Fooling Around with Covers

New Cover
The upside of self-publishing is that one has complete creative control over the product. If one doesn't hire an editor or a proofreader, or engage a professional artist to design the cover, the product is all one's own. This has its advantages and disadvantages, as my old history teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, used to say. The downside is that one runs the risk of standing revealed in public as a complete horse's ass.

I flatter myself that my copy is pretty clean. Over the years I worked with one of the best copy editors in the business, now gone to the big publishing house in the sky. She taught me much. As for the plotting, well, I do the best I can, and I won't take advice from anybody anyway so it might as well go out the way it is. Hey, I'm an entertaining writer. But, the covers—!

Take MONKEYSTORM. (Please.) I designed what I thought was a killer cover for that book, replete with a picture of a raging monkey, although there were no actual monkeys in it, but only virtual monkeys appearing in a videogame. Harold liked the cover with its fierce monkey face; he said it would grab people's attention; I had to agree. But at a recent conference another writer took a gander at it and asked, "Is it horror?" Well, no, it's mostly supposed to be funny, though it's full of grisly murders and more or less pitched to a YA audience. Who haven't discovered it yet. Truth be told, I haven't sold very many copies to anybody at all.

Old Cover
Maybe the problem is the cover.

I'm taking another shot at that now. Behold the new cover (above). If that doesn't persuade anybody to buy it, my fall-back cover will have two thinly clad teenagers making out in a graveyard. I understand that this sort of thing is a big sales booster. FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY had only a nice silk cravat on the cover, as I recall, but they say the hot stuff was all on the inside.

What do you think of the new cover? Of book covers generally? Please advise.

Kate Gallison