by Melinda VanLone
Book marketing is a squiggly squirrelly snake. Just when you think you have a handle on it, things change. People change. Audiences change. What works for one marketplace doesn't work for another. It makes sense, then to re-think or add-to your book cover strategy from time to time. Traditional publishers know this trick, and indie authors should too.
It's a long-established marketing tactic to have a different cover for each market you're trying to target or country your book is published in. What works for the US doesn't exactly work as well in the UK, and vice versa. That's because societies in different countries expect different things, or are drawn to different things.
You don't have to look further than J. D. Robb/Nora Roberts for an example:
Another reason to put a different cover on a book is to target a new audience. For example, the first Harry Potter books aimed at a children's market with one set of covers, and adults with another.
Getting onto a bestseller list or (fingers crossed) having a TV series or movie based on your book always means a new cover, usually one featuring the actors in the book and/or that shiny "New York Times Bestseller" announcement.
It can also be a good marketing move to put a different cover on each format of the book: ebook vs paper vs hardback. Readers are often collectors. If they loved the book a portion of them will go on to buy all the versions of the book. For example, check out these Nora Roberts covers. Clearly the original wouldn't work for today's audience, even though the content is exactly the same. The third version is obviously targeting a different audience than the first two, allowing that same content to reach shiny new readers.
If your sales stagnate, a new cover targeting a slightly different audience is an excellent way to generate new excitement, especially if you have a cross-genre story. You might start out targeting the mystery/suspense market first, then switch to romantic suspense. The subtle change can make all the difference in finding fresh readers.
The bottom line is, your cover is not set in stone, whether you're indie or trad published. If you're indie, you have the flexibility of changing it whenever you want to target a new audience, to generate excitement, or simply to bring fresh interest to established content, so don't be afraid to experiment.
Have you ever thought about having different covers for your already published books? Let me know what you're thinking down in the comments!
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Melinda VanLone writes urban fantasy, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and furbabies.
When she's not playing with her imaginary friends, you can find Melinda playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or hovered over coffee in Starbucks.
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