Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Does changing a book cover grow sales?

About a week or so ago, my publisher, Mike O’Mary of Dream of Things, suggested we change the cover of the ebook edition of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. I suspect the main reason was that sales were falling off, and the book needed a little boost. However, in his explanation to me he said:

“I decided to recommend a cover using a photo of Paul. I picked the photo of him as a college freshman. It's a great photo of Paul, and I think a lot of potential readers will be hooked by the image of a handsome young man who looks happy and healthy. He looks like someone you'd want as your own son or brother or partner. They will identify with him before they even know what the book is about. 

I think all of that will be enough to get more people to read the description of the book -- and once they read the description, I believe they will want to read the book because they will be stunned that such a thing could happen to a person who could have been their own son or brother or partner.”

At first it was hard for me to let go of the original cover – especially since I’m so connected to the young woman who took the photograph. However, I liked Mike’s argument and gave him the go-ahead to make the change. He said it’s very easy to change an ebook cover, and true to his word, he put a new cover with Paul’s photo up on Amazon for the ebook within a few days. Here it is.


 As soon as it went up I shared it around my Facebook network and got some wonderful feedback:

“I like it. I think it adds a new dimension to the book putting Paul on the cover. The book is a tribute to him and the cover reinforces that.”

“IMO, this picture of Paul as a vibrant young man brings home the depth of your loss even more. it also pays tribute to him in a more direct way.”

“I love this. It is such a poignant photo of your son and really sets a mood for the book.”

“The other cover is generic. This one is very personal. It gets my vote!”

"Additionally, the B&W image poetically states the fine line that we walk when something like your story happens."

“This is a beautiful photo of Paul. I agree that this adds to the emotional impact. Bravo!”

I like this cover. The text makes it very clear as to what the
 reader will find in content and may relate to. The beautiful photo 
touches the heart and makes this memoir very real at first glance 
at the cover. May the book continue to find its home with many.”

“I love your new cover, Madeline - love it. xoxoxo” (This says it all.)

Since it looks like book sales have climbed a bit in the few days the new cover has been out, the question now is, should we change the cover on the paperback edition as well? Please let Mike and me know what you think.



9 comments:

Eleanor Vincent said...

Yes, I believe using Paul's photo on the paperback edition will have the same effect. For all the reasons noted in your post, it increases the reader's emotional connection to the story and to your loss.

ShirleyHS said...

I agree with Eleanor. The photo brings the reader into contact with your story before he or she opens the book. I love memoirs with photos on the cover, especially if they are arresting, as this one is.

I'm also interested to see if the new cover gives your sales a boost. Hope so!

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks so much, Eleanor and Shirley,

I appreciate your expertise, and I'll certainly keep you posted on how the new cover affects sales.

xo Madeline

healingbywriting.com said...

My vote for the paperback cover change is a yes too! The photo says so much about Paul and the text is a good visual of what's inside.

Sharon Lippincott said...

A so-far unstated reason is light. The original cover is DARK. Your story focuses on staying in the light, not letting yourself be pulled under. The new cover is full of life and light. Unless you have a barn full of unsold copies, I'd make the change!

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks for your input, Sherrey and Sharon. I agree. The new cover is so much about Paul and life and light - the points I try to make in the book.
I very much appreciate your thoughts. xo

Dody said...

The original cover is a poignant one; I just went to my book shelf and felt again the pull to open the cover and read. Paul's photo, too, pulls on my heart and mind. I can see myself at a bookstore being pulled to check out the book because of Paul's photo. Opening the book to peruse is key - the purchase is a done deal, in my opinion. :-)

Dody said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Madeline Sharples said...

Thank you, Dody. I too am pulled to the hall light photo on the original cover, though most comments so far prefer the new one.
We'll see how it goes.
xoxo, dear friend.