As promised, I’m going to talk about why I’m doing new covers for The Plus One Chronicles Series. If you want to skip all this, you can scroll down to the bottom and see the covers. Or you can read on to see my reasoning/explanation. Okay, for those of you still reading, I debated doing this for a long time. This is a risk, I’m investing a good chunk of money in the covers—I need five of them.
–A new cover for each book: The Proposition, Possession and Obsession.
–I need a new 3D cover for The Plus One Chronicles boxed set
–And because not all vendors take 3D I also need a flat cover.
And then I need to reformat the files with the new covers and do some promo. All told, once I’m done, I’m going to spend a thousand or more on this.
So why am I doing it? There are several reasons, so let me start with some background. Last year alone, at iBooks, I sold 103,000 copies of The Plus One Chronicles Series. That’s my biggest vendor, but I’m giving you an idea of what kind of sales I had at one vendor.
By the end of last year and into this year, it’s dropped dramatically (down to hundreds and tapering off) as is the natural course of things. It’s the law of diminishing returns. Let’s not get into a bunch of economics here, the basic premise is simple: Buying excitement and motivation is high in the beginning and sales track up, and if all things remain the same, sales then plateau and fall. (A simplified explanation for MY purposes).
So basically, with all things being the same, I’ve reached the audience I’m going to reach for the most part. Sure I’ll get a few more, but not a lot. But if I change things up, I’m hoping to reach a NEW audience for this series. This means rebranding the series to go outside the reach I currently have. And part of that reach is the covers.
Covers mean a LOT in sales. They are one of our strongest tools to catch reader’s eyes. Story blubs, tag lines, and other promotional tools are useful too. But covers, particularly in this social media world where readers are scrolling through life and we only have one to three seconds to catch their attention, covers are key. As the old adage goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. A cover will, I believe, stop a scrolling reader to take a second look.
And a second look can add up to more sales.
So I decided it was time for new covers to see if I can breathe new life into the series. So here are the things I was looking for with a new cover.
1) Branding. The old covers, I think, were beautiful but they were very different. The first one showed a dessert, the second one showed a sensual woman, and the third a couple. They lacked cohesion and didn’t quite tell the story of the series. One could easily believe it was three DIFFERENT stories, not one over-arching story told in three segments. The new covers show the same couple on each book. And shows the progression of their relationship: First they are looking at each other in The Proposition which shows the beginning. In Possession they’re turned toward each other, clearly growling closer, and in Obsession they are intimately together, clearly in love. This gives a stronger concept an emotionally erotic love story.
2) My name and bestseller status. I am an international bestseller, and my name has become my brand. I had to get over my resistance and put that on the very top of my covers like a smart businesswoman.
3) All the titles and cupcake emblems are in the same, creating a more uniform brand.
4) The older cover for Possession was in the “dungeon” at Amazon. What that means is that it was suppressed in the search engines with an adult only tag due to the cover. Amazon has tightened their cover restrictions. I’m hoping the newer covers will be okay, however I want to say that I’m not complaining. Amazon has the right to make their rules, and I can choose to use them as a vendor or not. I choose to use them, and if these covers get tagged, that’s life. A side note: I’ve been in long discussion with another vendor, and so far we have not agreed on terms. I’d never bad mouth that vendor either—they have the prefect right to set their terms. This is business, not personal.
5) Late this year (or possibly early next year if things don’t go as I hope) I want to launch a new series that will be very loosely tied to the Sloane’s world in The Plus One Chronicles. Freshening up the covers could possibly bring new interest. It keeps my name alive while I get new books ready to release. And having The Plus One Chronicles more clearly branded will separate it from the Shattered Illusions series, but my name and bestseller statues will connect the two. So if someone reads the new series the Jennifer Lyon, International Bestselling Author, and search for more books by me, they’ll find The Plus One Chronicles.
6) THE ONE THING I DON’T WANT TO DO—trick readers who’ve already bought the books into buying the new ones. The titles, release dates and blurbs will all be the same. I’m openly discussing this to get the word out and will probably put both covers labeled “original” and “new” on my website.
So to wrap it up, I basically felt that the covers I was using had gotten a little stale, and freshening up the series with new updated ones might breathe new life into the series and reach an untapped readership.
It’s a risk. I have no way of knowing if it will pay off, but that’s the beauty of self-publishing—I’m in control, and I can try new things as long as I determine that I can afford the risk if it doesn’t pay off.
I expect the new covers will go up in most places in a week or two. After a month or so I’ll report back with the best numbers I can to let you know how it’s working.
And now…here are the covers!
The Proposition, Possession and Obsession designed by Patricia Schmitt
The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set; 3-D version
The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set, flat version