This is what I’ve discovered from sharing my book over on here and through various social media sites. I’m going to be honest here, when I first posted these two images a few days ago, my own firm favourite was the one on the left.
I thought it would be a stand-out winner . . . an initially it was. Sorted, I thought. But then the other one started to grow in traction, and it grew big time. I initially thought it was a bit cheesie, for want of better word.
Perhaps being more analytical, I thought it looked a bit like every other crime novel that you see on the shelves, whether real or digital.
But people disagreed. They loved the spade. They thought it was a striking piece of imagery which got under the skin of the story like nothing else.
“If I as browsing for a book and I saw the one with the spade, that’s the one I would go for,” one friend said.
Although most of the people who commented in approval of the other one thought it looked a lot classier.
The snag, I have discovered, is that one looks clearly like a true crime book. The other looks like a crime novel . . . and ideally I want something that encapsulates A Garden of Bones’ uniqueness – not quite true crime, not quite fiction.
As an experiment at this stage, I’ve gone back to my designer and asked him to blend the two images. Take the spade imagery and impose it onto the other design, also getting rid of the newspaper cutting which runs along the right hand side. Keeping the ‘classy look’ but preserving that imagery that people love.
Will this work? I honestly don’t know. It could be the perfect blend . . . or it could end up being a weaker version of both designs. Time will tell.
But what all of this has brought home to me is the importance of sharing, and the importance of taking feedback on board. I did the same with the writing process, through its later stages. I sought out criticism to make the overall product as good as I could make it, and that process is still ongoing.
But ultimately, because I’ve written something I feel is unique in terms of where it sits on the fiction/non-fiction spectrum, if my cover design mash-up idea doesn’t work, I’m going to have to come down on one side of the fence or another. And because I want this to succeed, I’m going to have to go with the one that I think will attract more readers; sell more copies.
And if that ends up being the case, that will have to be the one with the spade. Sometimes it isn’t all about aesthetics. Sometimes it’s doing what you need to do to get the sales.
Because my book, just like yours, deserves to be read.