Guys, I’ve been working at relaunching my 1920s novella for over one year!
I’ve always known the cover is a very important part of a book. That’s why I didn’t want to make my own cover back in 2016 when I published the story that was then title Give in to the Feeling. I asked a friend who had build a little side hustle on making covers for fantasy authors and she was enthusiastic of the idea, but in the end, I realised I wasn’t getting what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, the cover was nice (everybody said so), but I was dissatisfied because it was lacking (in my opinion) two very important elements: it wasn’t clear that it was a historical novella and it wasn’t clear that it was fantasy.
Still, in the end I went with it, because I had paid for it and honestly I thought, well, maybe it isn’t the best cover I could get, but it will do.
The things experience teaches you! Don’t ever content yourself with what you’re getting, especially if you know that is not what you really want. It will cost you a lot more in the end.
It did take me a while, but eventually I realised the cover not only wasn’t doing a good job of selling my book, but it was even harming it… which is something I had never expected.
I started noticing that my novella was never listed alongside other fantasy novels on online book store, never mind other dieselpunk or even steampunk stories. Instead, it was often listed alongside romances and more often than not erotica… which my story really isn’t. And the thing worried me because it meant that readers who might want to read my story would never see it, and readers who saw it were unlikely to want to read it.
The final nudge came from Kobo. No matter how carefully I chose and listed my categories manually, Kobo would always list my story under romance. I tried everything, including taking out the romance category altogether, but the story still ended up under ‘romance’, which suggested me that the image on the cover and possibly the title played a larger part on the listing than my manual category entries did.
That’s when I decided I needed to change both cover and title.
At that moment something I didn’t expect happened.
A friend and fellow fantasy writer, Crispian Thurlborn, who was building his graphic designer’s portfolio, contacted me to ask if I might be interested in a book trailer. I’ve always been fascinated with book trailers, and I knew Crispian’s graphic work from the covers he created for his own books. So I said yes.
I worked with him at the trailer in the same moment I was trying to work at the cover with the cover designer from work, who was finding quite difficult to follow up because he’s not familiar with fantasy covers. When Crispian saw things were going on for a long time, he asked if everything was fine with the cover (besides he needed it for the trailer) and when I told him about the difficulties I was encountering, he offered to make also the cover for me.
What can I say? I LOVE the result! What say you?GHOSTS THROUGH THE CRAKCS by Sarah Zama – a 1920s novella – Even in sparkling Jazz Age Chicago, spirits can trick you into believing they’re men #novella #historicalfiction #fantasy #ghoststory Click To Tweet
Honestly, I loved working with Crispian. He is full of ideas, he knows the market and books (especially fantasy, since that’s his genre too) and is willing to brainstorm ideas and solutions. He has a great familiarity with images (he’s a photographer too) and is very skilful in manipulating them. We talked about the possible problems, the possible solutions, the possible use of both cover and trailer.
Honestly, if you need a cover or any kind of graphic work, give him a thought!
And so, today my story gets a new cover, a new title and a hopefully a new life.
As part of the novella’s launch, I’m organising a scavenger hunt that will involve many other authors of stories set in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, with a chance for a lucky reader to win one ebook from each of us. I have a lineup of 12 authors at the moment.
If you are unsure what a scavenger hunt is, head right here and be ready to play next Sunday, 17 March!
You will also have a chance to get my book at just 0.99 on all stores for a week, starting tomorrow until Tuesday 19 March. Hope you’ll give it a chance. And if you do, I’d love to hear what you think of it.
Here’s what other readers thought!
The book is not currently on Amazon but is available for Kindle in my shop