Covers, covers, covers and more covers—how do covers for a series work?
As an indie publishing house, we’re able to move quickly at Cool Gus Publishing (yes, the official change-over will occur later this week as our web site shifts to CoolGus.com). We track our sales and our metadata, always looking for ways to improve sales and our brand. I’ll blog more about the Cool Gus brand in future posts, but today I want to focus on covers.
The Atlantis series was the first of my backlist that we published. We learned a lot doing that. We learned scanning was very imperfect and copy-editing was essential (we still have those early reviews on the Amazon page and that was the price of ignorance). We learned how to do covers, by starting with some pretty bad ones.
I think we hit our stride with my new Area 51 covers, Duty, Honor, Country and I love our cover for the upcoming release (11 June) of I, Judas: The 5th Gospel.
Having cycled through over 70 titles in back and front list for our authors, we felt it was time to revisit our beginning. We decided it was time to redo the Atlantis covers in order to make the six books seem more like a series and also so that they “popped” more. That’s the word we use for a cover that really stands out in thumbnail.
Jen came up with a cover for the first book I really loved. So then we had to figure out a way to make the next five books align, yet be different. We decided to us the same base concept but with different colors and a different image on each one that represented something key from the story.
We spent days emailing back and forth as Jen tried concept after concept and I dove back into the books, trying to determine what images would be key. So we’re putting this out there for your input.
Here were the concepts:
Atlantis—just the gate opening. A gate to where? By who? That’s the story.
Atlantis Bermuda Triangle: Opens with a ballistic nuclear submarine doing . . . So we wanted a sub theme. Here are two choices.
Atlantis Devil’s Sea: Amelia Earhart plays a role in this book (and in subsequent books). So first we tried the plane image. But a gladiator in 79 AD also plays a role as Mount Vesuvius is erupting, so we had that image. Then we also went with just the gate, but in red. Here are three choices.
Atlantis Gate popped right away as the Battle of Thermopylae plays a key role in the past tale (the last 5 books have dual storylines from past and present). I liked the helmeted image right away (although Jen did have one with the face in a shadow and glowing eyes). I’ll show you that one here.
For Assault, I wanted the image of Crazy Horse, but in a statue (better than Custer with a few arrows in him). They’re building a huge one near Mount Rushmore and I found these images. We asked the photographer’s permission, Mike Tigas, and he graciously gave it. Then Jen presented it in three different ways.
And for the final book, while the past storyline included Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, the present storyline featured an assault by Special Operations Forces against the Shadow and an advanced version of the Osprey figured in the storyline. So we’ve got two options.
Feel free to weigh in. Also, is it important that the covers in a series look alike? Because the reality is, you’re never really going to see them like this, are you: