Farewell, Grisly Cover
Today is both a happy and sad day for me, or rather for my debut novel, “No Shelter from Darkness”. If ever there was a day to define the word “bittersweet”, this would be it.
In June of this year, I was delighted to inform the world that my debut novel was available to buy from all good online retailers. I was, and still am, very proud of the book and everything about it. One of those things was the cover, and I was convinced that the image used was such an accurate reflection of the tale within that people would take one look and want to know more.
This is, after all, what a cover should do.
The tale within, as those who have read the book will know, is a gritty, gothic vampire story set against the harsh reality of the Second World War. It does away with the supernatural and uses science to bring the vampires to life, making them realistically scary. It’s a kind of reinvention of the vampire, and it seems to be working. As of this time, no reviewer has given it less than 3 out of 5 stars, and the overwhelming majority of reviews give it the full 5 stars. People like it…if they read it.
The problem is, not many people read it.
Thanks to these reviews and people’s comments, a common denominator has been found. What I always thought was a great, honest cover appears to be the source of the problem.
One of today’s most common phrases and one we all should live by, is “don’t judge a book by its cover”. I sincerely hope that we all disregard this proverb ONLY when it comes to actual books. It cannot be ignored that despite our better judgement, we do take note of a book’s cover image. It does effect us. It has to, for if it didn’t we would have to buy every one of the millions of books available. The fact is there is so much available, we need a method to quickly whittle down what’s available to a few that will likely appeal.
The cover to my book is great. It’s atmospheric and it actually depicts a scene from the story, but the only people who know that are those who read it. To everyone else, they think they’re looking at a biography of a wartime detective (this has actually been said to me). That would be great if the book was in either “Biography” or “WWII”, but not so much if it’s in the “Awesome Vampire Fiction” section.
So, what is to be done?
Simple. You take another famous proverb and live by that, instead: “If at first you don’t succeed, make a new cover.”
Thankfully, I have an understanding publisher and a cover designer who’s up for another round. It’s sad because I felt really good about the original cover, but I am overjoyed to announce that a brand new (and better) cover will soon be available.
Stay tuned here and across my social media for the cover reveal and an awesome competition to launch the new edition.