My heartfelt thanks to every single one of you who voted on the range of book covers I shared in my blog about six weeks ago. And also thanks to each one of you who provided feedback, analysis and suggestions. It was all way beyond anything I had expected!
That blog was the most commented on of any blog I’ve ever written, with more than 300 votes received – and a few still trickling in. I was really touched by how many people care so much about the cover choice. I was also very moved by how many said that, no matter what cover was picked, they still wanted to read the book! This is just as well, since only one cover can be chosen, and a lot of people are, necessarily, not going to get the cover they voted for.
I don’t want to drag out the suspense, but can I make just a couple of points about the decision-making process? The wonderful, award-winning designer, Sue Campbell, provided six wide-ranging DRAFT options in response to the brief, as well as her own inspiration. I was immediately drawn to one of them which, for me, conveyed the clean simplicity, as well as the hint of other-worldliness that I was after. This was my favourite:
When it came to voting however, this cover attracted only 13% of the votes. It clearly didn’t resonate with most readers. Which goes to show the folly of publishers or authors picking their own covers without testing them with their readers. Why would you even do that when you have a group of such wonderfully responsive readers, like you, ready to offer your opinions?
The cover that 97% of us pretty much instantly gave the thumbs down to was this one:
It’s always nice to have a wild card in the mix, and there was a quirky 3% of you who picked it out as the best of the bunch! That said, an equal percentage unvoted for it – not that I asked for any negative votes, but you went and did it anyway. A cover that polarises so much is clearly off the agenda.
Moving up the list, the second most popular, on 31% of the vote, was this one:
People loved the dream-like quality of the image, the symbolism, as well as the evocation of intimacy with nature. As it happens, a bluebird features in the lead story in this collection (The Astral Traveler’s Handbook) so it was entirely appropriate – not that readers would know that coming to the book cold.
All of which means that the favourite, chosen by 35% of you, was the one below. Lots of people were emphatic about this cover – they didn’t just like it, they loved it! The knock-em-between-the-eyes power of a striking image suggesting travel, infinity, intrigue and magical possibilities. And I was pleased, when testing it on some bookstore staff, to find that the younger ones preferred it too – I would love to reach more millennials and upwards with my books, along with more, ahem, mature aged people like me. Librarians and bookstore people said it would display well cover out – every author’s fervent wish! – so let’s hope that happens.
Compared to the original, we have tweaked a couple of things on the cover. Firstly, the script ‘Astral Traveler’s’ has been modified to make it more legible (‘Traveller’s’ will have two ‘l’s’ in the Australian English edition). We’ve used a different, gold compass. The Bedtime Buddha series icon has moved from a seated Buddha to a reclining Buddha. And Sue has popped in ‘Foreword by the Dalai Lama’s Cat’ which I was pleased she could do without detracting from the overall simple, clean style.
Please pre-order now!
So there we are folks! Cover fine-tuned and all ready to print. Publication date is 1st May 2018 – and if you’re planning to buy a copy, print or electronic, you’d be doing me a big favour if you pre-order your copy from amazon or your usual online retailer right away (or, if you’re reading this in Australia, by ordering the book from your nearest bookstore).
Pre-orders are, essentially, a means by which a whole lot of sales are recorded by amazon on the first day of publication. This pushes a book up the category charts, making it more likely to be discovered by new readers. In an extremely noisy retail environment, with so many, well-funded global publishers pushing the work of their big name authors, it is hard to get noticed or be heard. Pre-ordering a book is one way that readers can help their favourite authors stay in the spotlight for a moment’s more time, at no additional cost to themselves.
Canada: (Kindle only at present – don’t ask!) https://www.amazon.ca/Astral-Travelers-Handbook-Bedtime-Buddha-ebook/dp/B07C9QVML2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523340119&sr=8-1&keywords=the+astral+traveler%27s+handbook
Australia: Support your local bookstore, or order from: https://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?keywords=the+astral+travellers+handbook&productType=917504
My previous blog: