Yesterday I managed, finally, to publish Doctor How and the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy on Kindle. This is the first of two promotional short stories in advance of the publication of the first book in the five-volume Doctor How series, Doctor How: Who are the Illegal Aliens? due out on March 13th. It doesn’t matter how many times you publish something, it’s a finnicky business. The cover image is just one of the elements that never goes right first time. Up to 50% of the sales of a book are dependent on its cover, so it’s a critical element.
The image on the left is the initial draft. (When I say, ‘initial draft’, it’s the product of days of image research, throwing ideas around, playing with layouts and testing them on readers.)
Great idea, but a few things don’t work.
First, the publisher’s logo isn’t needed (even though it’s a great publisher it means nothing to readers). The title already has the word Kennedy in it, and we have an iconic picture of the man himself, so we don’t need the JFK on the gravestone. Getting rid of the JFK allows the font size of the dates to be increased. The chalk scoring-out and the 7 have also been increased proportionately. This is important because this image will be viewed as a thumbnail on Amazon, and it’s the crossing out of the 3 and its replacement with a 7 that conveys the idea of the story, and piques the reader’s interest. It’s now more obvious to the casual viewer in a smaller image.
The gold of the gravestone lettering has been lost behind the embossing effect, so the opacity of the embossing layer was decreased to 30% to make the characters stand out better from the granite.
Last of all, the author’s name has been put in bold. Not an ego thing: just straightforward marketing; the author is a brand as much as Doctor How is.
And then there’s the content. This morning I uploaded the story for the third time. I wasn’t happy with the blurb or the keyword tags the first time. Then I decided to move the title and the title verso page content to the back so that the reader can get straight into the story. It also allows people to read more of it for free using the ‘Look inside’ feature, and I’m fairly confident that the more they read of the story the likelier they will be to buy it.
The modern writer’s life is not about writing: it’s about content management, packaging, keyword tags and meta data. I’ve not even begun the marketing.
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Doctor How and the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy forms part of book two, and will only be available for a limited time.