New Cover for Lesson One: Revolution! (2nd Edition)
Well, here it is. Maybe? This is what I'm planning for the new cover of Lesson One: Revolution! (Second Edition). This cover meets most or all of my cover requirements. However, it's not too late to scrap this and start over on the cover, and I've had some mixed reviews on it, so I'm hoping to get more feedback.
You can click on the small cover image on my blog to open a larger version of the image in a new tab or browser window. If you like it, hate it, or somewhere in between, please leave a comment or otherwise contact me.
Read on for more background on the cover design process.
When I first published this novel in 2010, I passed around some draft cover concepts to various people and asked for feedback. I didn't get a lot of feedback, and the input I received did not provide much clarity. I was already partial to one design, so I ended up going with it. I now see that as a mistake, even though I still don't think it's a terrible design. Other people, especially those in the important "not family or friends" audience, have been fairly clear about not liking it, and I think it has not helped with getting people interested in the book. I changed the original design to take the color out of the pencils in the background, which seemed like a quick improvement, but I knew that I really needed a whole new design.
Knowing you need something and being able to get it are two different things. My personal financial situation does not allow me to invest any significant cash into my books, so I have to find ways to do things for free, or barter, or at least very cheap. A good cover with non-restrictive terms was way out of my budget, and a design with restrictive terms isn't something I'd pay anything for at all. For marketing flexibility I need to own the design, period, not leave myself open to being "nickel-and-dimed" each time I wanted to do something different with the design. As a result, I had no real choice but to postpone replacing the cover.
With the upcoming release of the sequel (Extra Credit: Loyalty!), I realized that it would be a good time to release a second edition of the first book in the series, after making some edits to hopefully improve the reading experience. I knew I could no longer delay replacing the cover. Also, Lesson One: Revolution! was not originally intended to be part of a series, and the first cover was not designed with future covers in mind. With the plan now to extend the series to three books, the need for a cohesive design throughout the series would have forced a change even if my original cover was not problematic.
The new cover design shown here meets production criteria such as not costing anything other than time, leaving me with full ownership, and being readily modifiable for later books in the series. It also meets fairly well some other design constraints, such as being reasonably legible in thumbnail size, and indicating that the book is part of a series. However, what I don't know is if it meets the most important criterion of all: Will it catch the eye and draw in a potential reader?
As much as I'd like to get this book (i.e., the second edition) on the market to pave the way for releasing the sequel, I would rather learn now that this cover is a no-go than to find that out after I've committed to it, especially since I'm also committing to related designs for the rest of the series. So, if you have comments (good or bad), I would love to hear from you!