep you posted as to how things go for it sales-wise. Right now it's averaging between 15-30 sales a month across ALL channels. Poor thing!



  1. I'm with you Karly, I prefer the darker xover as well, the new one makes it seem like its a lighter/happier story. Time will tell how the cover does this time around!

  2. The new cover is AMAZING! Please let us know how sales do now. I love reading about your adventures in epublishing, It's helping me a lot for when I break into publishing.

  3. I'm a guy. I think your new cover is going to sell like hot dogs at a minorleague ballpark. It's a winner.

  4. I love the new cover. I came across your blog post from a friend on Goodreads, and I just wanted to give my two cents.

    I loved to cover of my book and sales were okay. I decided, as you have, that it was time for a change and to see if changing covers would make a difference.

    They did.

    My sales near a bout tripled and as still going strong, if not stronger than when I changed it. My book is in a series so now I'm working on getting the rest changed/updated.

    I wish you the best of luck!

  5. Thanks guys, I'll keep you posted. No real info yet. But I'm hoping in the long run it'll help.

  6. I can't find it in B&N. I want it for my nook.


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