Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lessons on Book Covers and The Book Industry Part One

There once was an aspiring model. She studied the icons, such as Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. She dreamed of her face being everywhere and waited for the opportunity.

While she waited for her chance at fame, she took tons of selfies. She took so many selfies that she had pictures for days. Professional headshots? She didn't need one of those because they were all over her social media and in photo albums in her home. Finally one day a company needing a model for their brand new watch was scrolling through Instagram when she saw her photos. She was perfect for them. They called her in, took several photos of her wearing nothing but the watch, and then paid her.  She was excited because it was her first official chance at being a model and the company was excited because after putting together the ad for the watch, they would sell the photos to a stock photo company.

Actually I don't know the story of the model behind the photo. However, I knew that the perfect person to be on the cover of my own book was me. I also knew that deep in my heart it was a bad idea to listen to anyone else that was trying to change my creative vision without knowing my creative vision. I let someone talk me into changing the cover of my very first book, Woman Manifested: A Poetic Tale, anyway. They promised me that the cover was what was keeping the book from reaching a larger audience.

Numbers afterward determined that was a lie. Changing the cover did nothing for the sales. I still had to hustle the same as before to get the book in people's hands. I had to convince my friends how important it was to actually support me by purchasing and reading the book. Only a few did and it had nothing to do with a cover. I had to convince my family members to help me move a few books. Surprisingly a few people I've been associating with alone purchased, but again that had nothing to do with the cover. They purchased because they saw a brand new struggling entrepreneur taking a leap into a new world. The only people who actually loved the cover was the person the put the book's name on the photo, his girlfriend, and some random woman online that kept saying the girl in the photo was pretty. The random woman loved the cover, but not enough to buy the book.

Now that I have that rant out of the way, people's reactions were not why I changed my photo back to the original one with me in my club dress and a blue drink. I changed it back because 500 other people were using that same girl as the cover of their books too. Not one, not two, but somewhere around 500 people have been convinced that this beautiful brown skinned woman is the best possible person to put on the cover of their very uniquely written books. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little on the amount of times I've seen her face on someone's cover, but it's still way too many times.

Now when it was first discussed that I use the photo, I was told that it would be more appealing to people. Now I'm realizing it only appealed to other writers.

I guess you can say this post is a continuation of a re-introduction of myself. Hi, I'm an established online author. With a tedious work schedule that helps pay my bills, I've been branding my books on the world wide web. People ask for realness and that's what I give to them in my writing. I've learned in the last year that authors are paying for book covers that millions of other people are already using,  paying for reviews from people who don't even read the books they talk about, and paying for ads on websites that people don't even bother to click on. Oh, and after all of that they still struggle because writing is not one of the more highly appreciated arts in today's society.

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