A day last summer I was surfing the web to see if my first book, Dex Territory, was getting any love. I came upon a website that “helps” authors by pointing out bad book covers and embarrasses them in
hopes they will be so grateful the author will use them to create a new cover. I published through a small press and while I had input into the cover, I didn’t have control. Yet, my editor hit me up and suggested I wasn’t marketing well. My sales weren’t so great. I work in the business world and I have built strong networks and as an author I was getting there with steady progress. I felt I had a good book. It was well reviewed, technically sound, the story was fun and superheroes were red hot. I had a unique angle and it’s a fast-paced book that’s not difficult to polish off. I have strong characters, it’s sexy and action-packed and it’s packed with snappy, snark-filled dialog and the book was very funny. The thing practically sold itself. My editor and I believed in Dex Territory even with the bug-nuts crazy title.
I reached out to a cover artist, Laura Hildago, and asked her to rework the cover for me. In the meantime, I approached my publisher and explained what I found, we talked about the weak sales and told him, I’d spring for a cover and we really had nothing to lose. Laura whipped up an amazing cover concept and after some back and forth between three uncompromising, prideful, creative people; we removed the old cover, we added the new spiffy cover, I began a new anxiety med prescription and re-released the book with minimal fanfare. We all were curious to see what would happen.
Book sales spiked, which we all expected, but the true indicator was ongoing sales. I’m happy to say,
they remained steady for months. My reviews jumped and we quickly redesigned the cover for Knight and Dex to fit the same style before its release. It quickly followed suit of book 1 and became my publisher’s best-selling book for two months after its release. As much as we’re always told to never judge a book by its cover, I can personally attest; it’s not true at all. Covers matter. My advice to indie authors, get a professionally made cover. The cost is around $150.00, your mileage may vary. A good artist will give you a few different looks and feel free to give them feedback. It should feel like a collaboration and you should both be satisfied with the results.
Knight and Dex
Snow settled over New London and covered the alley with a chilly blanket, which normally gave me a moment’s pause to reflect. I might have thought about tranquility, but there was nothing tranquil in the roundhouse kick I took to the face. Steam rose from crimson splatter as my blood hit the freshly fallen snow.
Minx’s claws flashed. I jumped back and narrowly avoided being torn open at the belly.
It was difficult to wax poetic while someone was doing their best to kill me.
Welcome to my life.
I swung my left fist. My intention wasn’t to connect with Minx’s jaw but to buy a precious second. The parry worked well enough and gave me the moment I needed to draw the pulse pistol from under my coat. I bellowed a triumphant, “Ha!”
My moment of glory was short-lived. Another kick connected with my right hand. The blow jarred the weapon loose and it sailed into a snow bank. Powdery snow swallowed it whole. The thing about being unarmed, it felt a bit like being naked in a crowd. No way to cover my ass.
I gripped my stinging hand. “Shit.”
A powerful arm, furry and itchy and stiff as a crowbar, hooked me around the neck. Minx had gotten behind me, and the momentum of her attack tore my feet from the ground. I cartwheeled, forcing her to detach and spring back, but I landed face-down in a heap. The snow with all its apparent fluffiness did nothing to cushion my fall. The impact rattled my bones and lights danced across my vision, swirling in loopy rings.
All I needed was another concussion.
Strong hands grabbed me by the collar and belt. My stomach lurched as I was torn from the relative comfort of the ground and flipped onto my back like a flapjack. Minx pounced on top of me and pinned my arms to my sides with her powerful thighs. Normally, I approved of such positions, but she wasn’t Pink Panther and this wasn’t foreplay. I feared she would crunch me like a walnut in a nutcracker. I gasped for precious air.
To any observer it would appear as if I were unprepared for this fight. That observer would have been correct. I’d seen her running down the sidewalk and duck into this alley. She was up to something and I’d interrupted her. Evidence suggested it was something she didn’t want the cops to know about. While my intent was to have a friendly chat with her, she’d decided to take our exchange in a different direction.
Minx had a reputation in underworld circles as an effective messenger. Our not-so-cozy encounter fell within the realm of her typical delivery method. While I didn’t feel like she took sadistic glee in her work, I thought she took pride in a job well done. I, on the other hand, found the work environment hostile, and already I was drawing up a complaint to her HR department.
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