One of the big mistakes I made with The Secret Dead was not doing a proper cover test before I published, even though I had four (that’s right, four) pre-made covers to choose from. I bought the first three because I liked them, but it wasn’t until the fourth that I found one I loved.
These were my four options:
The first I bought because I needed something for Wattpad. I liked it, but it didn’t really shout fantasy.
Same for the second. I really liked the third, but wasn’t sure it fitted the book. Finally, I came across the fourth which I loved although I had a few reservations about it looking a little too simple
Cover testing consisted of asking people from my writer’s group what they thought and going with the majority opinion. No one liked my favourite, but almost everyone liked 1. and 3. I went with 3 because I liked it best out the two.
Bad move. I’m not sure why I did a proper cover test after I published. I’m sure I had a reason, even if it wasn’t a good one.
For those interested, I did the cover test via a Facebook advert. This is a quick, cheap, and painless way to find out just how much attention each cover gets. Facebook’s Advert Manager allows you to upload up to six images. You have a number of options regards pricing, and aims. I set a limit of $30 and an aim of click-throughs to a website (i.e. my book’s page on Amazon). All you need to do then is sit back and measure how many clicks each cover gets.
(For the record, I picked this tip up via another author who wrote a blogpost about it. For the life of me I can’t remember who it was. I’ll have a rummage around and see if I can find who deserves credit and update if I find it)
My post-publishing cover test told me I picked the wrong cover. I don’t remember offhand what each cover got, but I do know that the skull-and-crossbones got three times as many clicks as the others. Just shows – sometimes you should go with your instincts.
Once again, the time has come to consider covers. The next in the Vivia Brisk series is going to be released later this year. (Launch date will depend on how long it takes to go through editing.) The plan was to launch a new Secret Dead cover along with Book 2 (which really needs an official title). The TSD cover has been rejigged a bit, and versions are currently wandering over Facebook in search of clicks.
So far, this one is in the lead by a factor of 2.3 but the race is not yet done.
Watch this space! As soon as the mighty web has spoken, I’ll let everyone in on the verdict.