Do book covers sell books? Not since “Does size matter?” has there been a question asked more frequently – at least by authors. This comes from action/adventure author D.R. Shoultz. He is guest posting today.
Following a long career in an unrelated field, I started writing about three years ago. I have self-published two novels during this time, and I’m closing in on completing my third. Based on my personal experience, I’d say the answer is YES – and that’s to the question about book covers. I’m basing my answer on the following:
My first two novels have many similarities. They are both fiction, they each have a male and female main character, they both are set a few years into the future, allowing my imagination to run a little more freely, and they both contain elements of adventure, suspense and romance. What’s uniquely different are their book covers.
My first book, Corrupt Connection, is about a businessman whose career has plateaued, is recently widowed, and becoming bored with his life. His future is immediately transformed when he meets a beautiful PhD, recently hired by his company. Unfortunately, a drug cartel, being fronted by an unknown corporation, targets his new love. The cartel is looking to steal futuristic biological technologies. The cover I chose for this book was a brightly-colored DNA double helix, signifying the biological computing technologies being sought by the drug cartel. I thought the artwork seemed to rise off the page.
My second book, Better Late Than Ever, is about a 60-year-old, charismatic bachelor who retires to a futuristic retirement community in Florida. He is looking forward to unlimited golf, sunsets by the pool, and a maintenance-free lifestyle. What he finds behind the retirement community’s stone walls is an unhealthy and dangerous obsession of its residents with regaining their youth. The cover I chose for this book was a handsome, silver-haired man embracing an attractive, smiling blonde woman. They are in focus in front of a hazy seaside background. It’s intended to represent the main character and his love interest in the book.
I recently offered both of my books on the Goodreads author giveaway promotion, each for a 30-day period, each in the same fictional genre, each offering a handful of autographed copies. What I found was that the attractive, embracing couple got off to a faster start. More than 100 readers signed up within the first week. It also closed with a rush of would-be readers hitting the request key, ending at 430 requests. My first novel with the double helix got off to a slower start in the promotion, and is running behind the rate of my second book. It still has a few days to go and is at 250 requests (a disappointing number). I don’t like discussing sales, nor do most authors, but it suffices to say the sales of my second book with the embracing couple are doing better.
When I ask family, friends, and readers about my choice of book covers, a common response I receive is the embracing couple immediately catches your eye and it relates well to the title and the subject of the book. The other comment I get is they don’t see the connection between a DNA double helix and the subject of my first book. If they hadn’t read the back cover, they’d have thought it was a science fiction book or a book about medical malpractice, not a novel about a new love confronting corporate greed and a deadly drug cartel. Oh, well. I guess I was trying to be too clever by using the mysterious double helix.
I know my experience with two novels is somewhat limited, and clearly does not represent statistical evidence, but I do believe book covers help sell books. And by the way, if you take a close look at the sensuous covers on the romance novels with the highest number of Goodreads reader requests, you might be able to conclude that size matters, too.
You can learn more about D.R.Shoultz and his novels here