My Rae Wilder series is undergoing a makeover. Inside (re-edited and a few minor story adjustments), and outside (new covers and titles).
For revision I'm working with Kim over at Another View Editing who is frustratingly good at pointing out my mistakes :)
The digital art was done by Renu Sharma who was a joy to work with. It was the first time I had comissioned art work, and I was pleased by how smooth and painless the process was from start to finish
The first Rae Wilder cover seemed to strike a cord and held me in good stead. I'm fond of it, but it's always good to keep things fresh.
I've had grumbles about the change of covers (some quite poetic and fervent). A title change is a substantial risk to take since a significant body of people have already bought the books, but that is the beauty of eBooks. iBooks, Nook and Kindle readers (if the right settings are switched on) will update automatically. I don't really have to worry about people double buying, because it's not possible on those platforms (unless you delete the title).
The branding is stronger on this second set. The changes were not done on a whim, as I explain later on in this post.
Demon Girl is now Glamour. Demon Day is now Compel. Demon Dark is now Enchant. Demon boy will now be called Summon. You can read the blurb for book four (I am aiming for a late summer 2012 release) HERE.
For fellow authors who might be considering large scale revisions like this, the cost is coming to just over £2300 (roughly 3600 USD). This was profit reinvested from previous sales. It has taken over five months to complete (I'm working on other projects – with focus it would have taken about a two months). There were several aspects which influenced my decision;
My current average readership is off what I expected and aimed for when reviewing the data available to me (data from social media). Older than expected by 6-10 years. Not a bad thing (a significant number of adults read YA fiction), but it means I'm not quite striking the cord I want with the younger end of the YA scale (13-22 year olds).
The other covers were not easy to connect at a glance when separated by other titles in recommendations, and when generally browsing in any of the eStores.
I needed them cleaner and more relevant to the overall themes in the books.
I wanted to capture the different kinds of supernaturals in the series, as they progressively become more prominent.
Don't judge a book by it's cover is a good saying. It has become a saying for a reason. Most people do exactly what it advises against. That two second look at a cover can tell a reader your genre, readership, even your writing style at times. The genre of my books needed to be clearer: YA Paranormal/Fantasy Romance.
An eBook's shelf life is infinite. People can become desensitized to your cover – their eyes glancing over it because either; a) they've seen it so much they think they've read it; b) they have already crossed the book of their list of possibilities becasue the cover is not appealing to them. Backlist eBook covers will need changing every 2 - 3 years or so for new generations who have new tastes.
Cross Continental Appeal
My books tracked well on a European level (because I am European), and did okay internationally (US, AU & CA in particular), but they could be doing better. I had to find somewhere in the middle of these tastes (which is why I enjoyed working with Renu, she picked up on my preferred style quickly, and added a twist that could comfortably cross the North Atlantic and Pacific without losing any of the triggers). My books remain BrE (if another American tells me Glamour is spelt wrong I am going to scream).
Initial Results (no doubt I'll write this and things will change).
My books weren't suffering, but in the Nook store I've already seen a small jump from averaging in the 2000's to the 1000 -1500's. Amazon US, I was averaging in 10,000's, but now in the 7,000's. In UK, I was averaging 4,000's, but now 3,000's). There has been a measurable uptick in sales in the stores that have updated with the new artwork, considering books 1 to 3 are 17, 11 and 6 months old respectively, this is positive. iTunes has not updated yet. Sony, WH Smiths, Diesel and Kobo have all part updated.
My worry was they would all plummet into the abyss (might still happen), but so far so good. The primary future complication is the promotion of book four. It has been shown under the old branding. However, the series name Rae Wilder is what people seem to search for (example; rae wilder book three) or just an author search solves that problem (and the "more books by" details in the backs of Nook's, Kindles, iBooks, etc).
So you see, not a decision made on a whim. It was expensive and time consuming, and I'll probably have to revise the cover art in a few years, though the names will stay the same.