Judging My Books By Their Covers

I admit it — the cover images for my ebooks are home-made and look it. Now that I’m approaching the end of a long process of working through my “trilogy in four volumes” with the help of my critique group, I’ve decided it’s time to plan an overhaul of the way I present my books to the world.

The first thing I will do is commission professionally designed cover images. Even if they don’t result in increased sales, they will honour my works with vivid, fully-realized visual representations. Because I’ve spent almost nothing on self-publishing so far, I am prepared to invest a non-trivial amount of money. I know I can write and even (gasp!) edit, but have neither the talent nor the tools for good cover design.

The next thing will be to completely rewrite my book descriptions. Smashwords allows for both brief (400 character) and long (4,000 character) descriptions. If long descriptions are present, they are what gets distributed to retailers such as Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc. Reasoning that short is better than long, I went with brief descriptions only, but really, it’s hard to do much with 400 characters. I don’t intend to use the full 4,000, however. I don’t like long book descriptions myself, and doubt that anyone else has time for them either. If covers get 2 seconds of a prospective reader’s attention, descriptions probably get no more than 5 seconds, so there’s no point in droning on and on.

Once all this is in place, I will add to the end of each book (except the final one, of course) the first few pages of the next book. I thought it was enough to include a link to the next book’s Smashwords page, but there’s nothing like keeping the reader’s attention when you already have it.

Then I will do a re-launch of the entire series, or trilogy if that’s what it will be after all the reworking. Maybe I’ll end up calling it a Quartet or Tetralogy (horrible, spiky word!). No doubt I’ll spend time agonizing over this issue for the next few months.

I’m getting excited about all this, and spent a long time yesterday looking at vast numbers of cover designs submitted to the Book Designer website for their Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards. This is a great site for self-publishers, by the way — lots of useful information.

The sad part of all this is that the possibility of doing any new writing is becoming less likely by the minute. The Work has called the shots ever since I began writing, however. I just do what it tells me.


  1. Having read and loved The Friendship of Mortals, I’m loving this idea of a re-packaging! I freely admit that I very much judge books by their cover, so I think it’s a fantastic idea to grab some new, professionally designed covers and relaunch the series. I’m pretty sure the first book is currently free to download — will you be sticking with that plan, or charging for it when you relaunch?


    1. Actually, I am thinking I will attach a price to that book after the re-launch. Not sure how much at this point, but it will be a value-added product then so it seems appropriate to do that.


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