How a Professional Book Cover Super-Charged My Marketing

The old cover for Journaling to Become a Better Writer

The old cover for Journaling to Become a Better Writer

When I released Journaling to Become a Better Writer: Seven Keys to More Authentic Fiction last December, I published it with a cover Carrie and I designed. It was pretty decent for a book cover – maybe even a step better than a lot of indie book covers.

But it felt like it was lacking somehow. I ran a poll at the 10 Minute Novelists Facebook group, and the general consensus confirmed what I was thinking: It was okay, but lacking something that could make it truly distinctive.

The book has been available all this time, and sales have been poor – just a handful a month. I knew it was because I wasn’t marketing it. At all. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything with it. People really do judge a book by its cover, and I knew that my cover wasn’t attractive enough to draw people in. So why bother?

Finally, this summer, I chose 99Designs as my venue for professional cover art. It was going to cost me $299, which is on the affordable end for custom cover art. (Carrie wrote an excellent blog post about pre-made cover art, in case custom is outside your budget.)

No sooner was the new cover on, and the book re-launched, than I suddenly got the irresistible itch to market the **** out of it.

The new cover for Journaling to Become a Better Writer

The new cover for Journaling to Become a Better Writer

From the Rocking Self Publishing podcast, I’d learned about a service called Ebook Booster which will submit your book to a number of book promotion sites for the totally-affordable cost of $25. (For books discounted to $0.99. If your book is priced free, you can submit to 45 sites or more for $35.) As soon as my book – with its shiney new cover – was up in the Kindle store, I filled out the Ebook Booster form and submitted. The ad is running as I write this. I’ll be sure to report later on the results!

2015-06-22 Cat on Keyboard

“Hello. Read my book.”

I also drafted an email inviting bloggers to read and review the book. There are tons and tons of writing blogs out there, many with very large and loyal followings. If I could get even a few to read and review, it could really help sales. I’ve only just begun to send out the invitations, but I’ve already got some positive responses! I have an up-coming post about how to draft such an invite. Stay tuned!

I have more plans for promoting the book, too. (Facebook ads are staring me in the eye right now.) But the question is, could I have taken these marketing steps with the old book cover?

Absolutely. And I probably should have. But I was zero motivated to do so because I was not proud of my book cover. With the new cover? I can’t wait to show it off to people and ask them to read!

2015-03-16 Bottle (2)I think the root question is this: What is holding you back from promoting your book? What can you do about it? Do you question the quality of some aspect of your product, like I did? Can you upgrade now? Will upgrading cost you money you don’t have? Would you be better off promoting nevertheless? Or can you put together the funds to create a better book?

Maybe your book is excellent, just the way it is. So what’s holding you back? Fear of failure and rejection? If these are the only reasons you’re not promoting your book, I have one tip for you: JUST DO IT. Find the easiest method you can think of to market your book – the one method that most appeals to you – and give it a try. Success will fuel your desire to market your book even more!

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