Monday, September 3, 2012

What A Difference A New Cover Makes

The oft-quoted cliche "You can't judge a book by its cover" is dead wrong in the Amazon Kindle Store, where consumers often base their purchases of virtual books by the cover image displayed as they browse through hundreds, perhaps thousands of titles.

I wrote "How To Make Easy Money Selling Your Old Used Books On Amazon" in early 2012, and I've enjoyed steady, albeit limited, sales of anywhere from $100 to $140 a month. Not good. But not bad, and last time I checked, it's selling a steady 1-2 copies a day.

But I admit I skimped on a professional e-book cover design. Here's the e-book cover I slapped together with a digital photo and a crude "placeholder" book cover that I never got around to updating. It's been the sales photo competing for eyeballs on Amazon.

Here it is. Don't laugh.

Last week I decided to go for broke and invest a whole $5 by ordering a Fiverr gig to have a new e-book cover designed. The cover was designed in 48 hours. It was delivered, uploaded and available within 24 hours (it seems to take Amazon forever to update changes), and I started seeing an increase in sales about 24 hours later.

Here's the new cover by a hard-working young designer named Jasmine (her username is jw12792) who I would recommend in a heartbeat, her work is fast and professional):

I'm torn. I love the design, as it's better than I imagined it would be when I placed my order at However, I'm afraid it looks spammy. It looks slick. It seems to overpromise that you'll order the book, skim through it, and start stuffing $100 bills in your pocket. That's not what will happen when you order this $2.99 e-book. Yes, you'll learn how to make $200, $300, $400 a month in your spare time. But you'd better not give up your day job until you uncover a treasure trove of good used books, music CDs, move DVDs or collectibles that will sell online. And, even then, I don't recommend going full-time unless you've got a broad range of products to sell online - tangible products, virtual products, services you can perform yourself.

Update 9/4/2012: New orders seem promising. I've sold more copies between Sept 1st through Sept. 4th  than in all of August 2012. At this pace, total revenue may be close to $500 a month. If that's the case, then this $5 investment in new ebook cover artwork will have definitely paid for itself many times over.