But how about ebooks? You aren't going along a shelf, either looking for something specific or waiting for a title to catch your eye. You're browsing a series of small ("thumbnail") images of covers. As ebooks burgeon in numbers (there are at least 8 million on Amazon), authors try to make their book covers say, "Buy me!" to separate them from the pack.
Now, back when I first published the first book in my major fantasy series, A Bad Spell in Yurt, this was way pre-ebooks. Books were sold in physical bookstores. But it had an intriguing cover by Tom Kidd which made it stand out from the other fantasy books on the "new releases" table. (The image below is the Kidd cover, now the ebook cover on Amazon. I paid him for the rights to be able to use it again.)
But recently I decided to redo the covers on the series novellas. A novella is a short novel, and these were designed to recount events in between the events of the six main novels. They stand alone (that is, you don't need to have read other books in the series), so I was also hoping to lure in new readers.
Originally I published them with covers I made myself using a simple graphics program. The Lost Girls and the Kobold ebook has magical mountains as a major plot component, so I used a photo I took of mountains (the foothills of the Rockies, between Cody and Yellowstone), and the Below the Wizards' Tower story takes place in a city with towers, on the ocean, so I used a tower (Fougères castle in Brittany).
But are these covers intriguing enough? I have nothing against my own covers, and my "blog book" (image and link at bottom of this page) features my own photo of Fleckenstein castle in Alsace. But these novellas had been doing well, so I decided to "reward" them with new covers from Self Pub Book Covers.
Independent book publishing (which is what I do) has, as I have discussed previously, spawned a whole service industry of "helpers," including companies that design covers. This company specializes in "pre-mades," where the graphic artist designs a lot of covers with different images, and the author comes along and chooses one that looks good and puts their own title on it.
(This works for the graphic artist, who can crank out some "pre-mades" between assignments, and who doesn't have to worry that the author will come back and say, "I know I told you to make the cat a tabby, but now I've decided it should be white. Plus add a dog. No, not that kind of dog." It also works for the author who might have trouble visualizing a good cover without some samples.)
So below you'll see my new covers. They are by respectively R.L. Sather and Viergacht. How do you like them compared to the originals?
© C. Dale Brittain 2020
For aspects of medieval history (rather than fantasy), see my book Positively Medieval, available on Amazon and other platforms, both as a paperback and an ebook.