Dean Koontz

Can you judge a book by its cover?

You can’t judge a book by its cover, or is it you can judge a book by its cover? I know, I know, it’s the latter unless you are a Bo Diddley fan. But I digress. I will admit, I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to browsing for a new book. I won’t even pick up a book that isn’t appealing to me. We have become such visual creatures and with such short attention spans, the cover of a book is more important now than ever, possibly. Don’t you hate those damn qualifiers? Stephen King would have already stopped reading this post I am sure.

Anyhoo, one of the things I have learned in my short Indie author career is the importance of the cover and title. Early on I was asked by someone I trust, and with knowledge in the publishing industry, that my first two novels had horrid titles that told the reader nothing. After clearing the lump in the back of my throat, I listened and then went to my loyal readers. All of them said they loved the titles and the covers. So I, of course, left them alone. Three years later now with anemic sales and the books buried in Indie Author anonymity, I have decided to rethink my stubborn strategy. I learned it is easy for someone who has read a novel and enjoyed it, to understand the title and cover. But to try to get someone to pick it off the shelf, or click on the image online is a different story. I may have been better off with the novel cover I originally created, see image included in this post, than the one I professionally paid for. Since I can’t go back in time, I am off to Kickstarter to launch a campaign for new editions. Let’s hope the new titles and covers give a good representation of what the novels are about. Cheers.

 

Who do you write, or read, for?

I can’t remember how many times over the last couple of years I have heard, and read, that you should write for yourself. If you like what you are reading, others will like it as well. This is certainly the direction I took with the Outlaw River Wilde series, and my newest novel, due out late May, early June, Hidden Beneath the Pines. I remember reading Moby Dick as a teen and being surprised and totally enthralled with Melville’s short chapters. I could pick the book up and read for five minutes, or an hour, and always find a good place to stop. At the end of a chapter that is. I can’t stand getting so tired, I can’t read anymore, and have to stop before coming to the end of a chapter.

So in my writing, I write short chapters. I try to move the story along at a good pace so no one will ever read just one at a time, but if they choose to they can. How about cliffhangers? I love them, so yet again this is my style. I always love being left wanting more. At the end of chapters, and the end of novels. Don’t you hate the feeling of a good novel or story coming to an end? The anticipation at the end of the Hunger Game novels for me was exciting. I couldn’t wait to continue with the next book.

I have received harsh criticism, from a few, for The Outlaw River Wilde series, book I, because of the ending. I loved it when I was writing it because, as a reader again; I want more and to continue. My hope was that since people knew going in the book was part, one of a duology and that chances are the first book is going to end with unanswered questions.

Oh well, you can’t please everyone all the time. I still enjoy reading all three books, so I must be doing something right. Cheers.