Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Birth of a Cover

Author April White
by April White

Writers and readers are very visual people. Writers have to paint pictures with words for readers to see in their heads as they read, which is why most writers I know have inspiration boards.

When I first began plotting Marking Time, I built my inspiration board into a collage with which I covered my writer's notebook.

You can see where the color tones for the first book came from. As I got closer to finishing Marking Time, I started to think about its cover. This was the first image I found that really inspired me.

I could never find a photo credit to track down the artist for permission to use it, so we tried to replicate the look in a photo shoot. It didn't work.

I thought I would be marketing the book to young adults because, well, Saira is seventeen. So every cover idea I came up with was sent to my then eighteen-year-old niece for her thoughts. She's an inhaler of books, as all the women in my family are, and her usual criteria for buying a book is cover first, then page count. If the cover doesn't appeal, or it isn't long enough, she puts it back on the shelf.

These were my early attempts. My niece was always supportive, but she didn't really love any of them, thank goodness.

But through the progression, the cover of Marking Time was born. My niece approved.

I love my old covers. I love that they were relatively gender-neutral, and not age-specific. I love that they are striking and graphic, and showed readers the different artifacts of the Immortal Descendant families. For readers waiting for book four, here’s the Monger ring…

As I finished books two and three, I began to really pay attention to marketing. There was a pattern in the reviews, and a study of reader demographics confirmed that the vast majority of my readers are women between the ages of 25 and 55.

They say the most powerful person in the world is the one who stands on a street and waves traffic in the direction it's already going. The trick is just to figure out which direction that is.

I began to think about the idea of re-branding the series to appeal directly to the women who are its biggest readers, and then a brilliant friend of mine designed these stunning covers, using elements found in the stories. When I sent the new covers to my niece, now twenty-one years old. Her response:

"I would totally buy them."

These new covers represent something bigger than just re-branding the Immortal Descendants series to appeal to readers of historical mysteries, paranormal suspense, and time travel romance. They have inspired me to actively seek the audience for my books, and to attempt to wave the traffic of readers in the direction it already seems to be already going.

April White
Author of the Immortal Descendants series: 
For readers who like history and a little magic 
with their time travel adventures. 
April's Amazon Author page

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