New year, new book cover. The cover is the most important tool an author has to sell a book. We’ve all heard the dangers of judging a book by its cover, but it’s amazing how many people do. And why not, anyway? A cover is a split second glimpse into what a story is about. It either captures the nuance of the story (and announces the genre and sets the tone), or it doesn’t. It’s that important.
When I first released The River and the Ravages, I thought I’d have a crack at the cover…for a range of reasons (money, schedule, creative impulse…). I had lots of fun working on it, and that was a good reason at the time too. Six months later, embroiled in the complexities of the publishing world, I knew I had to leave the cover in the hands of professionals. So with some spare funds and a new sense of enlightenment on all things book marketing, I approached Damonza requesting to have a new cover designed for The River and the Ravages.
And what a fascinating process it was! Some of the things we discussed (and why) were:
- Genre has to be addressed in the cover. But the cover also ideally has to go beyond genre. The new cover for The River and the Ravages is a blend of something a little bit fantasy with something a little bit not. Hopefully enough to attract readers of fantasy with a female main character, but at the same time not repelling other potential readers.
- The importance of colour and font. In other words…branding. Creating a mood, capturing nuance. You get the picture…
- If the book is part of a trilogy (as is the case with The River and the Ravages), it is essential that the cover of Book 1 is part of a theme that can be adapted and modified, and carried over to books 2 & 3.
- Somehow the cover needs to promise the reader the main character’s journey is one worth reading about. The style and content of the cover has to reflect the style and content of the book, and the author herself. No easy feat. One image. That’s all you get. The style and content has to be familiar enough so the reader thinks, ‘I’ve read stuff like this before and I quite like it’, but is just a bit more dazzled by the uniqueness of your cover so they think, ‘But this one looks so good I’m going to read it before the fifty other books on my to-read list’.
I’m sure you’re appreciating now what a tricky business this book cover business is.
When I first saw the cover as a draft I was simply blown away. It WAS The River and the Ravages. It captured it all and more, brought it to life. Aaliya (the main character) looks exactly as I envisaged her, the title font is stunning, and the light near the centre of the cover draws you in.
On a final note, from author to reader, I want to say I couldn’t be prouder of the new cover for The River and the Ravages. I think Damonza did a stellar job. I hope you love it as much as I do.
J M Lawler
Six months since the launch of The River and the Ravages and I’m starting to get some of those blessed things called reviews. Yes, we authors love ‘em, crave ‘em, scan the internet like crazed narcissists seeking them out and positively feel like bathing a kind and cheery reviewer in hand crushed rose petals when we come across one.
Possibly something most of you readers don’t know is that we writers are strange people. Yes, this might come as quite a shock but we’re a bunch of people whose crippling self doubt is often just slightly outweighed by our monumental fear of failure. We spend way too much time sitting on our own, fingers poised at the keyboard, our brow furrowing and twitching as images are formed in our mind, but never quite sure if what we’re writing is going to be actually liked by anyone. So when we come across someone who has enjoyed our book and has left us a good review (well…any review) we literally do cartwheels. Joy! Joy! Happiness! Joy!
But indeed it stands to reason, different people like different things. Of course, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Thankfully, so far anyway, I’ve had pretty darn wonderful reviews for The River and the Ravages, such as this one on Amazon:
“A brilliant mix of intrigue, lust, love, danger and suspicion.”
And what about what this Goodreads reader had to say:
“Each page took me completely to Aaliya’s world, and for 48 hours I lived with her. Don’t you just love it when a book does that! Hot and steamy, tender and thoughtful. Can’t wait to read more.”
Yes I do love that! Let’s not forget Nina’s review on Goodreads:
“Fifty Shades of Grey pales in comparison.”
Oh my! A Fifty Shades comparison. Now we’re talking!!
But probably my favourite feedback was from a menopausal colleague of mine who just finished reading my book and told me “It got the waters going. Didn’t think that was possible…” Not what you thought the book would be like? Only one way to find out. Buy The River and the Ravages. I’m broke too. It’s dirt cheap on Amazon at the moment (only 75c for Kindle, and $13.99 for print). Give it a go. Then you can be the judge.
I’m approaching six months since the launch of The River and the Ravages and it’s been an unbelievably wonderful journey. The Goodreads community is a mighty impressive one. It’s a space I always look forward to visiting each day. People who love books have always known it – we’ve got something special in our lives. That ability to be transported to another time and place, experience emotions – pain, hope, love, joy, grief, ecstasy, the whole shebang – through different people in the comfort of our chair is something deeply wonderful.
The next six months look set to go to a whole new level. One of the main things that has got me super excited at the moment is the development of a stunning new cover for The River and the Ravages. The new edition will be launched in January 2018 so watch this space.
For those of you who love audiobooks, an audiobook version of The River and the Ravages is busily in production. Narrator extraordinaire Kate Littrell has been working like a champion transforming the story into a wonderful audiobook. This is another sweet treat to expect early 2018.
And finally, but probably most importantly, the follow-up to The River and the Ravages (only known as book two at this stage) is charging along. The story of Aaliya enters a whole new, unexpected realm. My mind is running a hundred miles an hour, hands struggling to keep up getting her story down. An option to pre-order book two will be launched soon, so again, watch this space.
It can be such an incredibly busy time of year for so many of us. I can’t ease your Christmas chaos, but I will provide a little reminder to make sure to build some joy into your day everyday. Experience nature. Hug loved ones. Dance naked. Sing loudly. And of course, curl up in a comfy spot with a great book. Have a wonderful rest of the year, and best wishes for a fabulous Christmas.