Cover Story

Watch Me Die_5 One of the great things about the ebook format is that it allows you to quickly change your product to adapt to the  marketplace. I learned this lesson when I changed the covers and titles of my .357 VIGILANTE series (to THE JURY SERIES) …and sales immediately and dramatically increased as a result.

That made a big impression on me.

I have since experimented with changing the covers, and in some cases the titles, of some of my other work. Almost always, I have seen a marked improvement in sales. In fact, I recently changed the cover of the JURY SERIES again and sales of that book have more than doubled.

So I now I'm hoping to perform that same magic on THE MAN WITH THE IRON ON BADGE, perhaps most my widely acclaimed novel when it was released in hardcover a few years ago…and yet one of my weakest performing ebook titles today. I have tried changing the cover multiple times…and while that has always helped, the uptick hasn't been much. 

I think the problem is the title. It's awkward, dated, and dull.

So I have decided to take a more radical step…this time I am changing the title and the cover.

It's now WATCH ME DIE.

It's a much more active title and the cover, by Jeroen Ten Berge,  is far more vivid and compelling than any of the others. The image is taken from a key scene in the book.

I predict that sales will go way up…what do you think? Here's the evolution of the covers…

The McFarland &  Company cover for the original, hardcover edition:

The First Kindle Edition, made by yours truly:

The Second Kindle Edition, designed by Carl Graves:

And, once again, the new cover by Jeroen Ten Berge:

Watch Me Die_5



15 thoughts on “Cover Story”

  1. I have to say, though, that I MUCH prefer the “second Kindle edition” of this book. Its graphic presentation is bolder and less typical of what’s seen in the genre. And the original title doesn’t bother me at all.

  2. Lee, love the name change and the fourth cover… I’m sure it will work gangbusters for you… ain’t the Kindle world whacky and wild? Have started participating in it and am happy with the results… thanks again for everything… Brendan

  3. New cover and title is great – but I also think the Second Kindle Edition title and cover were great (and that’s the first book of yours I purchased). The title and cover were intriguing enough to make me download a sample and that made me buy the book. I found the previous title one of the more memorable ones, although I don’t like the covers before the Second Kindle cover.

  4. I’m masking some of these same decisions getting my backlist ready as e-books for launch next month, some with new titles, all with new covers . . . good luck with this, You’re an inspiration as always…

  5. The new cover is quite striking. But I thought your first Kindle cover was actually pretty good. I don’t like the second Kindle cover at all–not into spattered blood–and would have passed it without blinking.
    You don’t mention how you handled the title change. Do you depend on a “previously published as” on the product page, or on the title page? I’m sure you don’t want to annoy readers of the old title who think they’re getting a new book.

  6. I mention in prominently in the product description on Amazon, B&N, etc. and on the copyright page of the book.
    I have yet to have a single complaint on JURY SERIES or DEAD SPACE, my previously retitled works.

  7. Can’t wait to hear how this change will effect sales. I love that we get to share information as we never could before. When our books were in print, we didn’t have access to real time sales figures. To me, that’s one of the exciting things about ebooks.

  8. Television geek that I am, the second cover for Kindle always made me think of “Blood On The Badge,” the name of the book written by the Harris character on Barney Miller.

  9. the new cover is extremely compelling! at the same time, just wanted to say that i got a thrill reading your story (in addition to the monk books) when my husband bought version 1, the original hardcover! keep us posted on sales!

  10. Julie,
    So far, sales have shot up…but it could be more from the publicity than from the cover at this point. I’ll have to wait and see how it goes over the coming month or two before I declare success.


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