Do first impressions matter? You bet they do. I was recently reminded of this when a restaurant chain redesigned their logo.
Since our son could speak, he's been drawn to IHOP's logo. As a little boy riding along in the backseat of the car, his sweet face would fall in a frown, and he'd point to the IHOP sign and say, "Awwww. IHOP is sad."
As a collector of logos (see my post here), the boy knows most of them, as well as their sayings or jingles, by heart. For years, he's talked about how unhappy IHOP looks.
Until a couple of weeks ago when we discovered that IHOP had redesigned their logo.
In the words of our son, "IHOP is happy!" Even our daughter said, "I'm glad IHOP is smiling!" And you know what? I have to admit the restaurant as a whole looks a lot more welcoming now. In this case, changing IHOP's logo was a brilliant marketing decision.
IHOP's logo change, and my kids' immediate reactions to it, was a reminder of just how important first impressions are.
Being an author and publishing independently involves a whole lot more than just putting words to paper. I knew this before I published my first book, Calming the Storm. But until I jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, I had no idea what that really meant.
I had no plan in place and quickly discovered there was a lot more to marketing a book than simply publishing it and watching the copies fly off the shelves, so to speak. In order to have my books read, readers actually had to find them first.
It all starts with the cover. Those first impressions are crucial and can make the difference between whether a potential reader chooses your book or not. You can have a great cover, but if it doesn't tell the reader what kind of book it is, your story won't always fall into the right hands.
In my case, Calming the Storm went through three covers before I felt like I had the right packaging for my story. I shot the images for the first cover and put it together myself. Even now, three and a half years later, I love how it turned out. But the storm and sunflowers gave the impression of a devotional rather than a romance novel.
After that, I worked with friend and fellow author, Victorine E. Lieske. She runs Blue Valley Author Services and designs a lot of amazing covers. Since then, we've changed the cover twice, and it's this last design I feel perfectly conveys the story to potential readers.
Now, when readers see Calming the Storm, I feel like they'll get the right first impression.
Publishing independently, just like anything else, is a learning process. If it's something you're considering, talk to others who have been in the business for a while. Learn from their mistakes. Most of all, don't be afraid to take that step and put yourself out there. What you write matters!
If you're an author - whether published independently or traditionally - is there one thing you've learned along the way that you wish you knew before? I'd love for you to comment and share your wisdom!
I want to give a big shout out to Lia London and all of the amazing authors at Clean Indie Reads. I found this group when I was first considering publishing independently. I've met a number of author friends, and I continue to learn from the talented individuals there.