I’m a relative rookie when it comes to independent publishing. I’ve actually only been doing this since January, 2012. And in the past four months, I have learned a great deal.
One of the cardinal rules I have learned about marketing my books is that the two biggest things you can do to help sales of your book is: (1) get a good edit; and (2) get a great cover. These are investments that I am slowly realizing I need to make.
My son, Matt, is responsible for the covers we have so far, and Tom Horn vs. the Warlords of Krupp was our first one. It was also the first book he had ever designed. The cover features an actual photo of Tom Horn, with a little steampunk flavor thrown in. It was one of those great ideas that wasn’t executed properly. We were learning, but slowly.
There is definitely a learning curve involved in independent publishing. But I have two advantages. First, I have many years experience as an editor, and so I know the process. Second, I presently teach and as such, have access to many brilliant students with lots of great ideas. One of the ideas to come from my Applied PR and Advertising class was the recommendation that we log onto a website called Deviant Art and find an illustrator that we could afford. We did exactly that, and eventually met and made friends with Mateusz Ozminski, a graduate student in Poland. He agreed to produce a cover for Tom Horn.
And so earlier this week, we finally received some sketches of possible covers for Tom Horn. Because it involved a real western character, yet was in the world of steampunk, we were very particular about the final product and were concerned that it truly represent the nature of the book. Mateusz has shared four possible covers with us. One shows Tom Horn on horseback being chased by a enormous zeppelin. The second shows Horn overlooking a steampunk city. The third shows Tom Horn climbing a rope ladder to a zeppelin with Winchester rifle in hand. The final shows a scene from the book where he is involved in a gunfight.
I am not going to tell you which of the four possible images we chose. Instead, I’d like your input as to which one you like. The final product will be unveiled, hopefully, later this month.