Bookkeeping Prompts Another Cover Revision

Ashkenazi Sefer TorahI’ve been catching up on my bookkeeping. This is appropriate, because my current work-in-progress, Tally the Betrayals, is about a bookkeeper.

(He inks his tallies on scrolls. Thus the photo above.)

Now he’s not your ordinary bookkeeper.

He works in the “dark tower” of Silmaren in the Bronze Age of my North-lands, keeping track of the tin and copper flowing into the smithies where the weapons of the troll-lord’s armies are forged! And one of his tin ingots has gone missing.

But I digress. (And, yes, that was a tease.) πŸ˜€

Back to the bookkeeping at Casa Ney-Grimm.

I was updating my year-on-year spreadsheet, where I see how many copies of each book title sold each year, from 2011 through the present. It helps me assess the big picture.

web imageSeveral things became clear after I tallied the numbers for 2015. My short stories sell sporadically and by the handful. This is normal. Short stories just are not as popular with readers as longer works.

Except my Crossing the Naiad, which sells steadily. Still by the handful, but every month readers are choosing Naiad, which intrigues me. It’s a great story, yes. But so is Resonant Bronze a great story. What is it about Naiad that has extra appeal?

More experienced writers than I tell me that this is always the unanswered question, so, moving on…

Next conclusion: novellas sell better than short stories, still by the handful, but steadily. (Sort of like Naiad, in fact. Except that Naiad is not a novella.)

And novels sell best of all.

None of the above is really surprising. But the thing that caught my attention was that Livli’s Gift – a novel – is alone amongst my novels in selling merely like a novella. What’s up with that?

I think I know the answer. It was the cover. The old cover just wasn’t right.

Now I revised the cover a few weeks back and blogged about it. But seeing the cold, hard numbers made me revisit the issue. Sure, I’d revised the cover, and I liked the new version a lot. But had I revised it enough? If the old cover had been hurting its popularity that much, had I truly fixed the problem?

No, I didn’t think I had.

So I’ve been tinkering with it some more. I’m not quite done tinkering. I have a few more details I want to change. But I thought I’d show you what I have thus far.

Livli's Gift, night sky cover, 350 px


What do you think?

To see the original cover of Livli’s Gift, created step by step:
Creating Livli’s Cover

To see the cover revision of Livli’s Gift:
Why Revise a Book’s Cover

To see the inspiration for my novel Tally the Betrayals:
Tally the Betrayals



8 thoughts on “Bookkeeping Prompts Another Cover Revision

  1. Could the difference, for a casual reader or browser, be a real woman vs. a very stylized drawing of one?

    Naiad is an attractive cover – the other, a taste for some one who already knows your work?

    Random thoughts – what struck me after what you wrote.

    • The interesting thing – or one interesting thing – is that Troll-magic sells well and steadily, and it has stylized Kay Nielsen art for its cover. Sarvet’s Wanderyar – also with black & white Kay Nielsen cover art – also sells well and steadily. But Livli’s Gift – a novel – has sales numbers like Sarvet’s Wanderyar – a novella.

      No doubt you are correct, however, that the photo of a real woman is innately approachable and accounts for some of Naiad’s appeal.

  2. Still love the image, no matter which font or colour you use. πŸ™‚

    I think we all struggle with the covers, but, I have found if the blurb is done well, it doesn’t matter about the cover as much, as long as it “portrays the genre”.

    By that I mean captures the readers eye and tells them in a second which genre, eg. colours to draw the eye from the competition images, easy to read title and author text/fonts, so the reader will click on the blurb text and make their decision to read the story or move on.

    I am also surprised at the number of sales after I redid some of the blurbs. πŸ™‚ I now need to find time to work on the rest of the earlier stories blurbs & covers when I take breaks from writing.

    • Thanks, D J! I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves the art.

      I’d promised myself I would revisit the cover copy for my backlist, and – aside from Troll-magic – I have not done so. Maybe Livli’s Gift needs a revised blurb more than it needs a revised cover. Thanks for reminding me!

  3. I like the new version so much better. The unrelieved black was depressing for me. The white brings out the glimmering beauty of your Northlands. I love the art either way, but this new version looks more like an intriguing story. I am very susceptible to covers. They make me decide to read a blurb.

    • Thank you! Glad to hear that I’m on the right track.

      I’m also susceptible to covers. A good one will make me read the first page or so of the book. And if I enjoy that first page… πŸ˜€

  4. Is Tally the Betrayals urban fantasy? I thought I’d heard something about that. πŸ™‚

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