Judging My Book By It’s Cover

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I wrote in my last post about how I joined a free books giveaway. It’s a promotion where writers get together and offer readers free copies of their books, or (like in my case) previews of their books. You’ll find the giveaway here.

I’m really happy with how this has worked out for me. Readers have downloaded previews of my book, and a few of them even signed up for my newsletter – which is awesome. I don’t know if any of them actually read the book, or if they just downloaded it because it was free, but for the time being I’m just happy so many people choose to claim a copy for themselves.

Maybe they’ll read it at some point?

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What I didn’t think about, and didn’t expect, was that I would be able to see how many times the other books in the giveaway had been claimed too – not just mine. In this way, I can see how my book is doing compared to everyone else’s. Specifically, I can compare the strength of my book’s cover and blurb against those of the other books.

When I first logged in on the giveaway page and saw my book among all of the others it struck me how dazzling and impressive all of the other cover images were. I felt like I was way out of my depth with my plain and simple cover I’d made myself from a stock photo I’d bought for ten bucks.

Some of the other authors in the giveaway will have spent a lot more money on their covers.

For the most part they look exactly the way cool, sexy, action packed Fantasy and Science Fiction books are supposed to look. Now, this may sound as if I’m mocking the other covers, but I’m really not. This is what works, and what sells, and what readers expect. Don’t underestimate reader expectations. If I were to mock anything, it’d be the concept of the standard SFF book cover in itself, but that’s a blog post for a different day (and probably for a different blog too).

Basically, what I wanted to say is that I looked at my own cover next to all the others and I felt a bit insufficient, or perhaps jealous. It’s like I was a kid and my toys weren’t as cool as the other kids’ toys, or something like that.

In the end though, it didn’t seem to matter to the people claiming free books from the giveaway. I just did a check on the page and the number of books that have more claims than mine, is slightly lower than the number of books that have less claims than mine. My book is almost smack in the middle of the field, and I really can’t complain about that.

Please note, this isn’t a competition, and this isn’t a call for my friends to go claim my book just to increase the number. That’d just ruin things for me. The satisfaction comes from knowing there are people out there, who don’t know me at all, who have chosen to claim my book based on the cover alone.

Well, there’s also the blurb. It’s a nice enough blurb, but that’s also a topic for another blog post (on this blog).

Finally, I’d like to point out that I have another cover on the way. It’s being painted and designed by a good friend of mine, and I’m really excited about getting to show it off to the world – hopefully next week already.

It’s going to be awesome!

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Judging My Book By It’s Cover

Free Books?

I’ve joined a group giveaway on instafreebie.com – you can download a free preview of Emma’s Story, and you can download other books for free as well. Some of the books in the giveaway are previews like mine, while others are complete stories (look for the “preview” keyword when claiming the book).

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You can access the giveaway and browse all of the available titles here.

How does it work?

I tried it out earlier, and they way it works is you click on the book you want, fill out your e-mail and name and you get sent download instructions via mail. The mail contains a link to download the instafreebie app as well as your login and password.

Once you’ve installed the app on your phone/tablet you can log in and get the book sent straight to your device. Depending on what device you use you may have to download an app to read the story.

The book I got sent when I tried didn’t open in my phones default reader, but it was no hassle to find an app that could read ePub files.

Why give away free books?

The short answer is: promotion.

The somewhat longer answer is that it’s a good way for people to become aware of your stories. I’m giving away a preview of the first four chapters of my story, and at the end of the preview is a link to where the full book can be pre-ordered (hint, it’s here for US and here for UK).

Some people are giving away full books though. Why is that?

Most of these books are the first in a series, and the author hopes you’ll like it and buy the rest of them. I’d probably do the same if I had a series written and wanted to promote it.

In fact, once I get my series going I probably will.

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Promo image for my book. It’s simple, but it does the job.

It seems like a good way to get the story in front of readers who otherwise might not have found it. At the moment I’m almost completely unknown as an author. Only my friends and family and a few online acquaintances know I have a book coming out. This blog doesn’t have a huge following (but thank you for reading if you got this far), and while I have created a mailing list for a newsletter I don’t have any subscribers to it yet.

In this way though, by taking part in a group giveaway, I benefit from the promotional powers of the other authors taking part. It feels a little bit like freeloading on the effort of others, but hopefully I’ll be able to pay it back by helping other writers out in the same way in the future.

Free Books?