When I embarked on the journey in self-publishing, I knew I had to do it on a shoestring budget. With no guarantee of return, I couldn’t afford to invest in an editor or a cover designer. Being stubborn as a mule, I decided to make my covers myself. Trial and error, I should embroider that on a pillow. Eventually I stumbled on a process that worked for me without having to struggle through the frustrating learning curve of new software. I use Word and then convert the end product to jpg. Having figured out “how,” now I needed to come up with “what.”
If you research information on erotica covers, you’ll be advised to “sexy them up.” This was hard for me. I prefer covers that are symbolic of the story, not literal representations. For example, the cover I wanted to use for Interview with The Mistress was a photo of a necklace with a heart charm; Mistress A. gives one to Vanessa in lieu of a collar. I buckled and this is the cover I settled on.
I’m okay with it; it fits the story. Here is the original cover I made for Viewer Discretion Advised (top) and the one I replaced it with.
Did I notice any difference in sales when I updated the covers? No A Facebook friend and fellow author conducted a survey in February, asking readers how they choose their reading material. Covers were far down on the list. I don’t choose what to read based on the cover but I realize that in my case, it’s due to my poor vision. I can’t see the thumbnail covers on my Kindle very well. If I search “erotica,” the results all look very similar. I know that’s not the case for most people, but still, I don’t want my books to look like everyone else’s, and I want them to be more closely tied to the story than good looking half-naked people.
The mythological phoenix plays a part in my next story to be published, Second Chances, and it IS going on the cover. My other option is an image of a slutty bride and I’m not going for the obvious this time. My only problem is I can’t decide which color. If you have an opinion, please, please comment. I could use the advice.
I do believe the cover art on print copies is more of a factor for potential buyers. When I still bought books in a physical bookstore, covers did catch my eye, but it was still my normal practice to gravitate toward my favorite authors first. If there was nothing new from them, I checked out what was else was in the genres I preferred. So until I’m convinced otherwise, I’ll choose attractive covers that make sense to me. There’s that mulishness again.
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