I remember the day the display disappeared from my bookshelf.
For two years a paperback copy of my first novel had been sitting on a wire book easel, greeting visitors to my office.
This was my literary baby. It had been a source of quiet pride and contentment for so long.
But by the time that day arrived, this little exhibit had turned into a constant reminder of my apparent failure.
If you’re a fiction writer, you and I might have different definitions for how we measure success. These range from simply selling a steady trickle of books to becoming a big-name author.
I’ve never met anyone, though, who feels fulfilled by occasional spikes in sales followed by long periods of “Sell One Every Now & Then Syndrome.”
Unfortunately, this is the all-too-common reality for thousands of novelists in today’s highly crowded book market.
It’s also precisely what I went through with my first novel. As someone who’s been there, I can assure you...
I believe virtually all authors understand that book covers are incredibly important. They’re the first aspect of your book that any potential purchaser looks at. If the cover doesn’t do its job, it’s also likely to be the LAST thing many shoppers will see before they move on to investigate another book.
I understood this when I was working on my first novel, so I took steps to create what I hoped would be a strong cover.
The first thing I did was arrange to work with a professional graphic illustrator. We chatted about a number of ideas and settled on depicting one of the most dramatic moments in the novel. In that scene, a young man is tied to a chair and roughly interrogated to get him to reveal information he doesn’t possess.
I thought it might be fun and effective to give the book a look and feel similar to an old-style pulp fiction novel.
We also investigated colors and fonts appropriate for the cover of an action-filled thriller.
I was pleased with the...