Changing Your Book Cover

 

 

I’m not sure how many authors feel that annoying need to update their book covers. I didn’t think I would.

But I do.

However.

I have some questions, concerns, and downright worries about doing this.

Hence, the post.

Thoughts are whirling in my head (as always).

Where do I start? Do I go with what I love or what is marketable? What about the cost? What if I change my mind and/or the cover again? What about all the places I’ve already put the images online? What about readers who have my books and mistakenly think I have a new book and purchase it? (I’ve heard of that happening and, full disclosure, I’ve almost done it.) Gah!

I know I’m forgetting something. Or, possibly, many somethings.

I know some authors who update their covers regularly often occasionally and others who never have. *shrug*

Moneywise, timewise, pain-in-the-ass-wise. I just don’t know if it’s worth it. All this has kept me from just going ahead with it. But I’ve wanted to for a bit now and I’m getting antsy. What say you, gentle readers?

 

ThoughtBubble

My random thoughts in under 200 words.

 

Authors: Have you ever thought about changing your book covers? Have you actually done it? How did it go?

Readers: How do you feel about authors changing covers? Does it throw you off/make it difficult to find the next book in a series? Do you think the author has a new book? 

 

59 thoughts on “Changing Your Book Cover

  1. This year, I will be changing at least two of our book covers. It is quite easy to do, but comes with a lot of leg work, making sure you change it everywhere. Definitely worth doing though, if they’re not selling well…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. isn’t it simply rebranding? It’s when authors change their titles I’m annoyed. I don’t really pay any attention to Ebook covers. Many of my favourite physical books get their covers revisited, and I know that that encourages sales for some readers (my immediate thoughts are Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood who I assume choose to do this, and Alice in Wonderland which clearly is a commercial choice by the publishers). I have been tempted to buy additional copies of a particularly loved novel based on a different cover / layout, but only tempted (so far!) Good luck either way.
    Oh – one thought; I had a couple of authors whose books I’d left reviews on Kobo for; when they changed the edition the reviews vanished. Might be worth checking before you begin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right. When they change the title. Ugh!

      I suppose it is just rebranding. Especially if you change all your covers or all the ones in a series.

      Yeah. So many traditionally published authors have their covers changed (multiple times). And, absolutely, books like Alice in Wonderland have gone through many changes (just like Alice). Older classics can get movie tie-ins, change publishers, or just look outdated. How many covers does Alice In Wonderland have by now? 🙂 I’m guilty of buying additional copies of favorite books when the cover is too tempting.

      Good call on eBook covers. Most people don’t pay attention to those after they’ve purchased them. And, yikes, thanks for the warning about reviews and covers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d love to change my website ‘cover’. I didn’t like it from the start, but don’t know where to begin. I like your book covers. Why do you want to change them? Is it like the need to change a hairstyle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought of changing book covers similar to some people’s desire to change their hairstyle or something along those lines. And, for some, it is. But it’s more than that. Wanting to change or update book covers can stem from multiple reasons. Maybe the author couldn’t afford a professional cover designer and now can or they mistakenly created a cover that indicated the wrong genre or the market has changed so the book isn’t selling… Lots of reasons.

      I did a complete makeover of my website/blog years ago. I hadn’t thought of that comparison. Though people will find your blog and just admire the updated cover. What were you thinking of doing? Are you staying with WordPress? My blog is pretty simple but, if you’d like, I can give you whatever tips I know. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess you’re right – all sorts of reasons to change.
        I’m not thinking of changing my website. It would cost too much and would be too difficult and it’s really not worth it. I’d just like to change the feature image on the home page but I have no idea to what and I don’t know how to do it. The original developers hid it from me. I haven’t been able to find it. As I say, at the moment, it’s too difficult and not worth it. I do appreciate your offer of help though, lovely lady. That’s very generous of you. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t help you with this one. I could probably change mine if I wanted, but I’m sure my publisher would frown upon such a request. Like you said, the cost and hassle are things to take into account before doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think they would frown on that request. If they’re going to do it, they’ll do it. I think that may be out of your hands. Definitely thinking about the cost (money and time) and the hassle of it all. It’s mostly what’s kept me from going ahead with it. What are your thoughts as a reader?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! Guilty! 😂 That drives me crazy. When a publisher changes only the second half of a series (why?!) or they change the whole thing in the middle and I already have the first few. I just went through that with a children’s series: Skullduggery Pleasant.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t thought of changing covers as looking back but it kind of is. I do see benefits of updated covers but the time spent redoing them (and updating every link/image/etc.) could be used on other things–like writing. Also, yeah, financially speaking, it is tough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been down this road.

    I would suggest asking yourself why you want to change the cover. What’s wrong with what you have?

    Once you understand why, you’ll be better prepared to know what you want instead. If you’re rebranding, there must be a reason you feel like you should.

    When I changed the cover on my MG-YA novel, I wanted convey a bit more of the complexity of the story visually. So, that was more about being honest with the reader than branding. Maybe. 🙂

    I wouldn’t do it simply because big publishers do it. You are not big publishing. You don’t have to follow their “rules”.

    Do it because you can’t imagine not doing it. 🙂

    I hope that helps.

    PS: I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have asked myself (now that I’ve written this post) the big WHY. I didn’t know what I wanted when I got the covers and didn’t do any research into genre or form. Most importantly, as I’ve discovered, it’s that I need to satisfy my OCD with a MATCHING SET. 😉

      Yeah, I’m totally onboard for changing covers ASAP when they don’t convey the story well or convey the wrong story. I’ve seen some unbelievably bad covers that are completely misleading. Like…what-were-you-thinking misleading. Cozy mysteries that look like horror, fantasy that look like a cheesy YA romance… Some are kind of funny. And definitely on the side of HELL NO to changing covers because publishers do. Just no. And, to be fair, I lose sleep over lots of stupid things. I’ve got to stop that.

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  6. I have changed most of my early covers, partly because I left traditional publishing and didn’t want to buy the covers they produced, but mostly because they were horrid ugly little beasts. Lol. It’s not usually a problem to change covers as long as the title doesn’t change. Is there a reason why you’re considering it, or is it just an urge?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I thought I remembered you changed all your early (traditionally published) covers. Also thought I remembered the reason. 😀 Horrid, ugly beasts that they were.

      Yes, someone else mentioned the title change. It was years ago but I think that may have been when I almost bought a book I already had.

      I’ve been wanting to update for a bit now and I’m not sure the reason, exactly. I should have anticipated this question. 😉 I guess it’s because I didn’t know anything about cover design, wasn’t sure what I wanted, and didn’t do any research into the form of flash or poetry. But, honestly, the main reason is that I desperately want a coordinated (matching) set. Now that I’m saying this out loud (typing out loud), I guess it’s a rebranding. Thanks, Diana! That helped.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have thought about changing mine, too, Sarah, especially since they are not typical covers for the genres/cross-genres I write. But I happen to love them, and don’t think I really want to make any changes, though I might modify a bit going forward with new books.

    However, I notice that you say right off the bat that you’ve been wanting to do this for some time, and honestly, I think that should count for a LOT. It’s your book, your work, your dreams, and I think your desires should play a large part in this decision. (Or at least an equally important part.) Sometimes you have to trust your instincts and do what feels right to you.

    Just one more perspective for your consideration. Good luck, whichever way you decide to go. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fair enough. I mean, honestly, my desire to do this should count for something. Alas… This is me you’re talking to. I have a PhD in Overthinking. But you’re right. They are my books, my work, my dreams. I need to give a bit of consideration to the time/money but, after all is said and done, I need to listen to the Sarah. 🙂

      The cross-genres you write in would seem to make the stories a bit tough to convey in a “typical” way. But I am so glad to hear you’re not going to change them. I LOVE your covers. I covet your covers. Always have. 📚❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s wonderful to hear, Sarah. I do get lots and lots of compliments on them from readers, especially local ones I meet at my wildlife talks. So they may be different from what’s popular right now but since I’m never, ever going to put a bare-chested, headless male torso on my books, anyway, I may as well stick with what I like. 😉

        After you’ve thought over the pros and cons, getting full use from that PhD in Overthinking, I have faith that you will come to a decision that will make YOU happy. And that’s what counts the most. Or should. 😀 (Can’t wait to see what you decide.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I guess if you’ll never have a half-naked man (or Thor) on your covers, you may as well stick with second best. 😉

        I’ll finish my pros and cons list, my Venn diagram, my second pros and cons list, my “weighing the options” scale made out of popsicle sticks, and my I’ve-driven-myself-insane-and-need-a-craft macaroni castle then I’ll decide. Happy Sarah will prevail. With new covers!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t considered changing my covers, Sarah. To be fair, they’re pretty good anyway but, even if I thought it might make a difference, I’m too busy working on writing. If I had more time, I’d be doing it to promote my books in other ways. In short, then, all the issues you’ve raised haven’t really crossed my mind – so I’m not really sure why I’ve bothered commenting because I can’t see how this helps you in the slightest!
    That said, I’ve always liked your covers, so I don’t know what’s prompted you to think about it. At the end of the day, you should do what gives you the most peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You commented because you can’t resist the lure of the lemon shark. I mean, honestly, who could? And I’m glad you listened to the siren song of the shark because I always enjoy your comments.

      That said, I’m glad you haven’t considered. Your covers are stunning. Don’t change them! Also, you’re the second person to mention not bothering because you’d use the time to move ahead (writing, promoting, marketing…) and that’s a fair shot. It truly is something to think about. Again, though, your covers are gorgeous so…

      I’ve realized, since writing this post, I wasn’t quite sure the reason and now, through comments, I am sure. So you did help, actually. I want to change them to have a more consistent (matching) look and similar visual feel to them. And I will have peace when they have that so I suppose I’m going forward with it. 🙂 Thanks, Graeme.

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      • The lure of the lemon shark… There could be a book title in there somewhere. And who wouldn’t want to be lured?
        Thank you for your comments about my book covers. I seem to think you’ve written favourably about them before. They are themed as well, which fits with your own reason for making changes. That said, my next one will, I’m sure, look completely different – but that’s because I’m writing a completely different kind of novel.
        I hope you find the peace you’re looking for soon. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh. I like that: The Lure of the Lemon Shark. A great title for a nonfiction compilation. I’ve been contemplating that for years and, seriously, just again this morning.

        I have indeed mentioned your gorgeous covers before. Also, partly, because they are themed. When is your new novel due out? Is it a series or standalone? (I’d hope it would look different. That’s the flip side of this argument. Authors who try to brand and make all their books look similar. I think that’s just as bad, and just as confusing, as having a set or series be dissimilar.) Thanks. Have a great week ahead!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Ha! That’s the first thing that readers see, so of course they do. I’m in the process of redesigning my book cover. I don’t think it is a bad thing – unless you are going to do it on a regular basis. If a better cover attracts more readers, then it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Taking Writing Risks #IWSG | Lemon Shark

  11. Hi Sarah! The question to re-cover reminds me of a marketing adage — about the time a company grows bored with its brand appearance, consumers are finally starting to recognize it. However, even McDonald’s refreshes their brand periodically. I think the balance is found in purpose. What is the meaning of the change? Is it an updated version? An anniversary edition? A re-release? Are you wanting to target a different audience? If you have a reason that can be communicated to readers or used to a promotional advantage, go for it. The cool thing about publishing a book independently is that it does not have an expiration date. I still find your covers stunning and well crafted to match the content tone and your author brand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there. 🙂 I was hoping you’d stop by with your branding advice.

      Yet another reason not to change covers. There are a lot on the “con” side of the list for sure. Like a company changing their brand when consumers start to recognize it. That’s another problem. (Though I don’t think I have that problem with such a small readership.)

      Ah, purpose. Well… I think I’ve narrowed it down to my OCD, in part. I want a matching set. A couple people mentioned the covers benefiting from looking more similar and that’s what I want. I don’t know about targeting my audience or communicating to readers or promotional advantages. I stink at marketing/advertising/promotion so I’m kind of going with what I like. What would I grab off the shelf? I know that’s not a great way to go but, hopefully, it’ll work out. Thanks, Charli!

      Like

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