Friday, July 18, 2014

Spicing Things Up... Because I Can

One of the best things about being an indie author is being able to spice things up when I feel the need. And occasionally, I feel that need.

The first Sweet Seduction book came out in February 2013. It was my ninth book to be published and you'd think I would have got it all sussed by then.

Oh, no! Not a chance. This is all a learning curve, baby. And I'm just along for the ride.

But, it's now been a year and a half since then, and I have picked up a bit of know-how here and there. Not that I'm going to get it perfect, but that's the thing. I get to try and try and try again. Then rinse and repeat.

Because I can.

The joys of owning the rights to my books in full, means I can spice it up a little whenever the need arises. 

Change things around. Fix mistakes, such as glaringly obvious editing issues.

Or, update the covers to meet trends. To catch the savvy reader's eye. To blend in with current bestsellers in my genre. To improve, tweak, and generally give you all a little refresher.

Simply put, I get to reinvent my wheel.

And it's so much fun!

On this occasion I chose Sweet Seduction. Seven of the (so far) planned eight books have been released and after surfing books in the Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, it became obvious the original covers just weren't up to scratch.

At least, they weren't for me.

So, back to the drawing board, because if there's one thing to be said about an Indie Author like me, they strive to continually improve. Even if it's improving on something that is already out there.

I could be writing my new book. Actually, I probably should be writing my new book. But sometimes you just need a breather, or, in this case, a change of focus and pace.

I've just finished two books back to back, with the third in this new and exciting (also secret) series begging to be completed inside my head. And I will. But two books back to back called for a pause, a lets-let-the-story-brew-for-a-moment break, and so I started surfing. Looking for inspiration. 


And lo and behold, as often happens, I browsed on over to book cover art, then stock image sites, and finally started to do some analysis. Which led me to Sweet Seduction.

Now, I chose blue as the original colour palette for the covers way back at the beginning of last year. Because blue seemed to be fairly popular in Erotic Romance. Example: Fifty Shades Of Grey. But things have changed. 

Bearing in mind I write Romantic Suspense, set in a Contemporary environment with Erotic aspects.

You'll now find a much more subtle colour palette in those genres, with soft images and neutral shades. In some cases the cover art is almost washed out, or whited out.

So, taking all of that into consideration, plus the fact my story is set around a coffee, chocolate and music store, I started to play around with colour combinations and even toyed with different backgrounds. Some of which hinted a little too strongly at the coffee connection. Some shouted busy metropolitan cityscape. All of which I ended up flagging because they just didn't work for me.

Sometimes simple is best.

Once I had decided that, then I worked on the current images and replaced those that weren't up to scratch. You may think this is an easy task. I assure you, it takes time, trial and error, and a hell of a lot of effort.

Four solid days later I had found images that represented the characters/events in the books as best as I could manage, whilst still remaining true to current book cover trends.

Next came the font. Much of Contemporary Romance has a mixture of clear and script type fonts, softening the overall effect. Sweet Seduction is romance oriented, but that is not all it is.

There's suspense, action and mystery in spades. So I had to decide how "fluffy" I wanted the font and how much I wanted it to reflect the "story" behind the romances.

I browsed Romantic Suspense titles, cross referenced them with Contemporary and Erotic titles, and settled on bold, but in complementary colours to finish the overall effect.

Finally, images chosen, font selected, it was time to determine the colour palette and final effects. I chose coffee with hints of sepia to tone the images down, blend them in with the title etc, and complement each other in the series.

I then picked out striking or contrasting colouring to draw the eye, and finished off with some blending effects to give a professional finish.

The end result is one I think brings something to the series, rather than detracts. Lifts the books so they stand out on virtual bookshelves, and brings them in line with current trends, so potential readers know what they're getting into when they pick up one of my books. It also complements the whole coffee-come-chocolate store behind the stories.

Now, I'll be updating all major retailers for the eBook copies of this series over the next few days. But I won't, as yet, touch the Print versions. Simply because those who have purchased the series to date in Paperback format will want the next book to match the rest when they sit on their bookshelves at home.

So, at this stage, just eCopies will have the new covers, and in due course maybe the Print versions will as well.

I really hope you like them. They took a lot of research, thought, and effort. I realise some people will be attached to the familiar and not want any change mid series. But I really did feel they needed a revamp.

And, because I can, I went ahead and just did it! Sometimes you just have to go with the need to spice things up a bit. ツ