Sunday, November 18, 2012

What I Learned From Vince...

If you haven't read Vince Mooney's post on Cover Art and Advertising Headlines published on this blog, stop, go back and read it, then see why I've worked on several new covers.


People liked this cover, it was pretty. I LIKED it, but it was niggling at me that something was wrong.  And while it stood out on a page in a thumbnail when person queried my title, I'm not sure it stood out in the way I wanted.

Then I read a post on Seekerville where Vince said something that triggered an even stronger feeling that I was on the wrong track with my cover.  (something about it looking like wall art, not a cover...)

I was adamant, however, that I was going to make watercolors my brand.  So how to do all I needed to do?

Then I realized that I wanted, needed Vince to teach me about marketing and book covers.  I asked and VOILA, his  incredible post about cover art and marketing.
And as we were working on it, I'd already thought of a new cover.


Then his post was ready...we'd edited and cut and added and was time to publish.
And as I pushed the publish button, I realized the above art didn't quite do justice to the story. I think you understand from the art that Haley, the little girl is ripped from her mother. 
But it wasn't enough.
It didn't say Hawaii, which most my reviewers mentioned as being extremely well researched (I lived there) and my readers seemed to particularly enjoy those scenes.  (Market research, I asked them.)
The above covers didn't say pathos, loss and hope. And again, it didn't say Hawaii, although it could be inferred from the watercolor...but only AFTER you'd read the book.
So, I came up with another idea, worked on it with my cover artist and vetted it with Vince...who actually loved it.   

So, here it is. I'd love your comments and thoughts. 
Cover art is vital in marketing our stories.  It is the first image planted in your prospective customer's mind.  It should offer an image that relates to something in their life. It makes them want or NOT want to delve further and read the blurb (another subject for a blog) and then finally either read the first chapter, and then your writing is going to make them buy the book.
I'll let you know as time goes on, whether the cover makes a difference in my sales, etc.
NOW for another big reveal: my next book's cover, which Vince also loves.
This one is for Digital versions, because the pyramid stands out more for the thumbnail. As I posted this I realized it will need a thin border or shadow to help set it off from the page and I've already sent the email to my artist :)

And this one is for the Print on Demand because I love the way the pyramid is transparent and it will be gorgeous on the glossy cover.
Hope this visual lesson helped.
LA aka Leslie Ann


  1. Leslie, I love the change you made to the Dare To Believe cover! Yes, I loved the look of the first cover, but after you and Vince pointed it out, I realized the cover worked for me because I'd read the book.

    Stepping back, I can see how the original cover didn't say much more than just "pretty."

    Now I think you've nailed it : )

    I like the Stone of Heaven cover. It says "adventure," "Mayan ruins," and the characters in shadows say "covert."

    Did I "read" the cover right?

  2. Hi Audra,
    I'm glad you like the new cover. It feels weird to see it on Amazon! But I think it gives the reader a better sense and hopefully markets the book better.

    Stone of Heaven, you're pretty much dead on. Not so much covert as running from danger, you know those treasure hunters are always in trouble!!


  3. Your first cover was lovely, but it didn’t convey the message of the book. I like this one, the lonely woman in a gray world, looking out to sea, the only color on her side the pink bunny. Then the color pushed away, or separated.
    Having the silhouetted figures on both covers is a way to establish a look, or a brand for your books even though they aren’t a series. I like the orange and the background cover on Stone of Heaven, but the blue lettering, in my opinion , could be darker, more Prussian than cobalt.

  4. I'm doing the hula happy dance over the new cover, LA! YES!!!! That says the story!

    I also like the Stone of Heaven cover! You and your darling artist are rockin' it! Mega congrats - to you both!

    Nancy Haddock

  5. Hi LA:

    Great cover. I like the little palm tree at the bottom left. A nice touch. (I emailed a little technical comment.) It is a very emotional cover. “Stone of Heaven” is of the same type yet so very different. The colors just explode with action, mystery and danger. And it’s a look all your own. I really like the idea of using water colors. When will “Stone of Heaven” come out. I’ve been to ruins like the one on the picture. I’d love to go back and visit the sties again.

    Also: when I do a review of “Dare to Believe” – what cover should I use? Amazon will have the one they have but on my own website I can use anyone that is OK with you.

    Great job. I hope we get to comment on all your covers. This conversation with illustrations is very helpful.


  6. Hi Ellis,
    You're right, it was lovely, but it didn't tell the story, it didn't make any points, ask any questions of the viewer. This new cover asks questions that I hope the reader will want answers to and thus buy the book.

    I'm looking into the a deep blue to see what it looks like.

    Thanks for the suggestions and the comments.


  7. Nancy,
    Thank you! Love the hula dance :)

    I think this cover is much more the story!! And Stone of Heaven is spot on as well.

    My darling artist, Neringa is good, we make a good team for I'm just one of those pesky customers, I start with an idea, she runs with it, I pick it to death :) She's patient, oh so patient.

    I'm going to have her on as guest blogger and go through the steps she takes to create the covers.


  8. Vince, I'm glad you like the cover. It is emotional and asks questions.

    Stone of Heaven is slated to come out end of maybe a bit later, but you bet I'll make the announcment here.

    And for your review, use my new cover, pretty please.

    I did get your technical comment about the bunny and am not sure what can be done to fix it, but Neringa and I will look into it.


  9. To begin, Leslie Ann, I'm super impresssed that you had the intuition and energy to tackle a new cover for Dare to Believe. You learned well, under the tutelage of Vince Mooney, the influence of cover art on sales and applied it well to create some exemplary covers that neatly capture the essences of both Dare to Believe and Stone of Heaven. I'm confident your new covers will translate to success for you--you deserve it!


  10. Lisa,
    Hi! Nice to see you here.

    I"Intuition and energy"! Well, that is part of the fun and a huge part of the challenge of Indie publishing.

    Thanks for the compliment, we'll see if it makes a difference in sales.


  11. Leslie, I love the changes, too! I'm glad Vince's blog post was helpful.

    I really like the sense of loss you feel on the new cover. Nice work! (and nice work of the artist!)

  12. Missy,
    I'm so sorry, somehow your comment got sent to "moderation" and I've never seen that happen.

    So it's way late in being posted.

    Thanks for your support. I like the cover too, and Vince's blog....WOW.