Web serial to ebook: mistakes I made so you don't have to!

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  1. leoduhvinci (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Thanks Chrys! Also, thanks Blaise, and I like yours as well!

    View more from author Leonard Petracci,including fantasy and fiction stories, at https://leonardpetracci.com
  2. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Personally, I think those "great cover" examples look awful. I wouldn't pull them off a shelf to read the back if it was a physical book in a store. So generic and dishwater dull, I don't think I'd even notice them on a shelf. But, you can't argue with the results.

    In a podcast I heard recently from a YouTuber, the guy talks about how the most successful YouTube videos by several orders of magnitude are those that use a thumbnail with a close-up of an easily identifiable and expressive human face. It seems this is a similar case where a bold, striking character design staring down the reader in a confident pose is what draws most people's attention, and hence why it dominates so many book covers. (Seriously, for a while there, "girl in low-cut-jeans with her ass facing the viewer, holding a medieval weapon, and looking back over her shoulder at the reader with a smirk" was basically it's own genre of cover art.) The image in both cases forms an instant human connection. Makes sense.

    Then again, plenty of books also get away with using a very simple symbol, or an object-on-black-background, or similar, but perhaps Twilight and Hunger Games are outliers. Being too poor to pay an artist or photographer for good images, I usually default to clipping together sexy female silhouettes against bold color backgrounds, or running a public domain image through a photoshop filter. Then again, I'm not expecting my audience to grow very much, given my subject matter, so while I am trying to make some money, I'm not going to mass-audience appeal.

  3. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Famous authors get away with anything. Stephen King could print his name on a dull yellow background and the book would sell like hotcakes. Hell, there's another author also named 'Stephen King' on Amazon whose books sell like hotcakes, even though they get horrible reviews, the covers are bad and people warn others in comments that this is not the 'real' Stephen King.

    Publishing houses know this, which is why you often see 'famous author' covers that focus on typography, with the author name in big bold letters and no image at all.

    Web fiction authors with huge followings can benefit from a similar effect. And sometimes, having a very descriptive title / series title (such as Mage Life) also compensates for a less flashy cover. But even then, the combination of great cover + title would probably do even better than the title alone.

    But if you're an unknown author with a small or no following, you can't afford to go with a cover that isn't genre appropriate at thumbnail size.

    If you're looking to make any money at all, it's worth investing in a cover (and a bit of marketing for that initial visibility push). But the 'look inside' and the blurb matter too. I've seen books with great covers sell 0 copies because the sample was so riddled with grammar issues that no one wanted to give it a try. This is less true for WFG authors, but there are people out there who upload their unedited very first writing attempt of 20 pages and wonder why it doesn't sell at 4.99$.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  4. JohnCalliganWrites (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Thanks for the write-up!


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