Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Will Cover Artists Be a Thing of the Past or the Next Most Important Thing to the Success of Your eBook?

So, the eBook revolution has begun. And I believe it to be a true revolution this time. eBooks aren't going back into the closet after false starts. Indie publishing especially has been pushing and embracing this eBook euphoria. New and formally traditionally published authors are finding freedom and financial satisfaction in independently publishing their own Kindle books and selling on Amazon while keeping all the profits for themselves. Why split it with a publisher?

A disturbing trend I have found is that when I buy and download some of the Kindle books from major publishers, they have no cover image. I was shocked and surprised. I also found no cover image for an independently published books as well. Are many of you discovering the same thing? Fearing it could be my Kindle 1 being on the "fritz," I actually downloaded a sample from one of my own Brenda Strange Kindle eBooks, knowing full well I had uploaded a cover image myself. Sure enough, my cover image was including in my Kindle purchase of my book. Yet, there were no cover images in three of the Kindle books I had ordered from a prominent mystery paperback publisher.

If the new wave of Kindle eBooks are going be completely text.....the book as published but minus any cover graphic, will the importance of cover art be the next thing to get hit in the publishing industry? If publishers will no longer even supply a cover image for your eBook purchase, why bother getting a real, attention-getting cover? Just push the brilliance of the actual book.....the author's story.

Or, could an outstanding, completely eye-popping cover be the most important sales tool an eBook author is going to have? When your browsing is no longer the spine of a book at a brick and mortar store, but the Internet page on Amazon or iPad or other online bookseller, you will need to stand out from all the other books vying for your eye-candy appeal. Unless you already have a ready-made fan base or brand, new or developing authors will need to appear as professional and "ready to be read" and draw more attention than other authors vying for the same space. If you're looking for a new author and you've got a page of covers, which cover will you click on first, the one with a plain, one color and single graphic or the professional looking, custom created cover with multiple graphics and unique fonts?  Yes, of course, your story blurb will also need to sell your book, but the cover, in a sea of covers, will be the initial grab. Or will it?

As we move into a digital publishing world, we still don't don't know what impact the eBook will have in the long term look of publishing. Will it be merely a slight tremor instead of the full blown earthquake we are anticipating? If so, what will the publishing terrain look like after the dust settles? Will covers be a major selling point in the eBook world or something that takes a back seat to the meat and potatoes of book publishing, the written word? As both an author and a book cover artist, I am very intrigued by the possibilities.

Thoughts? Comments?


carl brookins said...

Covers should not be ignored. They help sell the book or story from the site. The main reason today covers aren't part of a download is the lack of color. Plus images take up a lot of space. Since books on ereaders don't enjoy display space on owners bookshelves, they aren't needed after the book is sold.

LM Preston said...

Covers are VERY important. Ebooks are here to stay. I say that as a recent convert who now perfers to purchase most of my books in ebook formats. When I shop for ebooks I look at the covers. If the cover looks cheesy I usually pass it over - unless, it has high reviews. So as an author and a consumer I say strive for the best possible cover you can get.

Beatrice Brusic - Writer said...

Ebooks have already changed the industry forever, and that's for the good, because before this tsunamy hit them (and it is a tsunamy) many good books ended up in the slush pile just because an editor didn't think they would sell. Now everyone has a chance and the readers have the last word. We have to work hard at promotion but I'm a firm believer that if a book is good, it will have its day in the sun sooner or later. Covers are somewhat important but not always, it's the content of the book that's crucial because I've seen many covers that were great and the books were awful, so as the old cliche goes, "don't judge a book by its cover."