Friday, 30 October 2015

Apologies - a quick cover poll?

I'm apologising for two reasons - that this topic is a bit of a stretch for a blog which is meant to provide general info about self-publishing (maybe this article demonstrates that you might need to run more than one poll for your readers, but that's a pretty weak argument!), and secondly because it's become clear even to me-the-optimist, that there's no way I can meet my self-imposed deadline of having the new and polished version of my book ready by the end of October (tomorrow).

Just as a little update on that, Dave (my editor) got back to me with a very thoughtful and thorough critique of the revised/new novel (half of it was revised; half was entirely new). But despite having been working on the revision now for eight days, I'm still only one third of the way through the changes required.

So I have to reset my deadline. I'll be aggressive and reset it for mid November: a touch over two weeks from now...

So the main topic of this post is really to ask for people's opinions on the new cover design. New cover design? Well, yes...

Having quizzed about 50 people, voting was about 66% for the version of the cover with the dog, 33% for the cover without. And that was including several of the people who voted against the with-dog version just because the dog was too vicious. Since Faith (the character in the story) is not that mean (though easily that dangerous!), I started wondering about maybe finding another dog...

Another point I found intriguing was that everyone who preferred the version without the dog, did so for the same reason that all the others liked it! Namely, because the dog added more detail, more things to look at; more interest. But the people who preferred it without the dog all felt the extra details made the design too busy and cluttered.

Because I had improved the blurb too, thanks to more feedback, and also felt more-feminine hand/claws would would be a good thing. And maybe a more translucent "monster"...

Anyway, I commissioned Mirella to do a new version incorporating all these changes. But I thought it wise to run another poll. Note that I'm only running this poll for one week, since I need to make a decision for Mirella (I can't leave her dangling), and so I'm hoping people can vote soon!

Here they are, together, just the front cover parts. The options are: (a) With fierce dog, dark & fiery monster, (b) Serene dog & translucent monster, (c) No dog, dark & fiery monster, or (d) do you like them all roughly equally? Or do you prefer the new option (e): serene dog with glowing eye? To avoid interfering with the votes already taken, I've added a separate mini-poll and placed it below the other.


Which cover design?

(I can't get this to work in-situ inside the article, so I've bodged it up by placing it over to the right on the main blog. It appears that Blogger has changed the way the poll tool works, and I'm no HTML guru... Below, is my dodgy attempt to embed it in the post: it won't work, but the "sorry, failed..." page does show the poll(s), so you could just zoom up the poll to a decent size and vote that way. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Poll: cover design (v2)
a) With fierce dog, dark & fiery monster (top)
  4 (44%)
b) Serene dog & translucent monster, (bottom, left)
  3 (33%)
c) No dog, dark & fiery monster (bottom, right)
  1 (11%)
d) Like them all about equally
  1 (11%)

Change your vote
Votes so far: 9
Days left to vote: 2
Or do you prefer serene-with-glow? (v4)
Yes, serene-with-glow is best (bottom)
  0 (0%)
No, I like an option from (v2)
  0 (0%)

Change your vote
Votes so far: 0
Days left to vote: 2


Hannah Heath said...

All gorgeous covers! I'm going with A. I like the fiery monster better than the translucent, though I think they're all fairly equal. =)

Luke Kendall said...

Thanks, Hannah. I just got an update from Mirella, with glowing eyes added for the nicer dog. For people who'd like to change their vote to that, I added a fresh mini-poll below the 4-choice poll which seven people have already voted in. (Thanks!)

Barbara Strickland said...

There is something in A that captures you. I know they seem basically all the same but I didn't find that at all with the first one, it's stronger, more striking. I hope that makes sense. Good luck with it all. I can't wait for the result to come out. I am still struggling with my synopsis. Work is very demanding and taken me off track a little and everyone has a different idea of what it should be like . Hoping to finally have gotten it right.
Once again all the best. This is exciting. Barb

RobbyandNikos said...

It really depends on what the dog means... In the first, I associate the dog with the scary dude in the background. In the second, the dog is allied with the girl. The fiery dude vs not fiery says something to me about their influence on the story. Fiery is more important. They're all good, only you can decide on the cover, I'd go with whichever has the most relation to the story (for you).

Luke Kendall said...

It does make sense, and I think it's true: it is more striking.
I'm no expert at writing synopses - it's definitely an art. You might like the book "The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit" by Elizabeth Lyon: it has about 50 pages on the Synopsis, and what's especially useful is that she includes quite a few examples of good synopses. Ditto for the query letter. I think it was that book which made me realise there was a whole new writing art I needed to master. And obviously I didn't, since I ended up opting for the self-publishing route in the end. :-)
Good luck with yours: I think all you can do is the best you know how, and keep an open mind and keep learning.

Luke Kendall said...

Thanks heaps, Nikos, and Robby. That's actually really helpful. The dog is dangerous, but not vicious; the dog is the main character's best friend; and in the story the monster is invisible (tricky to draw!). So thematically, the new cover much better fits the story.
The dog was placed behind the monster because otherwise it suggested the main character transformed into the dog (suggested she was a werewolf); but by placing it behind the monster, it does then suggest the dog and the monster are associated, which is wrong. So the translucence helps break that false association, too.
Ah, decisions, decisions...! :-)

Barbara Strickland said...

Am getting that book but crazy or not I have sent everything off. One of the biggest problems I faced was the guidelines the publisher had in place. They were a little different to everything I was reading.
I haven't ruled out self-publishing but honestly it scares me and confuses me the more I read. I will just hang in there and see what happens. In the meantime my partners in crime and I are working on an anthology and that will be self-published. If only working didn't get in the way of my writing.
Let me know when book is out,

Luke Kendall said...

I don't think you're crazy in sending it off. At the Book Expo, a comment from all three published authors surprised me slightly: that they send off multiple submissions (carefully targeted, of course); one author even said she used a spreadsheet to track who replied, how quickly, whether they were helpful, etc.
As far as being scared by self-publishing - that too doesn't strike me as unreasonable. I'm still learning a lot, and I've been doing nothing but learn about S-P and writing/revising my book since E/March this year. I'm thinking I will probably tidy up my blog into an almost-free epub book when I've learned enough. Not really to make money, just to make it more digestible/convenient. I'll leave the blog up and free of course. The only reason to charge ($1? $2?) for the ebook is so people won't subconsciously assume it's worthless. :-) It should save people from making some of the mistakes I've made along the way. (Like deciding I should use the name L. J. Kendall instead of Luke J. Kendall after you've completed all the ASA, Copyright Council, CiP, ABN etc. stuff.)
And of course I'll let you know when the book is out! :-) Fingers crossed, about 2-3 weeks from now.

Barbara Strickland said...

Your idea about the blog is something the girls and I are also considering. I went to a workshop that discussed follow-up products (sounds funny I know) and I was most impressed with the reasoning behind it, and it's not just the ebook side of it. Would love to discuss further when your book is out and you have more time. Fingers are crossed,

Luke Kendall said...

Sounds sensible and wise to me, not funny. I'd also love to discuss it further with you, and I appreciate the idea of waiting till my book is out, because I really do feel under pressure to meet my revised (still tough) deadline!

Phillip Edwards said...

You mentioned the dog is not vicious, so I like the serene versionof the dog. I reckon the emphasis should be totally on the girl with a background approach on the dog ie serene dog.